Home Insurance and Your Home Inventory

Creating a home contents inventory and keeping it updated is an essential task that every homeowner should complete at least in some form. You do not have to be a professional movie producer to videotape your possessions or take sharp photographs. All you need to have is a small amount of equipment and patience. The result will be documentation that can smooth the way to recovery whenever a claim is made against home insurance for losses due to natural disasters, theft or other damage to the home contents.

What Equipment is Necessary?

  1. Use a form that you can obtain from your insurance agent or online to list household contents.
  2. Use a video camera, digital or standard camera to visually record everything. A copy stand or tripod can be very helpful for getting a good close-up photo.
  3. You will need a safe place to store your documentation away from the home. A bank safe deposit box or online digital storage facility are excellent choices.

What Items Should Be Documented and How?

  1. Keep a record of all items you may want replaced or repaired. Include everything — from rugs to ceiling fixtures, personal items, electronics, appliances and furniture. Go through every room, including the attic, basement, garage and outbuildings, to make your list. Include small items like toys, wall hangings, contents of drawers, plants, games, sports equipment, ornamental lawn items, tools, outdoor furniture and any item that has value and would cost you to replace.
  2. Keep a written record of item price, when it was purchased, serial numbers, brand names, sizes and estimated replacement costs. Include any receipts or appraisals.

A home inventory should be updated regularly and as new items are acquired. It can be used for speeding up claim recovery when needed and to decide how much insurance should be purchased.