How to inventory your property

General, Home Insurance Basics, Insurance Advice

We need to protect our home and all of our belongings inside of it.

On a daily basis we experience the threats of burglary, fire, and weather related disasters. It is important to have our property fully inventoried before faced with any such disaster.  A property inventory needs to be done on a home, rental property, dorm, storage unit, and vacation home.

The home inventory process may seem like a daunting, difficult, and overwhelming task. However with these tips, you will be on your way to completing the task simply and easily.

Can you name all the items in your living room?

The only way to receive value reimbursement for your items is to have them recorded and documented.  For example, a burglar does a clean sweep of your living room. Do you remember all the electronics and DVDs in your TV console stand?  Who is the artist that painted the landscape that used to hang over your couch? These details are important to get your full item value. If you forget to itemize an object on your insurance paperwork, you will not be reimbursed for it. So let’s get started!

The basics of home inventory

No fancy equipment is needed. First grab some pen, paper, and a camera to record your assets. Then label one sheet for each room of your home. Don’t forget the garage, RV, and outdoor buildings like a shed o
r pool house. For each room, take photos of the room as it stands and then take individual photos of the items in the room. Don’t forget to open your closets, drawers, and cabinets. You do not want to miss anything.  The task can be broken down into manageable pieces by completing one or two rooms thoroughly each day. Soon your home inventory will be complete. Finally make copies of your home inventory and store into safe places such as your fire protected safe, off site security box, and with your insurance agent.

What do I need to record?

The Insurance Information Institute suggests you catalog by “making a list of your possessions, describing each item, and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category (pants, coats, shoes, for example), making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliances and electronic equipment, record the serial numbers, which are usually found on the back or bottom.”

Tech savvy home inventory apps

If you are tech savvy and want an easier interface to document your assets, check out these apps.

Know Your Stuff® Home Inventory App (Free)

Encircle (Free)

Visual Inventory  (Free)

Home Contents: Free (single property and 25 items), Upgrade ($4.99 unlimited use)

Liberty Mutual Home Gallery (Free)

Allstate Digital Locker (Free)

MyStuff2: Lite (15 items), Basic ($4.99 for most features), Pro ($8.99 for all features)

Sortly: Free (200 items), Upgrade ($7.99 unlimited number of items and automatically saves to Evernote.)

Nest Egg-Inventory ($4.99)

Stuffanizer Home Inventory App ($2.99)

Still not sure if you are doing everything properly?

Contact your personal insurance agent with your questions and concerns. Your agent will be able to give you guidance on your inventory list, and help you be ready in the face of a disaster.

The above article is meant to give a general overview of insurance policies; exact coverage and terminology could vary by insurance company.  Please refer to your policy for exact coverage details and terminology.

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