How do you create a home inventory?
Taking a household inventory may feel like an overwhelming project, but here are some steps to simplify the process:
- Decide on a method: You can handwrite your home inventory worksheet or complete it digitally on your smartphone (both Android and iOS offer home inventory apps to catalog your items with a picture and description).
- Start with valuables: Off the top of your head, you likely know which items are most important to you or worth the most (jewelry, art, appliances, furniture, antiques, electronics, etc.). Beginning with your major items will ensure that your expensive possessions are documented, even if you don’t finish your full home inventory list.
- Take a video: If you don’t have the time or patience to catalog all of your items, record a video of your possessions by walking through your home and zooming in on items and their serial numbers. A virtual home inventory can be helpful if you need to file a claim.
- Discuss expensive items: For certain valuables (such as jewelry, fine art, stamp collections, and firearms), talk to your insurer or insurance agent about adding an insurance rider (also known as “scheduling an item”) to ensure adequate coverage.
Home inventory tips
- Record detailed information: From recent purchases to older possessions, note the price, serial number, make and model, and when/where you bought the item, if possible.
- Keep receipts: Save email receipts or keep digital photos of paper receipts as they become difficult to read over time. Many insurance companies advise customers to have two pieces of evidence (for example, a video and a receipt) when filing a claim. At ASI, one of the insurers in Progressive’s network and part of our family of companies, proof-of-purchase receipts are requested. You may also need to provide serial numbers and/or photos.
- Be specific with expensive items: Include a description for pricey possessions—the more detail you provide, the fewer headaches you’ll encounter when filing a claim.
- Use a home inventory spreadsheet: A spreadsheet, created with Microsoft Excel or a similar program, is an easy way to list your home’s contents by serial number, date purchased, cost, etc. You can download a free home inventory template online or make your own if you aren’t using an app that includes one.
Why is a home inventory beneficial?
A home inventory can ensure that you have enough personal property coverage, which is included on any home, renters, or condo policy. For example, if the items on your home inventory list total $150,000, then you know the personal property coverage limit on your insurance policy needs to be at least that much.
A home inventory may also save time and stress when filing a claim. If your personal property is damaged or destroyed in a fire, robbery, or any other covered claim, a detailed list of what you lost will be an integral resource for you and your insurance adjuster.
If you’re eligible for a tax break following a catastrophe, a home inventory list also makes it easier to itemize your losses for income tax purposes.
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