Home Inventory 101

December 1, 2010

We live in a technological age, which means we all have more gadgets and gizmos than we really need, but what happens when something gets stolen, or a disaster occurs and your house is partially demolished? Without a home inventory, you’re not going to get reimbursed for everything that is missing or damaged. But how do you create a home inventory? Here are some tips:

  1. Begin by going through your home room by room. Start at the top of the house and work down, or start at the front and work to the back, and don’t forget the attic, barn, cellar, closets, garage, shed and any crawl-spaces where you store seasonal items.
  2. Make a list of each item, opening drawers, cabinets, and boxes. Include on your liist antiques, appliances, art, cameras (digital, SLR, and video), carpets, computers (desktops and laptops), clocks, clothing, drapes, DVD players, furniture, jewelry, kitchen contents, lawn equipment, linens, mioorrors, musical instruments, sports equipment, tools, and any other property.
    instruments, mirrors,, tools, sports equipment and any other property.
  3. Be as descriptive as possible. Include colors, patterns, sizes, condition, etc.
  4. For each item, record the following information:
    • Quantity and description.
    • Brand or manufacturer
    • Serial or model number (or both)
    • Date of purchase or age of item
    • Receipt, or other proof of value
    • Source – where and how did you get it?
    • Current value
    • Replacement cost
    • Appraisal cost
  5. Take pictures: Especially if the items are unique or difficult to describe, take pictures, and tag each picture with the information about the item that you recorded above. If you shoot video instead of still photos, include a verbal commentary. Time- and date-stamp your photos or video.
  6. Make copies: Copies of the photos, information, list, and supporting documentation should be kept in your house, at a secure off-site location, and, if you choose, filed with your homeowners insurance company for safekeeping.

And what do you DO with this inventory once you’ve created it? Update it regularly. And hope you’ll never actually need it.