Creating a Home Inventory for Insurance
Creating a home inventory for insurance is an incredibly important step to take. Even so, very few homeowners and renters have one.
You never know when you could experience a loss or need to file an insurance claim and your inventory list will help to make sure that nothing is forgotten.
Your home inventory is basically a list of all personal belongings that are in your home. These lists should include the name of the items, their value, and a short description.
Here are just a few of the many reasons why keeping a home inventory is the right step to take:
- Know what you have and value – keeping a list will make sure that you have a strong grasp of the items in your home and their value. When needing to make a claim, it could be very easy to forget all of the items that have been lost.
- Coverage limits – they help you to easily decide on the right insurance coverage that you need and whether or not you need to take out additional coverage for anything.
- Proof – they help you to prove that you actually own the items included in the claim.
- Preparation – nobody knows when something could happen. It could be theft, fire, or natural disasters but either way, this is a big step towards preparing.
When making a claim, you will be asked to give a list of all items that have been damaged, lost, or stolen. Your home inventory list will save you a lot of time and help to make sure that nothing is missed from the claim.
4 Ways to do a Home Inventory
Although you have many ways in which you can create a home inventory, there are 4 common methods but which you choose is entirely up to you. We recommend using more than one method to be more thorough.
- Hard copy – this is probably the most common option among homeowners. Creating a binder with a complete list is a simple way to get the job done.
- Digital file – creating a home inventory file using Word or Excel is another simple idea but be sure to have backups.
- Photos – having lists are good but having photos to backup your claims of owning the items is better.
- Videos – video inventories are becoming increasingly popular. You can easily record a video as you walk through the house outlining the items that you own.
If choosing the video option you need to be methodical in your approach. Go through the home, one room at a time slowly making sure to get EVERYTHING on video. Once the main room has been documented, open closets, cupboards, drawers and boxes and do the same thing. If it’s of value, get it on film.
When it comes to where you should store your list, we recommend doing so in a safe location away from the property. If a disaster such as a fire was to destroy your home, your records would be lost.
What Should be Included in a Home Inventory List?
There are six headings that need to be in your home inventory list for every item. These are:
- Name – don’t just put TV. Use the official product name
- Short description – colour, distinguishing marks, model number, dimensions
- Cost – note down the price shown on the receipt
- Serial number – most electrical items will have a label that shows the serial number
- Reciept, warranty – as proof of purchase
- Purchase date – if possible, include the date that you bought the item
You should make sure that you keep all your receipts for any large and valuable purchases, such as furniture and electrical goods. You don’t have to keep paper receipts (though it helps), you could choose to take photos of the receipts instead.
If you have valuable items that were given as gifts or an inheritance, get them appraised. Ask for the appraisal to be documented, as this can be added to your inventory.
Home Inventory List Apps
Smartphones have made many areas of our lives a lot easier and they can make creating a home inventory easy too. A good app will allow you to add photos, information about items, and sort your home inventory by room.
Here are three apps that are available on the Google Play Store (all free):
How Often Should You Update Your Home Inventory List?
You should update your home inventory list when:
- New purchases – every time you purchase anything of value it must be added to your list
- Renovations – this is often forgot about but if you make any changes to your home, it will impact your home inventory worksheet so be sure to update it
- Yearly – you should review your list each year when you renew your home insurance policy and changes should be made when needed