How To Make A Home Insurance Inventory List

Updated on August 20, 2016
Austinstar profile image

Lela earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, TX. She has been writing for the online world for years.

Make a Home Inventory List Today!

The Easy Way to do a Home Inventory

Get out your video camera and do a home inventory video. Walk from room to room videotaping everything in each room. Narrate as you go talking about each piece, its significance and probable value. If you know when and where and how much you paid for an item, add that in your narration.

Scan all of your receipts on everything valued at $100 or more. Upload everything to a "cloud" server such as YouTube, Google Drive or other private server that is backed up regularly and is dependable. You will want to add privacy controls to your video and other documents. Google Drive and YouTube make this easy and free.

Do not name your video or files with an obvious title like John Doe's Home Inventory. Hackers might just figure that out. Give your files a name similar to a really strong password. Use letters, numbers, uppercase, lowercase and any special symbols that the naming protocol will accept. "This is John Doe's Home Inventory 82412 (date)" Expressed as:"TiJdHmeIn82412" would be a good file name, use something similar. Don't forget to make it private if using YouTube or Google Drive!

Seriously, don't put this task off. You may wish you had done it immediately after reading this hub! There is no way of knowing when and where a disaster will strike.

What are My Photographs Worth?

What are family photos worth? Irreplaceable items like family photos can never be insured for the value they have for you personally.
What are family photos worth? Irreplaceable items like family photos can never be insured for the value they have for you personally. | Source

Do a Home Inventory With Photographs

A video camera is the easiest, but the next easiest way to inventory your possessions is to walk from room to room and photograph everything. With photo editing software, you can add in the text to describe the item and its value, purchase date and other information needed. Don't forget the closets!

Your clothes are particularly hard to value, but replacement costs could be very high, so be sure to document everything. Even your socks, as the video suggests.

With digital cameras these days, it is not difficult to take a few thousand photos of all your household items. You can print these out and store them in a safe deposit box or just transfer them to a digital service that can make your photos private. You can even upload the photos to a private album in FaceBook, but I recommend using a public or private cloud service as described for video uploading.

Don't forget to save your family photos too. These cannot be replaced. Schedule a time in the near future to have all of your home photos moved to digital storage. Or put copies of irreplaceable photos in a safe deposit box.

Home Inventory Software

A basic home inventory software program could be made by simply using Microsoft Excel spreadsheet applications. Open Office software has free spreadsheet software that is just as powerful and easy to use as MS Excel.

Or you can purchase a software that is pre-written explicitly for home insurance documentation purposes. If you have never learned to use a computer spreadsheet, all you really have to do is go room to room in your home and write down a list of everything in the room by hand (horrors). You will need a pen and paper or notepad.

Be sure to store your inventory (by whatever method) in a secure location that will hopefully not be affected by the same disaster that hits your individual home or neighborhood.

Sample Home Inventory Spreadsheet

Item and Location
Year of Purchase
Insurance Value
Receipt Available?
Master Bedroom Furniture Set
2002
$800
Yes
Big Screen TV - LR
2012
$1050
Yes
Wedding Rings - Jewelry Box
1991
$2500
No (appraisal done 2012)
Refrigerator - Kitchen
2008
$800
Yes
Coin Collection
started in 1985
appraised at $3,000
appraisal done in 2012

What's in Your Living Room?

This is going to be the place to start. It's where you "live". Most of your major purchases are going to be in this room, so don't forget to document all of the following:

  • Electronics - TV, stereo, iPods
  • Furniture - Lamps, tables, shelves, trays, curio cabinets (and their contents), desks
  • Art - bric-a-brac, figurines
  • Floor coverings - rugs, carpeting, tiles, hardwoods
  • Musical - pianos, organs, keyboards, guitars
  • Bookcases - books - especially collector's editions
  • Windows - drapes, a/c units, custom treatments, custom windows
  • Storage chests - and everything in them

Move on to the Bedrooms

Your bedrooms may be where you store your most valuable items such as jewelry, watches, art, etcetera. Everything of value must be documented in order for you to receive insurance claims. An insurance company will not just take your word when you claim to have a five thousand year old diamond brooch handed down through family inheritances. You will have to have proof and they may even require insurance appraisals ahead of time. So get this done too. Make a list for every bedroom in the home.

Some things to consider while doing your bedroom inventory:

  • Dressers and contents
  • Jewelry cases and contents
  • Closets and contents
  • Bedroom furniture, linens and chairs
  • Chests and contents
  • Artwork, ceiling fans, mirrors, windows, flooring
  • Anything under the bed hidden away
  • Guns and other protective items
  • Electrical appliances, a/c window units
  • Books and bric-a-brac decorative items
  • Lamps and desks
  • Sewing machines

Bathrooms and Hallways

Don't forget to document some valuable items in these areas. Electric toothbrushes aren't cheap, you know. You may have some artwork or figurines that are worth a pretty penny too.

