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How to Make a Home Inventory

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Insurance is one of those things you usually don’t think about until you need to use it! In the event of a natural disaster (hello, storm season!) or theft, it’s a good idea to take a home inventory to both help you determine your home insurance needs and determine the value of items lost. So what is it and how do you do it?

How to make a home inventory and why you need one.

A home inventory is basically what it sounds like, a list of items in your home that you’ve purchased and what they’re worth. Pretty much if you’ve purchased an item, it should go on the list!

For each item in your inventory you’ll want to include:
  • Item description
  • Purchase date
  • Serial number
  • Value estimate

1. Physically walk through your house to build your inventory. You can keep your inventory in a spreadsheet or in a notebook.

2. It’s easier to organize if you work room to room. (All kitchen inventory stays together, etc.)

Home inventory

3. Buying a new dishwasher? Save your receipt! Once you’ve got your inventory started it’ll be easy to simply add to it when you buy new items and you won’t have to guess so much on the value.

4. Take pictures! Snap your television from a couple of angle and even grab the serial # while you’re at it.

home inventory photos

5. Those manuals that come with fixtures and appliances? Save them, they’ve got model #s, not to mention instructions on how to troubleshoot when things aren’t working well!

home inventory manuals

6. Make sure your inventory is safe! If it’s a hard copy, keep it in a safe deposit box or home safe where it can’t be lost or damaged. If it’s a spreadsheet, make sure to back it up to a dropbox, hard drive, or even sent (and saved) as an email to yourself.

Preparing a full home inventory will not only help you determine how much insurance you need, but it can also help speed up the claims process should something happen. Having the values all written down will also help verify losses when filing taxes. So go make that home inventory (and then hope that you don’t ever need it)!

Originally published June 2, 2015

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