• Taking Home Inventory

You never know when a disaster may strike—but you can be prepared with a home inventory.

This software will help you create a room-by-room inventory of your personal possessions. Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you:

  • Purchase enough insurance to replace the things you own.
  • Get your insurance claims settled faster.
  • Substantiate losses for your income tax return.

You can always simply make a list in a notebook and save receipts and photos in a file. This software, however, should make this task fun and simple. More importantly, with the click of your mouse, you can update this list as you buy or eliminate personal possessions.

GETTING STARTED

There are many ways to create a home inventory. It may seem hard at first to record information about everything you have in your house, but don't let that put you off. First, decide on a way to make an inventory that works for you. You can do it room by room, category by category (furniture, electronics, etc.), from newest items to oldest or from most expensive purchases to less expensive ones.

TAKING INVENTORY

There are different ways to making your list. You can write everything down in a notebook, for example. Or you can take pictures, writing information on the back of the photos or put information on your computer. If you have a video camera, you can walk through your house filming and describing the contents at the same time. If you have a personal computer, you can sign-up for free online software that makes creating and keeping a home inventory easy at www.KNOWYOURSTUFF.org

Keep receipts when they are available and note the cost for the item, when you bought it and other information about the make and model.

Expensive items like jewelry and art work may need to be insured separately. Ask your insurance agent whether you need a floater for your homeowners policy.

Store a copy of your inventory in a safe place outside of you home—with a friend or in a safe deposit box. (If your inventory is electronic, store it on a disk.) That way you'll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. Also, whenever you make a significant purchase, remember to add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.

BIG TICKET ITEMS

Make note of expensive items, such as jewelry, furs, and collectibles. Valuable items may need separate insurance. But, don't forget more commonplace items such as toys, CD's and clothing.

TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS

Along with the written information, consider adding photographs of your possessions, which can be done easily with a digital camera. Those with film cameras can scan printed photographs or have their film developer save the images to a disk. You can always simply store your print photographs with a copy of your inventory.

VIDEOTAPE IT

Walk through your house or apartment videotaping the contents. Remember to open drawers and closets. One advantage of videotape is that you can narrate what you are filming.

MAKING LISTS

In some case, items below are listed by the room in which they are most likely to be found. In other cases, they are grouped together by category. For many items like books, CDs, sheets or pots and pans, you can make a general estimate of how many you have and their estimated value.

HOME INVENTORY

You can refer to the following lists to help create your inventories. Write a brief description of the item including when and where it was bough and its make or model number.

GENERAL APPLIANCES

  • Televisions
  • VCR/DVD player
  • Video camera
  • CD player
  • Stereo equipment
  • CDs, records
  • Radios
  • Sewing machine
  • Cameras
  • Answering machine
  • Phones
  • Washer/Dryer
  • Air conditioners
  • Heaters
  • Fans
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Exercise equipment

GENERAL HOUSEHOLD

  • Carpet/rugs
  • Window treatments
  • Bookcases
  • Chairs
  • Lamps/light fixtures
  • Clocks
  • Mirrors
  • Vases
  • Collections (coin, stamp, etc.)
  • Pictures/wall hangings

LIVING ROOM

  • Sofa
  • Chairs
  • Coffee table
  • End tables
  • Entertainment center/wall units
  • Piano/other musical instruments

DINING ROOM

  • Buffet
  • Table
  • Chairs
  • China cabinet
  • China
  • Silverware
  • Crystal
  • Table linens
  • Tea/coffee sets
  • Serving table/cart

BEDROOMS

  • Beds
  • Bed Linens
  • Dressers/Chests
  • Dressing Tables
  • Night tables

CLOTHING

  • Shoes
  • Coats
  • Furs
  • Suits
  • Dresses
  • Sweaters
  • Sports Apparel
  • Shirts
  • Skirts
  • Jewelry

KITCHEN

  • Table
  • Chairs
  • Refrigerator
  • Freezer
  • Stove
  • Microwave Oven
  • Oven
  • Dishwasher
  • Coffee makers/other small appliances
  • Pots/Pans
  • Dishes
  • Glasses
  • Kitchen Utensils

BATHROOMS

  • Hair dryer/other electrical appliances
  • Scale
  • Shower Curtains
  • Towels

HOME OFFICE/STUDY/DEN

  • Desk
  • Chairs
  • Sofa
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Fax Machine
  • Books
  • Tables
  • Business Supplies

GARAGE/BASEMENT/ATTIC/SHED

  • Furniture
  • Luggage/Trunks
  • Sports Equipment
  • Toys/Outdoor Games
  • Bicycles
  • Small Boats
  • Trailers
  • Lawn Mower
  • Snow Blower
  • Shovels
  • Sprinkler/Hoses
  • Wheelbarrel/Other Garden Tools and Supplies
  • Ladders
  • Work Bench
  • Carpentry Tools/Supplies
  • Holiday Decorations

PORCH/PATIO

  • Garden Chairs
  • Garden Tables
  • Umbrellas
  • Outdoor Cooking Equipment
  • Planters
  • Jacuzzi