How to Take a Home Inventory – An Easy to Follow Checklist

Taking a home inventory is your best chance to regain losses of your personal property if something happens to your home. Follow these steps for how to take a home inventory so you can accurately inventory your assets in case of a claim: 1) use a video camera or smartphone to record your property, 2) move from room to room taking video inventory, 3) tour the property inside and out, 4) save receipts of personal property-related items, and 5) take a home inventory often to update it with new purchases and investments.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Nov 5, 2020

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Your home inventory is your best chance to regain losses of your personal property if something happens to your home. But in order for the home inventory to benefit you, it must be kept up to date and include everything you want to protect. When you complete the home inventory, make a copy and send it to the insurance company, but retain the other company for your own use.

Use a Video Camera

When you have a video of your property, the insurance company can immediately reference anything that is lost or stolen. You do not have to buy or rent an expensive camera, but it is a good idea to use one that is capable of zooming in so that you show the exact brand and condition of your property.

Move from Room to Room

Start at your front door and move through the entire home systematically. Itemize everything in each room, including pictures on the walls, furniture, appliances, special light fixtures, and anything that can be classified as your personal property. Be sure to include an itemization of your jewelry box or home safe. Don’t forget to go through your closets, attic and other storage areas along with the utility room, pantry, and other rooms.

Tour the Property

Everything on your property should be included in your home inventory. That includes the tools in your garage, your lawn equipment, pool equipment and yard ornaments and decorations. Take your time and itemize everything, then watch the video and make sure that you didn’t forget some out-of-the-way storage shed or some item that is kept hidden away behind another building.

Save All of Your Personal Property Related Receipts

Receipts are important to verify the value of your property. Not only should you include the receipts with the items in your home inventory video, you should take care to save the actual receipts. Purchase a fire-proof lockbox to keep receipts in at home, and transfer them to a safe deposit box or other off-site location regularly.

Update Your Home Inventory Often

A home inventory should be updated regularly. If you make a major purchase, update the home inventory. Even if you can’t think of anything that needs to be updated, perform the home inventory every 6 months or even more frequently, because some things probably change without you considering them to be important, such as picking up an antique chair while visiting relatives out of town. Your home inventory is your best representative if your home is destroyed so give it the time and diligence it deserves.

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