UPDATED: APRIL 19, 2023 | 3 MIN READ
No one ever considers the importance of a home inventory until they need one. Cataloging all your possessions probably sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry.
After all, it can be a time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming process if you have no organization in your home. But there are many reasons why it’s important to inventory your personal belongings.
What is a home insurance inventory?
A home inventory is a list of all your personal possessions and what you estimate the financial value. It might sound like a lot, but a home inventory is typically simple. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
You can start it in a notebook and keep your receipts in a folder—that way, you know the exact financial value of each item. However, if you don’t have receipts, you can write the item’s approximate value in a column beside it.
If you are a technology person, you can use a digital camera or your smartphone to record your items. Or, you can create a home inventory spreadsheet to keep track of the items you own.
Reasons to keep home inventory
Use it to track home maintenance
A great reason to keep a home inventory is to keep track of the things in your home that might require preventative maintenance. These things are mostly appliances throughout your home that might need repairs.
By keeping a list of them, you will know when they were purchased and what can be done to keep them working well.
Give it to your insurance company
One of the best reasons to keep a home inventory is for insurance claims. You never know when you might have to make a claim, and if there is an inventory already in place, it will make the process easier.
An insurance claim can happen for many reasons, such as a natural disaster, home robbery, flood, or fire. The burden falls on you to provide documentation of your belongings to be reimbursed for the value of the items, less your home insurance deductible.
While there may be a difference in the actual cash value and replacement value, having a home inventory already in place helps your home insurance company process your claim faster.
Providing proof that you own specific items is simple if you have a home inventory in place. Large items, such as a refrigerator or TV, are easy to remember, but it’s harder to remember smaller personal items.
Think about that DVD collection or the 20 pairs of shoes you own. It might seem like small stuff initially, but the value can add up after a while. If it’s not reported properly, you might not be reimbursed.
Declutter your house while creating your home inventory
While you are making an inventory of your home, it might be a good idea to do some spring cleaning. You can declutter and create a list of your belongings in a few simple steps:
- Work through your home room by room, separating items into piles of items you want to keep, sell, donate, or trash.
- Write down the items you’re keeping and the approximate item value. Alternatively, create a spreadsheet to track your belongings and their worth.
- Put away every item you’ve recorded.
- Decide how to get rid of the remaining items. You might have a yard sale, post items for sale online, donate to local thrift shops, or haul unwanted items to the dump.
Use it to make moving easier
Having a home inventory can come in handy the next time that you have to move. The list you made for your home can also be used as a moving list.
Also, it can help you estimate whether your next move will be big or small. For example, you can use your inventory list to determine how big of a truck you will have to rent and how many boxes you need.
Is a home inventory necessary?
If your home is destroyed in a flood or fire, having a list of your possessions makes filing a claim easier. You can get your life back together quickly without the added stress. So while it’s not something everyone does, it sometimes makes life easier.
How do you inventory a home?
Create a home inventory by listing each item you own in a notebook or spreadsheet. You should also include the item’s approximate value and any other important information, such as appraisal information and serial numbers.
How detailed should a home inventory be?
A home inventory should include the item description with serial number, make and model, purchase date, and value. The list doesn’t have to go into great detail. You can use a simple spreadsheet or fill out an inventory checklist.
The Bottom Line On Home Insurance Inventory
Creating a home inventory is a great way to track all your belongings and have the information you need at hand if you need to file a home insurance claim. When creating your home inventory, don’t forget to update your home insurance policy.