Your home inventory: How to get started

Second of two parts

So you know why you need a home inventory, but where to start? There are several tools available to help you document your home inventory.

  • photographing-ring
    Photographing new purchases will help you keep your home inventory up to date.
    The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a free app called MyHOME to electronically store home inventory room by room, including photos, descriptions and purchase information. Apple® or Android® users can visit the iTunes® Store or Android® Market and search for NAIC.
  • Those without a tablet or smartphone will find a downloadable home inventory list with appliances, electronics, furniture and other items found in many homes.
  • A simple camera or video camera can be used to save images of the contents of each room.

Once you’ve decided on the tools you’ll use, start by walking room to room and making note of the items in your home:

  • For large purchases, you might include the price you paid, the date you purchased or acquired the item and appraised values, if applicable.
  • For electronics, you might also note the item’s make, model and serial number.
  • Photos and videos can be helpful, especially for jewelry, antiques or other one-of-a-kind items.
  • Gather and make photocopies of receipts or appraisals for your most valuable items.
  • Note that many insurance policies provide replacement cost coverage on your belongings without deducting for depreciation. Your agent can help you if you’re not sure.

TIP: If the task seems like too much to take on all at once, work on the list one room at a time. Alternatively, walking around your home with a camera or video camera can be a quicker way to make a record of your possessions. Having a photo inventory of your belongings can be very helpful in the event of a total loss to your home.

After completing your inventory, store it in a safe place away from your home. One idea is to give or email a backup copy to a trusted friend or family member. You can also ask if you can keep your file in your insurance agent’s office.

Just as important as keeping your home inventory safe is keeping it updated periodically. Mark your calendar to update your inventory list or photos once or twice a year, as you receive gifts or as you make significant purchases in the future.

Part one: Why you need a home inventory

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5 Responses to “Your home inventory: How to get started”

  1. Andy Dillow

    Great article. Love the new blog!

  2. Renters: Don’t learn about insurance the hard way | The Cincinnati Insurance Companies blog | JJacobs and Associates

    […] It can be overwhelming to create a list of every possession you own after a loss. Be prepared by taking inventory of your personal property and the cost of each […]


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