What is a home inventory?

A home inventory is an itemized list of all your possessions meant to help you select the right amount of personal property coverage and potentially speed up a claim on your home, renters, or condo policy. A household inventory is an excellent way to keep track of your belongings and their value, estimate what coverage and how much you may need, and can help with the process of filing a claim, if you ever need to.

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A person taking a home inventory

Why create a home inventory for insurance?

A home inventory can ensure you have enough personal property coverage, which is included in most homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policies. 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 insurance inventory checklist 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 can also make it easier to itemize your losses for income tax purposes.

What should be included in a home inventory list?

Your personal property inventory list should be as detailed as possible, accounting for virtually every item in your household. From kitchen appliances and living room furniture to bedroom linens and all of the stuff in boxes stored in the basement or attic, your list should be comprehensive and include the following details about each item:

  • Item name
  • Purchase price
  • Manufacturer
  • Make and model
  • When and where you bought the item
  • Estimated current value
  • Serial number (if you have it)

To get the estimated value of an item, you might look it up online and see what you'd have to pay to replace it. If you don't have receipts for every item or you're unsure of an item's value due to depreciation, use a depreciation calculator to better estimate its worth.

How often should you update a home inventory?

You should take some time to create a home inventory when you move, or buy a home for the first time. However, it’s a good idea to review your home inventory at least once a year and update it whenever you acquire new furniture, electronics, jewelry, or any other item that might be listed in an insurance claim.

Steps to create a home inventory checklist

Taking a household inventory may feel like an overwhelming project, but here are some steps to simplify the process:

  1. Decide on a method:

    You can handwrite your home inventory worksheet or complete it digitally on your smartphone (Android and iOS offer home inventory apps to catalog your items with a picture and description), tablet, or computer.

  2. 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 and collectibles, appliances, furniture, antiques, electronics, etc.). Beginning with your major items will ensure that you document your expensive possessions, even if you don't finish your full home inventory list.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

What are the most important items to keep on a home inventory?

The most essential items to include in a household inventory list are the high-value and essential items to your lifestyle, including:

  • High-value items: Electronics, computers, jewelry, artworks, antiques, and collectibles
  • Appliances and large furniture: Document the details of all your major appliances such as refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, etc. and the major pieces of furniture
  • Essential documents: Keep physical and digital copies of birth certificates, passports, wills, property deeds, and insurance policies at home and in a secure location
  • Tools and equipment: Itemize expensive tools such as lawnmowers, generators, carpentry or mechanical equipment, and specialized appliances
  • Clothing and personal items: If you own costly fur or leather garments, high-end designer shoes, and accessories, include these things in your inventory

Home inventory checklist tips

Keep receipts: Save email receipts or 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. Some insurers may request proof-of-purchase receipts, 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.

Our personal property calculator below can also help you determine how much personal property coverage you need on your renters or homeowners policy. This tool is best paired with a home inventory spreadsheet containing all the essential details of the inventory. Remember to print a copy of your personal property inventory list for your records.

Create your home inventory checklist with our calculator

Whether you're a homeowner, condo owner, or renter, you can create a personal property inventory list to start itemizing your belongings and calculate their total value.

Master bedroom

Bed, bed frame, mattress, linens, television, furniture, clothing, jewelry, desk, etc.

Additional bedroom(s)

Bed, bed frame, mattress, linens, television, furniture, clothing, wall shelves, etc.


Refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, stove, silverware, coffeemaker, toaster, etc.

Living/Dining room

Dining room set, couch, chairs, coffee table, rugs, television, fireplace equipment, etc.


Electrical items, linens, cabinet items, closet items, etc.

Laundry room

Washing machine, dryer, etc.

Den/Family room/Home office

Desk, chairs, furniture, lamps, bookshelves, computers, etc.

Basement/Rec room

Recliners, electronics, dehumidifier, bar, pool/ping pong table, etc.

Garage/Outdoor spaces

Tools, workbench, shed, patio/deck furniture, pool equipment, etc.


Lamps, rugs, tables, luggage, etc.

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How detailed should a home inventory be?

Your home inventory should be as detailed as possible to assist in filing a potential insurance claim. Whether you keep the inventory written on a legal pad, in a spreadsheet or in an app, keep track of every detail about the item and attach photos.

What are some commonly forgotten items on a home inventory?

  • Bicycles and other sports equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Things in storage or out of sight

Finally, ensure that you keep a backup copy of your home inventory in electronic and printed format. If you should lose access to your computer, a paper copy will be essential. You might also keep it in the same folder as your homeowners insurance documents.

Once you take a home inventory, you may want to shop property insurance next. Be sure to compare coverage amounts and limits as apples-to-apples as possible when reviewing your quote to get the best comparison.

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