One of the appeals of insurance is the security that it provides in times of peril. People like to know that when that flood comes or fire sparks, their family is protected. But insurance does little to help if you don’t know what you lost.
That’s why home inventories are important. A home inventory, simply defined, is a detailed list of all the possessions in your home. And while compiling one may seem like a daunting task, there are several resources and methods that can make the process easier for you and your family.
Every item in the inventory should include a description of the item, serial number, purchase date, and estimated value. Using an online resource like United Policyholder’s Home Inventory Sheet can expedite the process. You may also choose to use an inventory app or visit a retailer to estimate costs.
When taking on this task, it is helpful to first formulate a strategy for doing so. Home inventories can come in many different forms, from spreadsheets to home videos. However you choose to present it, there are several ways to tackle this project.
The easiest way to do so is by acting preemptively and saving the receipts from all of your home purchases, big or small. These receipts provide exact data and make the process much easier from the start.
However, for many families, it is too late to start saving receipts. If you have already purchased a significant amount for which you have no official records, you may have no choice but to sweep your floor from wall to wall to complete your inventory.
It is often helpful to organize the process either room by room or categorically. One of the best ways to do this is by using your smart phone to narrate a video walk through of your home and contents. However you choose to do it, once you finish, make sure you protect it! Save physical copies in a safe box or even in a separate location from your home, and back all digital copies up onto several different drives and/or appliances. When you have a loss, it is much easier to go to the video or pictures and create a list of everything lost instead of trying to do it from memory during a difficult time. Ensuring that your home inventory can survive any sort of damage to your home is vitally important. After all, that’s what it’s there for!