  • Bathroom cabinets and contents
  • Closets and contents
  • Towels and linens
  • Art and decorative items
  • Electrical appliances
  • Hall furniture and any contents

Medications and Health Supplies

Keep a running list of all your medications, supplements and health needs and supplies. These will have to be replaced after a disaster. This can add up to a huge replacement cost.

Don't Forget Computers

Home office or home use only?
Home office or home use only? | Source

Home Office Contents / Family Rooms

Some home insurance policies do not cover home offices, so check with your policy holder. You may have to take out a special rider policy for reimbursement of home office supplies and computers. You might be covered if you only use your home office as a den or family room instead of using it for "business".

  • Air conditioner window units, ceiling fans, room fans
  • Bookcases and Books
  • Cabinets and contents
  • Desks and contents
  • Games, game player electronics
  • Computers, scanners, fax machines, printers, cameras
  • Furniture - tables, end tables, coffee tables, card tables, pool tables
  • Closets and contents
  • Fireplace equipment (also in living rooms)
  • Musical equipment
  • Sports equipment
  • Private collections - coins, Ty Beanie Babies, whatever
  • Ceiling, floors, windows

Attic, Basement and Garage Insurance Inventory

Don't forget these areas when you are going around doing your video or photography. You may have forgotten those old Abraham Lincoln letters in the attic or basement. Plus your garage is an automatic storage area for sports equipment, lawn care equipment and automobile parts.

Taking Stock of Your Kitchen

Your kitchen has incredible valuable appliances, cookware and furniture. You will be surprised at just how much money is tied up in your kitchen and dining rooms.

Take photos of everything:

  • Appliances - refrigerator, stove, microwave, toaster oven, mixers, blenders, specialty appliances, dishwasher
  • Pots and pans
  • Cabinets and contents
  • Crystal
  • China
  • Silverware and cutlery, expensive chef's knives or tools
  • Dishes, glasses, bowls
  • Cookbooks
  • Shelving and contents
  • Kitchen linens, pot holders
  • Cookie jars and canisters

Laundry Room and Utility Rooms

  • Washer, Dryer, Freezer
  • Shelving, Cabinets and contents
  • Ironing board, steam press

Collector's Items and Hobbies

A serious collector will have an inventory of what is in the collection and what is not in the collection. Everything should be documented and photographed and separately insured if the collection is very valuable.

This might include art work, figurines, coins, baseball cards and items of this nature. Some people choose to display their collections and some people like to keep them private. You will need records to prove the value of each item and you may want to store those records in a safe deposit box along with your total home inventory list.

Hobbies are generally only of value to the person doing the hobby. The insurance company will only reimburse you for your actual supply value. They will not insure speculative amounts. If you have quilts and quilting supplies, for instance, you cannot insure them for the possible value they might have should you want to sell them sometime in the future. Every year you should make it a habit to have your hobby items and supplies appraised by someone who knows the market. Store these appraisals in the safe deposit box too.

The Crown Jewels

If you have this kind of treasure, be sure to put it in a vault!
If you have this kind of treasure, be sure to put it in a vault! | Source

Jewlery, Furs and Miscellaneous Items of Value

Keep all receipts for high ticket items. Keep them for as long as you own the items. Be sure to photograph and save the documentation on all items of value in your home.

Very expensive items should be stored in a protected safe deposit box or a home safe or in a guarded location. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to retrieve these items should the need arise.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Lela

    Comments - If I have forgotten something, please add a comment...

    Submit a Comment

    • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR

      Lela 

      5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Yes, of course you should do a new one. Probably every year! I need to do one too. Working on it.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hey Lela - really this is a fabulous idea and it should be done! I videoed everything. I need to do it again bc I've remodeled so much since then you know? I mean - I used to have carpet - now it's hardwood. I've had the deck stained and a new roof...for example. I think I really should do a new one don't you?

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Very good advice. Back in the 'old' days, I gave my kids my negatives so that I could re-create photos if anything happened...needless to say that was quite a while ago and its time to do something else now. Thanks for the reminder and all the tips we need to follow.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      What an excellent and useful hub - bookmarked , voted up and shared. I know I really need to do this living where I do and I will definitely use your tips and get started on it.

    • lauramaryscott profile image

      lauramaryscott 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Austinstar, thank you for this article. My daughter recently gave me a video/digital camera and I need to learn how to use it. Doing an inventory was on my list of things to do. Your article helped me organize a plan of action. Thank you.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      This is something we desperately need to do.

      Thanks Lela!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Thank you, Lela, for this very thorough home inventory list and suggestions re insurance. Timing is impeccable since Tropical Storm Isaac is lingering outside at the moment.

    • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR

      Lela 

      5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Just start with a run through with a video camera. This will identify most of your belongings. You can fine tune the list as you go about.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      This is the first time for years that I have been able to afford insurance. I do keep all reciepts but making a comprehensive inventory really ought to be my next move.

      Thanks for the useful suggestions.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I don't think you've forgotten anything but had to leave a comment anyway. This is something I've never done but have been meaning to. Thank you for the reminder.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://toughnickel.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)