After the holidays, many people have new gadgets, toys, electronics and other items that get added to their household. That’s what makes the beginning of the year an excellent time to update or create a home inventory. Having an up-to-date home inventory can not only make it easier to know how much your insurance policy should cover, but it can also help you file a more comprehensive claim and speed up the claims process with your insurance company.
If you don’t already have a home inventory, the task may seem gigantic at first but it’s worth the time. First, choose whether you want to keep your inventory digitally on a spreadsheet, or write it down on paper. We’ve created a downloadable home inventory in two formats – a PDF version that can be printed for use and an Excel document that can be saved to your own files.
If you choose to record your home inventory digitally, be sure to keep a copy on a thumb drive or other portable storage device inside a flood and fireproof safe or in a safe deposit box. If something happens to the copy on your computer or on your cloud-based storage, you’ll still have a backup. If you decide to write out your home inventory, you should keep a backup copy in a similar location.
Select a room in your home to begin your home inventory. For each of your possessions in the room, write as much detail as you can, including the item name, description, date of purchase, price paid and, if possible, a model or serial number. Take note of details that may help you later identify the item, such as a marking, scratch or other blemish or alteration that makes it unique. Consider taking photos of your belongings to include with your home inventory.
On your home inventory, also include details such as your name and contact information, date the document was last updated, and the name and contact information of your insurance representative. Once you’ve finished your home inventory update, it’s a good time to check in with your insurance company for an annual review. This can help you ensure that your coverage accounts for any items you’ve acquired in the last year as well as any changes that have occurred in your life.