If your house was somehow destroyed tomorrow by a hurricane, a fire, or something similar, would you be able to remember all of the possessions you lost in your home? Don’t worry, most people wouldn’t. That’s where having an inventory of your assets comes into play.
Inventories are beneficial in case of an emergency if you need to account for all of your personal items, and can also affect your insurance rates. An independent insurance agent can help you pull together a proper inventory, but first let's learn how this simple list can have a big impact on you.
What Is a Home Inventory?
A home inventory is when you write down and organize all of your possessions that can be found in your home.
We know, it sounds daunting, so why on earth would you do this? In the event of a fire or disaster, having an updated inventory has three important benefits:
What Should Be Included in a Home Inventory?
It’s best to leave no stone (or possession) unturned when making a home inventory. Try to include as much information as possible, and follow the tips in the following list when building your inventory.
- Receipts, especially from any home renovations
- Item descriptions
- Serial numbers for electronics
- Dates of purchase
- Information broken down by room
- Information broken down by type of item, such as clothing, heirlooms, electronics, jewelry
- Value (if you don’t know the value of an item, consider getting it appraised)
- Include all appliances
- Check the attic
- Don’t forget the garage
- Include items in storage
- Add up the total cost of items
- Keep items somewhere safe
- Update your inventory yearly or after significant purchases
How Does an Inventory List Affect My Home Insurance Rate?
Your home insurance rate is based on two things: the value of your home and the things inside it, and the risk your home faces of being destroyed. There are several ways that an inventory list could affect your home insurance during your time as a homeowner.
- Receiving the proper amount of coverage: The more assets you have, the more insurance coverage you need. Luxury items like antiques, fine art, and jewelry can be covered in your home insurance.
- Smoother process during claim time: Should you have to file a claim, having a list of your possessions will make the process move much faster than if you need to sit down and remember all the items you own. After all, you will be asked to write down all of your belongings that were damaged and their value.
- Potentially get more money in a payout: Having a record of the value of your items will get you a higher payout than guessing the value.
How Do I Make a Home Inventory List?
Believe it or not, there is a method to the madness of creating a home inventory list. Of course, you could simply walk around your house with a notepad and jot down your possessions, but there are a few ways to make this process easier.
Use an app: Nowadays there are apps for everything, including creating a home inventory. There are a variety of options at different cost points that you can use. Here are just a few.
- Sortly: This app makes it easier to organize all aspects of your life. You can access it on your desktop, laptop, or cell phone, and a variety of organizational options allow you to organize your possessions any way you can think of. They offer a free trial, but you’ll eventually need to pay a monthly fee.
- BluePlum Home Inventory: This app is built specifically for creating home inventory lists. You can organize your items by collections, rooms, or locations, and even assign tags to your items. You can also add photos, videos, or receipts to your listings. This app will run you around $30
- NestEgg: This app allows you to take photos and scan barcodes in order to keep track of all of the items in your home. You can file your items for insurance purposes, and NestEgg will even do an online price check of your items for you. This app will only cost you $3.99, but is only available on mobile.
- MyStuff: This is a personal asset management program that allows you to keep track of everything from your wardrobe to your food items. Categorize your items and receive a notice when your warranty is about to expire. MyStuff is free to use with in-app purchases available.
Use photo and videos: Take photos and videos of your possessions. If you use videos, narrate details such as when you purchased them and how much they cost. If you just take photos, make sure to jot down this information.
Create a spreadsheet: If your mind works in spreadsheets, head to Google Sheets and create a list. We recommend breaking it up by room.
Paper and pen: While it’s not the ideal way, you can simply jot down your possessions using paper and pen. However, it’s recommended that you update your inventory once a year, so this route could get tedious for updating.
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Why Do I Need a Home Inventory?
It’s hard enough to find time to relax for 30 minutes a day, so why is it so important to take a few hours to create a home inventory list? The main reason is that it can affect your insurance rates in two ways:
- Making sure you have enough coverage
- Determining what type of home insurance you need
If your home is filled with a lot of luxury items or expensive jewelry, and was recently renovated, your insurance rates will be higher than a home with less expensive items. Not everything on your list can be covered through insurance, but you might be surprised at what is and what isn’t.
Ultimately, if you do lose all of your possessions, a good home inventory list can ensure that you get paid the true value of the items you owned. The inventory list is the only proof of what you had and what you paid.
Comparing Home Insurance Quotes with an Independent Insurance Agent
An independent insurance agent will review your needs and help you find the best home insurance coverage for your property. They'll also compare policies and quotes from multiple insurance companies to make sure you have the proper protection to keep you and your possessions safe. Find an independent insurance agent in your community here.