Creating A Home Inventory

Sep 16, 2011

By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee

A home inventory is an excellent way to expedite the claims process after an insured theft, damage or loss. This inventory can take several forms, but usually itís a list of the insurable items in your home, along with information about each itemís value. If you do experience a property loss, your inventory will assist in the settlement of a covered loss or claim. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

Choose A Method

There are several ways to create an effective home inventory.

Perhaps the easiest do-it-yourself solution is to make a video walk-through or take a series of photographs of your home.

This visual record can stand alone as your inventory, but for added security combine the photos with another inventory method. For example, you could fill out a home inventory checklist. Appropriate versions are available online or through your insurer.

There are several digital methods as well. To customize your information, create a home inventory spreadsheet on your home computer. For greater efficiency but a bit less flexibility, purchase a home inventory software program or sign up for an online inventory program. Look for programs that walk you through the inventory process, including attaching digital photos.

The most convenient method - but also the most expensive - is to hire a home inventory company. If you choose this option, be sure to check the credentials of candidate companies carefully.

What Items Should You Include?

Your home inventory should support the claims process for events ranging from the total loss of your home by fire, or other named perils, to the burglary of a few specific items. Generally, this means the more items you inventory, the better.

A good way to ensure proper coverage is to move from room to room, recording items as you go. Pay special attention to the most valuable items, such as antiques, jewelry, and electronic equipment. Also, donít forget to include items in your basement, attic, garage and any detached structures, such as tool sheds.

You can use this free home inventory checklist to get started.

If you have any questions about which possessions are covered by your policy, contact your insurance agent.

Record Information

To establish the ownership and value of your property, your home inventory should include as much of the following information as possible:

  • What: Identify the insurable items in your house, either by room or by type. Provide a brief description of each item, including brand name, model name, and serial number. Establish ownership by attaching receipts and/or photos whenever possible. Update your inventory regularly to add or remove items.
  • When: Record the purchase or acquisition date for each item. Attach receipts, when possible.
  • How much: Attach receipts, credit card statements, or other documents of transaction. For appraisals on items such as antiques, art, jewelry and collectibles, be sure to include the name and address of the appraiser.

Make Backup Copies

Donít let your home inventory become part of a property loss. Whichever method you choose, be sure to keep a copy in a bank safe deposit box or other secure location away from your home.

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Tags damage, home, inventory, loss, theft

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