Home Insurance

Home inventory tip: What was in that closet?

Educator completing a home inventory

If you needed to file a claim on your home because of a fire, tornado or some other disaster, would you be able to list all of the missing or destroyed items? Try this exercise: Pick just one of the rooms in your home; then, make a list of everything in it. Now, go into that room and see what’s actually in it. Did you forget any items? What about that silver platter in the back of the hutch in desperate need of polishing?

  • Start small – Don’t try to inventory your entire home all at once. Break the work up into smaller projects, tackling one room at a time. Don’t forget to open closets, drawers and cabinets.
  • Take pictures – Create a photo inventory. Capture entire rooms as well as important individual items. Be sure to label your photos with what's pictured and, for larger items, include the make, model and serial number. Include any additional information that would help you replace or get reimbursed for the item. And, if you know what you paid for the item, include that as well. Use your smartphone or digital camera – some allow you to add a description when you save the photo.
  • Record it – Walk through your home and record a video of its contents while you describe the items.
  • Consider an app – Apps like Sortly, Nest Egg and Magic Home Inventory can help you create a room-by-room inventory.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed – Keep chipping away if you can’t get it all done immediately. An incomplete list is better than no list.
  • Stay up to date – Keep your inventory going. Make it a habit to add new items to as you purchase them, and hang on to receipts for big-ticket items.
  • Keep backup files – Store a copy of your paper inventory files in a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend, and back up your digital files.

Once you have your inventory complete, share it with your insurance agent to make sure your belongings are properly covered.