Home Inventory:  How to Create One

Home Inventory: How to Create One

Man taking a digital photo of his laptop

Challenge: List every possession you own, along with each item's worth. Imagine doing this after your belongings have been stolen or destroyed in a fire or natural disaster. The task may now seem impossible.

Below we've answered your basic questions on why and how you should create a digital home inventory.

Why do I need an inventory of my home?

A home inventory can be used to help you make coverage decisions. It also can simplify filing an insurance claim, help you secure a settlement and prove useful when verifying property loss for taxes.

How do I create a home inventory?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, you can start creating a home inventory by following these steps:
  • Pick one area at a time to record - You can start with a hall closet or small kitchen cabinet. Then, after capturing your belonging in that room, move on to the next.
  • Record recent purchases - Get into the habit of recording new purchases. Then, as necessary, go back and record your older, undocumented possessions. Along with the record, be sure to store sales receipts and appraisals (including the appraiser’s name and address) to help verify the value of the each item.
  • Record just the basics - Provide a general description, where you bought it, the make and model, and what you paid for the item. Include the serial number if the item has one.
  • Record the number of each clothing type - List, for example, "5 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of sneakers…" Make note of items that are especially valuable.
  • Include stored items as well - Things kept in your basement, attic, garage and other detached structures may not be at the top of your mind; however, you should record those items as well. If you have items in a self-storage unit, make sure to include them as they are usually covered under your home insurance policy.
  • Use technology to create your digital home inventory.
    • Take pictures - Capture important individual items as well as entire rooms, closets, or drawers. Label your photos with what's pictured, where you bought it, the make or model, and the serial number.
    • Take video - Walk through your house or apartment recording and describing the contents. For example, you might describe the contents of a kitchen cabinet: "Poppies on Blue by Lenox, a service set for 12 that includes a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, cup and saucer, purchased in 2015."
    • Use an app - There are many mobile app options that can help you create and store a room-by-room record of your belongings.

Finally, store your home inventory in a fireproof safe, safety deposit box, or digitally in the cloud. You can even email your inventory to your insurance agent. This has the added value of allowing your inventory to be examined by your agent to see if you need extra coverage, like the Personal Articles Insurances policies offered by State Farm®.

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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.