How to create a home inventory for insurance purposes

Imagine your house catches fire one night. Barcode Inventory System for Small Business You and your family are unharmed. But when the fire is extinguished, there is little left of the house or its contents.

Once you’ve recovered from the shock, you call your home insurance company and file a claim. The company will tell you that in order to process your claim, they need a complete list of all the lost items in your home, including the age and estimated value of each item. Can you make this list from memory Barcode Inventory System for Small Business ?

Unless you have a mind like a computer, the answer is probably no. But fortunately, you don’t have to. Instead, you can write out an inventory in advance, with all your possessions intact and right in front of you. This kind of inventory is called a home inventory, and it’s your best friend when you need to file a home insurance claim.

Why you need a home contents inventory

When you buy a home insurance policy, it lists two property insurance figures: one is the value of the home itself and the other is “personal property”. This second figure is the maximum amount you can claim to replace property destroyed in a covered disaster, such as a fire or mudslide. Some policies cover the replacement value of your belongings or the amount needed to buy new items to replace those lost. Others cover only the actual cash value, i.e. what your possessions would cost if they were sold in their current condition Barcode Inventory System for Small Business .

Whatever type of insurance you have, however, the company will not simply write you a cheque for this amount when you apply for compensation. This is because disasters do not always destroy everything in your home, and the company will not want to reimburse you for what you have left. You will therefore have to make a list of lost items, which is very difficult to do by heart Barcode Inventory System for Small Business .

This is where a household inventory comes into play. By making a list of your possessions and completing it with photographs, you can show exactly what items you owned before you made the claim and what they were worth. Keeping an up-to-date inventory of your home can make it easier to settle your claim quickly and ensure that you receive the full amount you deserve. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute recommends that you take an inventory of your home even before you sign your home insurance policy to find out how much insurance you need Barcode Inventory System for Small Business .

What to include in your home inventory

The more documentation you can provide for your home inventory, the better. iii recommends that you include the following


A detailed description. As you list each item in your inventory, include a detailed description, such as where and when you bought it and what condition it’s in. For appliances (especially large appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and dryers) and electronics, include the make, model and serial number, usually found on the back or bottom. For smaller items, such as clothes and books, you do not need to count them individually, just list the number of items in a category, such as shoes or trousers. However, if you have particularly valuable items of clothing, such as dressing gowns, list them separately.

Price information. In addition to a description of each item, include an estimate of its value. Depending on the type of insurance you have, you will need to indicate either the monetary value or the replacement value. If you have documents that show the value of the items, such as receipts, purchase contracts or appraisal reports, attach them to your home list. In general, the more you pay for an item, the more documentation you should have.

Valuable parts. If you own particularly valuable items, such as works of art and fine jewelry, create a separate section for these items in your inventory. Such expensive items often require separate insurance, so inform your insurance company about them before you have to make a claim and make sure they are covered by your insurance.

Important documents, such as financial and legal documents, should be listed, even if their monetary value is low. This will help you remember which documents you need to replace in the event of a fire or other disaster.

Some documents, such as bank details, can be backed up online or off-site. For other documents, you can make a list of how to replace them, for example, “Contact the State Department to replace a lost passport”.

Inventory methods for the house

There are many different ways to compile a home inventory – from the old-fashioned method of recording everything on paper, to sophisticated software applications that keep everything in order. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and no one method is right for everyone.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how you do your home inventory, as long as you do it. So choose the method that feels most comfortable and natural to you – that way you’re more likely to get the job done instead of putting it off.

Pen and paper

The easiest way to do this is to walk through your house with a notepad and pen and write down every item you see. Make sure you don’t miss anything by doing one room at a time and going around the room in an organised way.

For example, a bedroom page could start like this.

Top drawer of the desk drawer: underwear, 16 pairs at a replacement cost of $2 each; socks, 20 pairs at a replacement cost of $2 each; handkerchiefs, two dozen at a replacement cost of $10 each.

In the second drawer of the desk drawer: T-shirts, 20 pieces, replacement cost $8 each; polo shirts, 6 pieces, replacement cost $18 each.

The main advantage of this method is that it is easy to start immediately. The only tools you need, namely a notepad and a pen, are inexpensive and it is very likely that you already have them. They are also very portable, making it easy to move them from room to room and record what you see. If you don’t have time to do the whole house at once, you can easily record a little at a time when you have a few minutes or an hour.

While this method is easy, it’s not particularly fast. Writing everything by hand takes time, and you can only make one hard copy – if it gets lost or damaged in the process, you have to start again. If your handwriting isn’t particularly neat, the insurance company – and possibly even you – may find it difficult to read when you have to submit a claim.

Photos from

A fairly quick way to do this is to walk from room to room with a camera and take photos of the entire room or individual items. Photographs are a quick and accurate way to show the condition of items. You can also zoom in and capture important details such as the serial number of the appliance, the manufacturer of the porcelain or the signature on the artwork.

If you choose this method, walk around each room and take photos from all angles. Photograph the contents every time you open wardrobes and drawers. Also, don’t forget to record yourself with the camera – if possible, take a picture in the mirror.
Some mobile phones and digital cameras allow you to add a written description to each photo as you save it. If yours doesn’t, you can print out the photos and write important information on the back, or write a separate document explaining what’s in each photo and giving details such as brand name and price.

There are two options for storing a list of photo families. First, you can burn the photos onto a disc and store them somewhere outside your home – either in a safe deposit box or at a friend or relative’s house. The second option is to store the photos on a cloud storage account so that you can access them anywhere if you need them in the event of a claim.


An alternative to taking photos one at a time is to record on video a room-by-room walkthrough of your home. One of the advantages of this method is that you can talk along the way and explain what each item is and what it is worth. This way you don’t have to add a separate written description.

You can also use a tape recorder to record just the audio. However, if you do this, you will not visually record what happens at each object.

You can also record several items at once by opening a drawer or kitchen cupboard and briefly describing their contents. For example, you could say: “These are my everyday dishes. They are Corelle brand, and I bought them in 2010. This set has 8 servings and includes dinner plates, salad plates, bowls and cups.”


A spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel, Open Office Calc or Google Docs Spreadsheet makes it easy to organize your family’s inventory. You can list an item on each row of the spreadsheet and use column headings to display information such as value, purchase date, condition, etc.

If you’re not sure how you want to create a home Warehouse Management System for Small Business spreadsheet. You can download a free home inventory template from Vertex 42. A company specializing in spreadsheet templates. This template includes titles for each item, such as location, description, date and place of purchase. Warranty, price, condition, estimated value, model number, serial number, and additional description. It also has a separate section. Where you can add your own contact details and the contact details of your insurance company. So if you need to claim your car, you can add your own contact details .


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