What Is a Home Inventory and Why Do You Need One?

People with homeowners, renters, or condo insurance need to make sure they have enough coverage for their personal belongings.  The best way to know you’re adequately covered is to make a home inventory list.  Although it may seem like a challenging task, in the end, you will save time, stress, and money when filing a claim.

So, where do you begin, and how detailed does the home inventory need to be?  Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.

What Is a Home Inventory List?

Home InventoryA home inventory is a detailed, itemized list of your personal possessions and their estimated value.  The list will help you determine the amount of homeowners insurance you need.  In the event of a claim, an inventory list will ensure you won’t forget anything. 

Imagine having severe damage to your home during a hurricane, flood, fire, or other disaster.  Could you remember every item in your home, attic, basement, and garage that you’ll want to replace?  You’re not alone. Most people can’t, so it’s important to inventory those items before something unexpected happens.

Benefits of Making a Home Inventory 

After a catastrophe like a fire or a storm, you will be stressed and may fail to report some items that were lost or damaged. Having a home inventory will give you peace of mind knowing your items are already documented.  Not only will you save time, but you will also feel less stress during a time when you’re already under pressure.

Another benefit of a home inventory is that it helps simplify the process of qualifying for a tax break or disaster assistance.  If you can accurately substantiate your financial losses, this complicated process can go more smoothly.  

What to Include in Your Home Inventory

Now that you know what a home inventory is and why it’s important, you are ready to start your own list.  The first step is to decide what to include in the inventory.  It should be as detailed as possible including the following:

  • A description of each item and its serial number
  • The date of purchase and cost of the item
  • Estimated replacement value of each item

After you’ve created the inventory list, don’t forget to add new purchases and keep copies of the receipts.  You may also want to store a copy of the list in a safe deposit box or at the home of a friend or relative. 

If you made a digital file of the list, keep a copy on an external drive or an online storage app.  

Easiest Way to Create a Home Inventory

Creating a home inventory can be done in several ways.  You can choose the method that works best for you.  As long as you keep it updated when items are added or removed from your home, your list will be a valuable asset in the event of a claim.  Here are some easy ways to create an inventory list:

  • The inventory list can be handwritten and kept in a folder.  Group the items by room and category. Make sure to include photos, receipts and a description of each item with the list.  
  • Use a spreadsheet or home inventory app on your computer or smartphone.   
  • An easier method involves making a video of your possessions.  Walk through each room with a video camera or smartphone and zoom in on the items and their serial numbers.  
  • Don’t forget items you have stored in an off-site storage facility.

If you have valuables such as fine art, jewelry, electronics, musical instruments, or firearms, talk to your insurance agent about adding an insurance rider to your policy.  The rider will ensure these scheduled items are adequately covered.

Regardless of the method you use, it’s important to include detailed information such as make and model, serial number, date of purchase, and place of purchase.  Keep all receipts if possible along with a digital copy of the receipt.  Because some receipts fade over time, it is a good idea to store them in this way.

Tips for Calculating Personal Property Value

Like most people, you probably didn’t save every receipt for every item you purchased over the years.  Likewise, you may not remember how much you paid or what the item is worth now.  If this is the case, you can use a depreciation calculator to estimate what the item is worth.  

When estimating an item with the depreciation calculator you can list the actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost value (RCV) of an item.  Typically, insurance companies cover personal property at ACV, so check with your agent or insurer to find out how your property is insured.  

Sandifer Insurance Agency can help you with all of your insurance needs.

Sandifer Insurance Agency is a family-owned, local company serving Cheraw, SC, and surrounding areas.  We have over 40 years of experience with helping clients protect their families, homes, businesses, and vehicles.  No matter if you need homeowners, life, auto, farm, or business insurance, we can help you get reliable insurance at affordable rates.

If you have questions about personal property coverage, contact us by phone, email, or online.  One of our agents will be available to assist you.   



iii.org/ – Three Reasons to Take a Home Inventory

claimspages.com/ – Depreciation Calculator

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *