If your home burned down or were burglarized, would you have a record of your home’s contents? You could miss hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of belongings without a home inventory. Taking the time to create a home inventory could be the best investment you’ve ever made. Your home inventory list and photos or video should be updated every year. Choose a month and write this activity on your calendar as a reminder.
benefits of a home inventory. Here are six reasons for a home inventory:
- documenting your home assets for insurance purposes
- expediting the claims process after an insured theft, damage, or loss
- showing whether you are overinsured or underinsured
- verifying losses for income tax deductions
- supplementing legal documentation in estate planning
- assisting in the moving process
method. The first step in creating a home inventory is to decide what method to use.
- notebook of handwritten information
- simple inventory spreadsheet
- home inventory software
assemble your home inventory. Here are the simple steps for making a home inventory of your personal contents:
- Make a list of categories. Ideas: appliances, art, clothing, electronics, furnishings, garage, kitchen, sports
- Create a worksheet. Columns of information for your worksheet might include: category, description of item, purchase date, purchase price, where item was purchased, model and serial number, warranty information, receipt, photograph or video, and location of item in the home.
- Build your list. Start in the corner of one room. Write down everything on your worksheet in the room you want to capture. The intent is for you to recognize your valuables. Repeat this step until you have surveyed every room. Don’t forget the walls, floors, drawers, inside cabinets, attic, basement, garage, and shed.
- Obtain receipts. Look for receipts for any of your purchases. Once you find a receipt (a) use the original receipt, (b) scan the receipt, or (c) make a copy of the receipt. Once you have gathered all the receipts you can find, go back to the list and complete entering information in the remaining columns. Make a copy of all your receipts to put in a safe place with your finished home inventory.
- Enter your information. Take the information from your worksheet and put it into the method you chose above—notebook, spreadsheet, or inventory software. Review every line—expect mistakes—and make any corrections. Make a copy of the inventory list to put in your safe-deposit box or other off-site location along with the receipts.
- Make a video or take photographs. Take a video or picture of your home’s contents. Remember to open drawers, closets, cabinets to record all contents.
- Update the home inventory list. As you purchase new items or items are discarded update your home inventory list. Keep a copy of the receipts with your home inventory list. Every year update the list and put a copy in your safe-deposit box or other off-site location along with the receipts, video and photographs.
Get started before it’s too late!