Could you recall every valuable item you have in your home if I blindfolded you right now? Think about every drawer, every closet, the garage, etc. Most of us could not, which is why a complete home inventory is so important. Having an inventory of your personal property is essential for both you and your insurance company if your home is damaged or destroyed.
Documenting every valuable item is a daunting task, but it will bring you so much peace of mind. The claims process during an unexpected home loss will be faster and easier. It will help with estate planning purposes. It can also help you keep track of valuables if you move or store things outside of your home.
Follow these simple steps to put together a home inventory yourself:
1. Use a camera or your phone to take pictures.
2. Photograph one room at a time. Take multiple shots from different angles, documenting the contents and how they are set up. Four to six images per room should be enough.
3. Photograph any high-value items, collectibles, or extremely unique pieces individually. Remember to look in drawers, closets, attics, or basements for valuables – and don’t forget handbags.
4. Consider these tips when taking pictures of special items:
• Artwork: Take pictures of the artwork from multiple angles to avoid potential glare from head-on shots. Record the artist’s signature, medium, title, date and edition number if applicable.
• Jewelry: Take close-ups of jewelry in good, natural light using a macro lens.
• Silver and China: Document one full place setting and capture the marking or hallmark, if possible.
• Valuable Rugs: Take pictures of the front and back of the rug to verify how it is made.
• Electronics and Appliances: Take pictures of the pieces as well as their serial or model numbers.
5. Organize your list.
• Group together less valuable items into one entry; such as decorative items, sporting goods, kitchen goods, etc.
• For individual items, list quantity, maker, artist and value, if known. Include the image ID associated with that item.
• Reference any invoices or receipts you have kept, to document detailed information such as purchase price or value.
• If you don’t have time to create a spreadsheet or would like the capability to attach invoices, etc. to your inventory, try using an inventory app or home management software, such as HomeZada.
6. Keep your inventory in a safe place. Store your home inventory in more than one location outside your home, such as an electronic back-up, office, or with a family member.