If you haven’t made a home inventory for insurance purposes, moving could be the perfect time to take stock of your belongings. Take pictures as you pack or unpack items or make a video as soon as you’ve settled into your new home.
Why Do I Need a Home Inventory?
If you lose everything to a fire or natural disaster, you’ll want to get reimbursed for your personal belongings. If you don’t have an accurate home inventory, you may not remember some valuable items — can you really itemize Great Aunt Vi’s china from memory? You may not recall the model or the year of certain large ticket items — you don’t want to confuse your top-of-the-line fridge with one that looks similar but costs less. And, you’re almost certain to underestimate the size of your wardrobe.
An accurate home inventory will document all of the items you own. This helps you to purchase an adequate amount of insurance, and it will help you to quickly and accurately settle claims. The documentation can also be used if you need to verify losses for income tax purposes.
Make a List
According to the Insurance Information Institute, these are the important notes for your home inventory:
- Include a brief description of all items, including make and model.
- Note where you purchased the item; keep the receipt with the home inventory, if possible. Store appraisals and contracts with the home inventory, too.
- For major appliances, computers, and electronic equipment, record the serial numbers.
- For clothing, count the number of each item (slacks, blouses, coats, and shoes). Make detailed notes about valuable items.
And, Check it Twice: Pictures or Video
Use your camera or video camera to document your belongings. Take pictures of the entire room and of each item in the room. Open drawers and closets to photograph the contents.
If you make a video, record the most important items at the beginning of the video to ensure they don’t get overlooked when you make a claim. Start with a tour of the exterior of your home before moving inside and going room by room. Make sure to pan the camera slowly so an insurance representative can see everything. Narrate the video, read out model numbers — get all the information you can on the video. Include your name, address, and the date of the video.
Tools to Help You
Home inventory software is available to make it easier to take the initial inventory and manage it going forward.
- The Insurance Information Institute offers free software
- Quicken Home Inventory Manager is a Windows platform
- For Macs, try the Home Inventory program by Binary Formations
- For a low-tech option, State Farm has a 25-page pdf checklist that you can download
After you’ve completed your household inventory, check with your insurance agent to ensure you have adequate insurance protection. Specifically, ask if jewelry or artwork should be insured separately.
Store your inventory list along with receipts, photos, or video in a safe place — away from your home. Store everything in a safe deposit box or at your office. Better yet, make several copies and store in multiple locations. Or, use a service that allows you to store an electronic version online.
Remember, make sure you update the inventory list when you make significant purchases.
Allconnect can assist with your move by offering free mover quotes, an online change of address form, and help transfer your essential home services. You can also compare services available at your new address to make sure you are getting the best deal. See tips to help you during your move.