How to Prepare a Home Inventory

How to prepare a home inventoryUnfortunately, many folks do not have a written, photographic, or video home inventory. Others may have a home inventory but have not kept their inventory current. In order to know how much homeowners insurance coverage you need to purchase, it’s necessary to know what you have, where it’s located, and how it is valued. This project is significantly easier to complete if you are just starting out, as opposed to living in the same location for many years and constantly acquiring new possessions.

A home inventory is important because it ensures you have the written description and video or photographic documentation of your valuables and their locations within your home. In the unfortunate event of a fire, flood, or other natural disaster, your up-to-date home inventory will speed up the claims process and prove invaluable in ensuring you are properly compensated for the full value of your losses. In the event of a burglary, break-in, or other household crime resulting in theft, loss, or damage, your home inventory will represent one more tool for law enforcement to use to help find and retrieve your lost valuables.

What may seem like one large and intimidating project is actually a few small and easily accomplished tasks. Use the following five tips to help you create your home inventory:

1. Big Ticket Items: Identify the most valuable and irreplaceable items in your home; jewelry, electronics, firearms, artwork, antiques and other collectibles should all be on this list. Jewelry, artwork, and other irreplaceable items need to be professionally appraised. Start a folder and for each item. The folder should contain a detailed written description, a clear and dated photograph, appraisals, and original purchase receipts.

2. Personal Property: To ensure comprehensiveness, create a written and photographic inventory of each room in your home, including the contents of drawers, closets, and other storage areas. Your significant but less valuable possessions such as jackets and clothing, kitchenware and china, sporting goods, small electronics, and seasonal items should be cataloged in this step.

3. Video Walkthrough: Easily completed and vitally important, a video walkthrough of your home is priceless evidence and an essential part of every home inventory. Using the best quality digital video recorder you have access to, create a self-narrated video walkthrough of your home and concisely identify each of your valuables, stating their approximate value, date of purchase, and location in your home.

4. Schedule Yearly Updates: Coordinating a yearly home inventory update with another activity such as spring cleaning is a great way to remember to accomplish this important job. Of course, every time you make any significant purchase or acquisition, it is necessary to add the complete details of the new property to your home inventory.

5. Storing Your Home Inventory: Ensuring your completed home inventory is stored properly is crucial. Redundancy is the key here, as it’s best to have both a hard copy and a digital copy of the completed project. Storing the hard copy of your completed inventory at home in a safe or fire-proof cabinet is a good idea, but keeping a digital record of your descriptions, pictures, and videos as well is ideal.

To help you simplify this task, the Insurance Information Institute offers digital storage software and a mobile app. Both Flickr and YouTube represent other convenient options for storing digital photographs and videos, especially since their services include advanced privacy settings. Written descriptions should be stored on flash drives, in the cloud, or by using other online data-storage services such as Mozy or Carbonite.

To help recover as quickly as possible from life’s unfortunate events, it is best to be prepared in advance, armed with the knowledge of the steps you need to take. After a fire, flood, or other disaster, fast action plays a crucial role in a rapid recovery. Having a completed and up-to-date home inventory will provide you with the tools you need to speed up the claims process, allowing you to get back on track as soon as possible.

At Knapton, Reade & Woods, our job as independent insurance agents is to ensure that you remain protected from all of the risks you face. While it’s important to create a home inventory, it’s also crucial to ensure that you have an adequate amount of homeowners insurance coverage to protect all of the valuables your inventory contains. To get a free home insurance quote or to review your existing coverage, please call us today at 603-464-3422 or click here to submit our online quote form. For additional insurance resources and valuable safety tips, please read our blog, or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.