If you are a renter or a homeowner you still own ‘stuff’ that is protected by either your Renter’s/Tenant’s or Homeowner’s Insurance Policy. To make sure you are completely covered can in the event of a catastrophe, you should have a detailed inventory of your belongings.
Many people that have created a list for us seem to only include large dollar items: televisions, computers, furniture and appliances. Your inventory list is much more than that. Your Stuff: It includes clothing, shoes, jewelry, lamps, small kitchen appliances and so much more!
There are many ways to create and maintain your Home Inventory List: Pen and Paper, Photos, Excel Spreadsheet or programs like the Insurance Information Institute’s Know Your Stuff® Home Inventory Program. It doesn’t really matter which way you plan to keep your in inventory – just make sure you keep a Home Inventory List and keep it off premise. We suggest you keep more than one copy at a friends or relatives house and/or in a bank safety deposit box. We also highly suggest that you take photos of everything!
Creating your list is easy. You need the following tools to start your list:
- Camera (cell phone camera works)
- Note Pad
- Working Pen/Pencil
- Dedicated time (the size of your home dictates the time it will take)
How to create your list room by room:
- Go through each drawer, each cupboard, the pantry, the counter top and the decorations you have on top of the cupboards or walls.
- Example List
- 3 – dish rags
- 1 – roasting pot (list the brand name)
- 12 – dining plates (list the brand name and style)
- 1 – antique vase (see notes for antiques at end of article)
If you have a Butler’s Kitchen, Basement Kitchen or Outdoor Kitchen, complete the above listing process for each. Label them uniquely and each kitchen should have its own inventory list.
- Include everything in your bathroom, including items in your medicine cabinet
- Example List
- 1 – silver shower curtain rod (list the brand name and style)
- 6 – strawberry red bath towels (list the brand name and style)
- 3 – candle holders (list the brand name and style)
If you have additional bathrooms, the above list process should be completed for each bathroom. Label them uniquely and each bathroom should have its own inventory list.
I think you all get the idea of how to create a list for each room. Continue this process for all bedrooms, closets, garages, hallways, living areas, porches, pantries and every specialty room I might have forgotten to list here.
Antiques, jewelry, pictures, coins and/or any other collector’s items you may have are treated with a bit more care. It is highly suggested that you obtain a formal appraisal for each item of value. Again, keep the written appraisal with your list in an off premise location. The items you have appraised can be covered within your Renter’s/Tenant’s or Homeowner’s Policy. In most cases there will be an Endorsement to cover the items. Ask your Insurance Agent for specific details to your unique situation.
Personally, I like the Insurance Information Institute’s Know Your Stuff® Home Inventory Program. Their program can be reached at https://www.knowyourstuff.org/iii/login.html. It is an inclusive home inventory program that is free, gives you step by step directions and keeps your data secure. You can access and update your list anytime and anywhere you have computer access. They even have a phone app to keep things simple.
Any method you choose to keep a home inventory list is better than not keeping one at all.
Contact your individual Insurance Agent for details of what your Insurance Company will require and follow their instructions also.