If your home is struck by a burglar or a fire, an up-to-date home inventory will make it easier to deal with police and your insurance company. Without an up-to-date inventory, you’ll have to create a list of all your property from memory.
Creating and updating a home inventory isn’t nearly the time-consuming task it used to be. Creating an inventory and keeping it current prepares you for possible losses – and, it can also help you prevent losses from happening. As you inventory your possessions, you’ll become more aware of their vulnerability. Then you can take steps to make them more secure.
The easiest way to go about taking inventory is with a video camera. As you film your possessions, describe them fully, including their value and whether or not they are marked with ID or serial numbers. Include all rooms and film all possessions of significant value. Another way to do this is with a pad of paper and still camera.
Once you’ve documented everything, formalize your inventory. Many insurance companies offer home inventory forms, and there are computer software packages specifically designed for home inventory applications. Whatever method you choose, record key information about each item, including estimated values.
Keep your written and photographic inventory in a safe place, such as a fire-resistant file or a bank safe deposit box. Keep at least one copy away from your home. If you plan to travel, give a copy to a trusted neighbor or relative. That way, if there is a loss while you are away, they can report what’s missing or damaged to the police or your insurance company.
When you consider the alternative, taking the time to create a home inventory before it’s needed makes very good sense.