How to Take Your Home Inventory
In the event of a disaster or other unforeseen event, having an up-to-date inventory of the contents of your apartment is key to making an insurance claim. It is this inventory which will help establish the replacement value of your possessions. Your renter’s insurance policy may require a listing and valuation, as well, when you sign up. The list should also bring some peace of mind as a record of your most valuable things.
What do you need to list?
How do you get a handle on a big inventory list? One approach is to start with large items and move progressively smaller. You might also compile your list room by room.
List items that fall in these categories:
- Electronics, like TVs, computers, laptops and tablet devices
- Furniture, including beds and light fixtures that you brought into the apartment
- Kitchen and other household appliances, including personal items like electric razors
- Clothing, shoes and linens, especially those of particular value, like furs
- Books and media, like CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Betamax tapes (snuck that one in to see if you were paying attention!)
- Valuables, like jewelry, art work, antiques, or collections
- Musical instruments
- Sporting equipment
- Decorative items, including rugs
Be aware of the requirements of your renters insurance policy, and follow these guidelines carefully. Depending on your insurance coverage agreement, you may need to record certain proofs of purchase or ownership, for instance. Be sure to list the serial numbers of any electronic equipment, like a flat-screen television or laptop computer. Dated receipts are also valuable corroboration that you purchased a particular item. You might also list brand names and amounts paid for more expensive items, though you likely would only be offered current market replacement value in the event of a claim.
If you wonder whether to include a particular item on your list, ask yourself whether you would like to reclaim the value on the item, should the occasion arise. If that makes sense, then include the item on your insurance inventory.
How will you take your inventory?
Pen and paper (copied and saved in more than one place!) will work, but you may find online options easier to use and keep up with. Take a look at tools on websites like these:
- Digital Locker by Allstate
- HomeIndex by State Farm
- Know Your Stuff Home Inventory by the Insurance Information Institute
You might also want to make a video record or take pictures of each room in your apartment. Keep in mind that you still need a listed inventory, even if you document your apartment’s contents visually; the video is additional evidence.
Where should you keep your inventory?
It's a good idea to keep a copy of your home insurance inventory in a safe place (or two) outside your apartment. A safety deposit box is a great spot that's also secure. You want your list to be available when you need it — and you will likely need it at an unexpected moment.
When should you take an inventory?
There’s no time like the present! And remember to update your list as you accumulate new stuff — and get rid of things, too.
Photo credits: Shutterstock / benicce, Oleksiy Mark, Petinov Sergey Mihilovich, 101imges, Photosani, elen_studio, ndphoto