Pop quiz – without looking, see how you do answering these questions:
- What are the makes and years of your major kitchen appliances?
- How many pairs of pants do you own? Jackets? Shoes? Boots?
- What year did you buy your mattress and bed frame and what brand is it?
- Name all the power tools you own. List the contents of your tool chest?
- What brand of dinnerware and flatware do you own and when did you buy it?
- List all your AV equipment, the make, the brand and the year you bought it.
- Write down everything in your living room. Include what’s in the drawers and closets.
It’s not so easy remembering that stuff, is it?
It would be even harder if you were trying to recall all your stuff right after your house was destroyed in a fire or demolished in a hurricane. That’s why it’s important to keep a home inventory. If you find yourself under the terrible stress of recovering from a disaster or even a burglary, you don’t need the added burden of trying to remember all the possessions you lost so that you can be properly reimbursed by your insurer. A good home inventory will help you document your losses and make it easier to file a claim and get it processed.
You can record your “stuff” in a notebook (old-school style), but phones and computers have really simplified the process. A simple spreadsheet will do the trick, or use your phone to take room-by-room videos and document with photos. Or download an inventory app. Just be sure that you have multiple copies, that you store your inventory in a safe and accessible place and you keep it updated. Even if you make a hand-written version, you can scan it and keep it online in cloud storage.
If you’ve never done a home inventory, it can be a daunting job, but there are tools to help. And going forward, things will be much easier if you get in the habit of taking photos of new purchases and saving receipts. Log serial numbers, when available.
Consumer Reports offers advice on How to Inventory Your Home for an Insurance Adjuster – including this short video:
Here’s more home inventory advice from people who should know: insurers.
- The Insurance Information Institute has a great guide on how to create a home inventory
- Travelers: 5 Steps to Create a Home Inventory Checklist [Video]
- Farmers: If I Love It, Should I List It? How Do I Take a Home Inventory?
- Nationwide: Creating a Home Inventory
If you are interested in an app to help you create a home inventory, here are some reviews of top picks:
- The Balance: The 7 Best Home Inventory Apps of 2019
- Benzinga: The Best Home Inventory Apps
- ZapERP: The 8 Best Home Inventory Apps Of 2019 (Android & iOS)