You never know when a disaster will strike.
But you can be prepared for one by creating an inventory of all the possessions inside your home. Doing so will help you determine how much insurance is necessary to cover your belongings, have insurance claims settled faster, and document losses on your tax return.
There are essentially three ways in which you can go about creating a personal home inventory:
- You can simply make a list in a notebook or on your computer and save receipts and photos of the items in a file.
- If you own a video camera, you can walk throughout your house describing each item.
- You can utilize free software programs that allow you to categorize and document the contents of your home.
This task may seem daunting at first, but with a little organization, documenting your personal property can be easy and less time-consuming than you think.
First, decide on a method for documenting your belongings. Then decide how to go about taking your inventory. You can focus on one room at-a-time, by categories (furniture, electronics, clothing etc), from the newest purchases to oldest, or most expensive items to the least expensive.
As you are taking inventory, file receipts for each item if available, but also remember to note the cost of each item, when it was purchased and any other pertinent information such as model # and brand.
Store a copy of your home inventory off-site, such as with a friend or family member or in a safe deposit box. If your inventory is electronic, store it on a disk off-site as well. This way, you make sure that you have something to give your insurance agent in the event of a disaster.
If you think utilizing a free software program to take your inventory is the best route for you, the Insurance Information Institute offers a great program.