Quickly, off the top of your head, do you know the value of everything in your home? Probably not, right? Think about all of the old items that you have sitting around in storage. For all you know, these could have jumped up in value over the recent years. Or maybe you could have just forgotten about it as it laid buried under your off-season holiday decorations.

Or, consider this. In the event of a fire or other disaster, would you be able to remember all your possessions? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return, and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance. 

If you’re just setting up a household, starting a home inventory is relatively simple. If you’ve been living in the same house for many years, however, the task of creating a list can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating a home inventory is incredibly beneficial for organization and homeowners insurance purposes, and we’re here to help you through that process.

How to Begin

Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s the best ways to kick things off:

  • Pick an easy spot to start. Don’t think you need to tackle the whole house. A contained area, like a small appliance cabinet or closet, is a great place to start.
  • List recent purchases. Get into the inventory habit and then go back tackle your older possessions.
  • Include basic information. Describe each item you record (where you bought it, the make and model, what you paid and any other detail that might help).
  • Count clothing by general category. How many jeans? Shirts? This is especially important for valuable articles..
  • Record serial numbers. These are usually found on the back or bottom of major appliances and electronic equipment.
  • Check coverage on big ticket items. Jewelry, art and collectibles may have increased in value and need special coverage separate from your standard homeowners insurance policy.
  • Remember off-site items. Belongings kept in a self-storage facility are also covered.
  • Keep proof of value. Sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals are all great ways to establish a paper trail.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed. Once you’ve started inventory, keep going even if you can’t get it all done immediately. Having  an incomplete inventory is better than nothing.

Tracking Tips

Create a photo record of your belongings. Capture important individual items AND entire rooms, closets or drawers. Label your photos with any information that might be important to replacing and/or getting reimbursed for the item. Some smartphones and digital cameras offer the ability to put in the description of the item when saving the photo.

Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents as thoroughly as possible and the purchasing dates (or at least the year). There are even many mobile app options to utilize to create and store a room-by-room record of your belongings.

Safe Storage

Your home inventory is only useful if it’s accurate and easily accessible, to provide information to your insurance company in case of fire, theft or other destructive disaster. Regardless of the medium you’ve used to create your list, keep it backed up and in a safe place.

Make at least one backup copy of your inventory document and store it separately. Make digital backup copies of your paper list by taking pictures of it on your smartphone. Back up digital files by keeping a copy on an external drive or online storage account. If you use an app make sure the information is backed up by the app developer and that you know how to access the information easily.

About Thayer Innes and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agencies

At Thayer-Innes Insurance Agency and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agency, we strive to provide comprehensive insurance solutions to support Ann Arbor homeowners. Our homeowners’ policies can be tailored to meet your specific risk exposures and provides much more coverage than a traditional policy, giving you the peace of mind you deserve. For more information about our products, contact us today at (855) 395-6316.