Creating a Home Inventory for your Homeowner Insurance

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If the day ever comes when you need to file a homeowner’s insurance claim, you will be thankful that you created a home inventory. If you have personal property inside your house that is damaged or stolen, your claim will go much smoother if you have proper documentation. These days, there are more ways than ever to document the items you have at home so you can ensure that you are fully compensated in the event of a covered loss.

Start by putting it in writing: The first phase of documentation in creating your home inventory is putting everything down on paper. This may take a while, but the peace of mind you will have knowing it is all recorded will be well worth it. Start by going through each room and writing down all your important items. These may include:

  • Beds
  • Dressers
  • Mirrors
  • Appliances
  • Televisions
  • Computers/Laptops
  • Printers
  • Radios & other Electronics
  • Filing Cabinets
  • Couches
  • Chairs
  • Jewelry

Once you have a master list of all your important personal property, organize it by category and add dates of purchase and serial numbers (where applicable). Since you are re-organizing your list anyway, this would be the perfect time to enter it all into your computer on a spreadsheet program such as Excel.Keep your spreadsheet updated as you add or remove an item. In addition, give a copy to your insurance agent and keep an updated spreadsheet with a cloud storage service. If you do not wish to pay for cloud backup storage, you can obtain around five GB of free storage from major providers such as Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. This is amount of storage is more than enough to keep your Excel document along with additional photo/video documentation.

Take Photos and Video: A written inventory of your personal property is a great first step. However, an added level of documentation in the form of photos and video can be very a helpful supplement. If you prefer to just take pictures, this would be sufficient. However, a narrated video tour of the house describing each item and when it was purchased would be even better. If you decide to take photos only, be sure to put descriptions under each item when you are naming the photos. Compile your photos/video into a file that can be stored on your computer and in your free cloud backup. You may also choose to create a DVD and send a copy to your insurance agent.

Advanced Documentation: If you want to have the best possible documentation of your personal property, you may want to consider installing security cameras in each room of your home. Security cameras not only document your property, they also show how exactly the property was damaged or stolen. There is a one-time expense involved with this additional level of security in your home. However, it may qualify you for a discount on your homeowner insurance policy. Speak with your insurance agent to find out if your insurer would offer you such a discount.

About The Author

Todd Balderson has been protecting families and businesses through insurance coverage since 1996. He is the founder of Balderson Insurance Agency and serves clients in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. Todd is known for reminding people about how “insurance is more crucial to building your wealth than investments because without insurance, it’s easy to lose your assets.” Learn more about Todd and the insurance protection he offers at


One Response to Creating a Home Inventory for your Homeowner Insurance

  1. The Wallet Doctor April 6, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

    Taking the time to do an inventory is well worth it. So many people fail to take the steps you’ve mentioned here, and come to truly regret it later on. Thanks so much for the great ideas!

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