Home Inventory Checklist

Why is it important to make a home inventory?

Creating a home inventory of valuable belongings and investments is an essential precaution every homeowner should take. The stress of a burglary, fire or other home emergency can make it difficult, if not impossible, to remember all of the items in your home that may have been stolen or damaged in the process.

The last thing you want to do is forget to claim losses that your insurance policy would have covered, especially after you have already experienced the financial hardship of a crisis at home. Not only will a complete and organized home inventory help you file your insurance claim faster, but it can also help you accurately write off losses you may have incurred when filing your federal income taxes. (Believe it or not, losses incurred through casualty, disaster or theft may be tax-deductible.)

There are many software services designed to help you create a complete home inventory for your belongings. Although it is definitely possible to create a thorough home inventory list without paying for a software service, a software program may be well worth the cost for homeowners who have many valuable items in their homes.

What should you include in your home inventory?

In order to create the most comprehensive home inventory possible, you should make sure to include the following pieces of information:

  • A list of all of your valuable items. Although you do not need to document every single item in your home, you should make sure that you document all of your valuable belongings, such as jewelry, electronics, clothing and furniture. It may be helpful to move through your home, room by room, in order to keep your list organized and avoid missing anything important.
  • Documentation of purchase prices and receipts for your most expensive purchases. Keeping track of your receipts will be especially helpful when it comes to replacing items that have been stolen or damaged.
  • Model and serial numbers for big-ticket items such as laptops and other expensive electronics.
  • Photographs and/or video footage of each valuable item. Photos and videos will help you verify ownership of the items you claim. Less expensive items may be grouped together in one photo.
  • Up-to-date appraisals. Appraisal documents will help keep track of what the replacement cost of your belongings should be.

Once your home inventory is complete, where should you store it?

Once you have finished making your home inventory, it is important to store it in a safe place and make sure that you have more than one copy. While the original copy of your home inventory may be stored on your home computer or in a locked file cabinet, you should make sure that you store at least one copy of your inventory away from home, such as in a safety deposit box or with a trusted friend or relative.

Of course, while it is essential to create a thorough home inventory in case of a home emergency, it is still preferable to avoid a home emergency in the first place. In order to better protect your home from potentially costly incidents like break-ins, fires and internal flooding, you should consider purchasing a monitored home security system.