MoneySmart

Financial tips and money-saving advice from USU Credit Union

Creating a Home Inventory List

April 26, 2019

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What is a home inventory list?

A home inventory list is a list of all your personal belongings in your home. It can be used as documentation in case you ever have a loss and need to file an insurance claim. If you do not have a home inventory list, you may not receive the right compensation for your items. If possible, a home inventory list should include:

• Description of the item
• Make, model, or serial number if applicable
• Valuation/appraisal or cost at the time of purchase of the item
• Date of purchase
• Where the item was purchased
• Receipts or photos

Why should I have one?

The main reason you want to have a home inventory list is to provide proof in the event of a loss. Anytime you make a claim, the insurance company will ask for a list of things lost/damaged. Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster. Another reason to have a home inventory list is to help you know the correct amount of insurance to purchase.

How do I create one?

Creating a home inventory list can be as detail oriented or simple as you want it to be. Obviously, the more detail the better when it comes to insurance claims, but something is better than nothing.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Pick an easy spot to start
Pick a location where you won’t get overwhelmed before you’ve even begun. Some of the easiest places to start are confined locations such as drawers or closets.

2. Organize items by location, category, or date of purchase
Choose what suits you best, after all, this is your list. You can choose to sort by room, by category (i.e. furniture, appliance, entertainment), or by recency of purchase.

3. Include information such as price, make, model, and serial number
The more information the better. However, you won’t be able to find the complete information for all of your belongings. Just do what you can to give a good description of the item so that you can be accurately compensated. Also, list the replacement cost of an item rather than just the price you paid. You may not be able to get the same deal on your fridge as you did before.

4. Count clothing in general
Make your life easier by grouping things when possible (i.e. 4 jeans, 5 pairs of shoes). However, specialty items (i.e. jewelry, heirloom, or designer coat) should be listed separately and may need more coverage.

5. Include off-site items such as belongings in a storage shed, basement, or attic
Items left in the attic or basement are the most common items to be left off of a home inventory list. Take the time to sort through those areas as well and unbox items if needed.

6. Keep a copy in the cloud, or a secondary location
Your inventory list won’t do any good if it is destroyed along with everything else. If you don’t want to use the cloud, ask a family member or neighbor if you can leave a copy with them. Whatever you decide, it may be a good idea to include your insurance policy number and claims phone number. Don’t include your home address or other personal information.

7. Start today and don’t get discouraged!
The best way to get started is to just do it. It will take dedication and persistence, but it could become crucial and invaluable time spent in the event of a disaster.

8. Use an app
There are plenty of free and paid apps that will help you in your process. An app will help you organize, record, and store your home inventory list as well as other important items such as receipts.

9. Take pictures and video
Pictures will help back up your claims and give more support as a description. You can also walk around your home and record video of each room.

10. Stay on top of it
Once you complete an inventory, keep it current as you accumulate more belongings. Staying up-to-date on your inventory will be much easier than starting from scratch and seem much less daunting. It is also important to keep your list current for insurance purposes.

Example of what your home inventory could look like:

Item Price Description When/Where Purchased Make/Model
Kitchen Refrigerator $694.43 Top-freezer refrigerator Lowes, Feb 2019 Samsung RT18M6213WW
Range $640.93 Electric stovetop w/oven Lowes, Feb 2019 Frigidaire LFEF3054TF
Toaster $32.10 2-slice stainless steel Wedding gift, Jul 2016 Kalorik
Knives $73.83 Stainless steel 13 piece kitchen knife set Walmart, Mar 2017 Farberware 5191607
Frontroom Television $457.96 50" 4k Smart LED Walmart, Apr 2018 Vizio D50x-G9
Couch $200.00 78.75" 3 seater Local classifieds, Aug 2016
Bedroom 1 Matress + box spring $1,817.93 Queen iSeries Hybrid + regular profile box spring Mattress Firm, Jul 2016 Serta mfi120289
Bed frame $148.73 Raised metal platform frame Matress firm, Jul 2016
Dresser $212.93 4 drawer Target, Nov 2018
Jeans $70.59 3 Jeans JC Penney Levi
Shoes $225.00 5 pairs

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