The importance of having a home inventory

A client called me the other day to let me know she’d been robbed.  She had arrived home to find her home had been broken into and several things taken.  We reviewed what information she’d provided to the police, her home insurance deductible, and measures she could take in the coming days to potentially recover her valuables.  As I think of her experience there are a couple of topics I’d like to cover over several blog postings including;

  • The importance of having a home inventory (an easy way to create one, what to put on it & options on where to store it)
  • What to do if you’re burglarized
  • Ways to reduce your risk of being burglarized
  • Special coverage options to consider

Having an up to date home inventory will make a huge difference to you in having items replaced due to;

  • Being burglarized
  • Home fire
  • Significant weather event (hurricane, tornado, flooding, etc.)

There are very few people who could sit down with a legal pad and create a complete list everything they lost.  Most people would leave items out.  Almost all of us would need some level of assistance in remembering what’s in our homes.  A home inventory will provide that level of assistance in remembering what you had in each room.  To create a home inventory;

  • Take a photo inventory of your home with your smart phone or with a digital camera
  • Flesh out the photo inventory with a listing of items in each room with a spreadsheet

To take the photo inventory;

  • Stand in the middle of each room and take a picture of each wall
  • Open cabinet doors and take a picture of what’s inside
  • Take pictures of books and decorative items on shelves
  • If there’s a closet, open the door and take a picture of contents
  • For small items such as jewelry, silverware, collectibles & specialty items (furs, china, guns, etc.) take individual pictures of each group and item

Some people suggest taking a video of your home and narrating it.  We don’t recommend that as it will run long based on the level of detail you add to your commentary and that could make it difficult finding the item you’re searching for.

Once the photo inventory is complete;

  • Upload the photos to a secure online photo storage such as iCloud, Dropbox, SugarSync, Flikr, Google Photos, etc. (make sure your inventory photos are in a folder you don’t share with anyone)
  • These photos can also be burned to a CD or loaded onto a flash drive, however store them in a safety deposit box (they’re no use to you if lost to a home fire)
  • Make a written record of what you have by room on either a legal pad, an Excel spreadsheet or use a home inventory software program
  • Include serial numbers, manufacturer name, model and price you paid for it (if you don’t remember, then an approximate value is helpful)
  • For nice jewelry be sure to record the color, cut, clarity, and number of carats (scan and upload an appraisal to a secure site).  We recommend these items be scheduled but more on that in a future posting.

Need some help?  We have Excel and Word templates or .PDF versions we can email you to help record what you have.  Share what you’ve done in the comments section below or on our Facebook or Google + page.  Have a question.  Post it in the same places and we’ll get you an answer.

Evie Wise
Evie Wise


Evie Wise
Evie Wise

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