Most of us tend to build up our belongings over time, making it easy to lose track of all the personal belongings we own. We also have all kinds of valuables, from computer equipment to jewellery and artwork to stamp collections. All your belongings have value, and when lost, it can be hard to replace.
Although you might have an idea of what the content of your home includes, in the worst-case scenario where items are lost, it can be hard to provide proof of your contents to a home insurance company. It makes sense to do a home inventory now, so you aren’t left paying for lost items out of your own pocket.
What is a home inventory?
A home inventory is a comprehensive list of everything you own. The inventory is especially important when it comes to your home insurance, as it provides a record to prove value, ownership, and even images to make replacement easier. Your home inventory list should also be kept up to date whenever you make a new purchase.
What is a home inventory used for?
As mentioned, your home inventory provides proof to your insurance company that you owned something, its value and details that will help make replacement easier. However, it’s not just about insurance. Home inventories also help with:
- Asset Values
When you keep careful records of your home contents, you are better able to keep track of the value of all your assets.
- Coverage Limits
When choosing home insurance, you have a better idea of how much coverage you will need for items of value such as electronics, jewellery and collections from art to stamps.
If you ever plan to resell something, you can present proof of ownership, and show how much you paid for something to help you get the best price.
In the case of assets such as art, antiques, collectibles, etc. your home inventory is the best way to keep records to authenticate origins and value.
Sometimes you store valuables away and don’t give them much more thought. Should you experience a burglary or damage due to fire or floods, etc. you might forget exactly what was lost due to the stress of the situation.
Your home inventory is also a great place to keep records of all your warranties.
How do you create a home inventory?
To create the most comprehensive records for your home inventory ideally, you should include:
- A photo or video of each item
Images taken in a recognizable spot in your current home is the best way to show you had possession of the items at the time a burglary, fire, or disaster occurred. Be sure to update images if you move.
- Room by room inventory
This is the easiest way to make sure you don’t miss anything. Just make sure you go through every closet and all storage in the room, including bins, boxes, and cabinets with drawers and shelves.
- Date and proof of purchase
If possible, include receipts for all your belongings.
Keep all relevant warranties with your bills.
- Serial and model numbers
Write a description of everything, including important traceable details such as serial and model numbers.
- Include everything
Your room by room content inventory will help ensure you include everything such as clothing, books, and even expensive grooming tools you might own from curling irons to specialty brushes or shavers. Don’t get too caught up in little things such as your sock and underwear drawer. It’s a given everyone will have these items.
- Scan receipts and keep originals
If possible, keep both a digital record and the original for your receipts, so you don’t lose proof due to fire or flood.
- Include outdoor belongings
Don’t forget items outside, including things stored in outbuildings such as sheds. Expensive gardening equipment, barbecues, kids’ toys, etc. should all be included.
- Backup records
As mentioned, having both original and digital records are important. Your digital files, however, should also be backed up on the cloud.
If a home inventory list seems like too much work, remember what you stand to lose if you don’t have an inventory. While the worst-case scenario might seem unlikely, every home is vulnerable to potential losses, whether it is due to fire, burglary, or a weather-related disaster.
If you don’t want to go through every single one of these recommended steps, at the least, take a quick inventory of your entire home. Just sweep each room with your phone’s video app and describe each item in the room. It’s not the ideal scenario, but you will have some form of proof, albeit not as useful when it comes time to make a claim.
Use an App
Today, there are plenty of apps designed to quickly add itemized details, take and store images, and back-up your list easily. Apps also make keeping things up to date a snap. Some popular free home inventory apps include:
- Magic Home Inventory
- Sortly (this is good for home businesses too)
- Encircle: Home Inventory
If apps aren’t your thing, you can also use an Excel spreadsheet. On the other hand, if you are serious about your home inventory, there are also some pretty detailed free home inventory software choices available. They offer a few more features, such as creating reports and easier viewing. Some good ideas include:
- The Complete Home Journal
- Know Your Stuff
- Computerize Your Assets
When to Update Your Home Inventory
When you keep your home inventory list up to date, you’re always prepared should you have to file a claim. Your inventory should be updated when:
- You make a new purchase
- You undergo home renovations (Take before and after shots and record all relevant receipts for work and materials)
- You move
You can also do a review whenever your home insurance is up for renewal.
Your home inventory list might take a few hour’s work, but then maintenance becomes easy as you have to add new items as you purchase them.
To learn more about why you need to do a home inventory now, call Bow Valley Insurance at +1 800-332-1308 or contact us here
Coverage is subject to policy wording, terms, conditions, and deductibles. Protection is limited to the perils, coverage, exclusions, and limits shown on the policy.