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How to Create a Home Inventory List

Are you looking for something productive to do around the house on a cold winter day? There's not much we can do outdoors, but before we cozy up by the fire and lose track of time completely, here's a great task every homeowner should do! Create a home inventory. This is a critical way to protect the contents of your home in the event of a break-in or disaster, and it's something almost no one does. Here's how you can do it:

In the event of a fire or other disaster, an itemized list of your valuable belongings will be vital. According to the Insurance Information Institute, having an up-to-date home inventory will help you:

  • Purchase enough insurance to replace the things you own.
  • Get your insurance claims settled faster.
  • Substantiate losses for your income tax return.

So what are the steps?

The Insurance Information Institute has the following tips. You can visit their site for more information.

  1. Decide on an inventory method that works best for you: room by room, sorting by category (like electronics, appliances, toys), or perhaps listing items from most expensive to least expensive.
  2. Decide on your medium. You can write your list in a notebook, on the computer, take pictures, or even create a video. The Insurance Information Institute offers a basic free computer inventory software or you can research others--many will store all of your information on their protected server and will even store other important documents, passwords, or contact information for you all in the same place.
  3. Take inventory. Use the helpful lists from the Insurance Information Institute to help create your list and get started today. Walk through your home and using whatever method you choose, inventory everything. List all the details you can. Keep receipts when they are available and note the cost for the item, when you bought it and other information about the make and model.
  4. Keep your list updated. Remember to keep adding to your list as you purchase new items. And remember that larger items, jewelry etc. may need to be insured separately, so talk to your insurance company. So if it's cold and gloomy day by you this weekend (or even if it's not) think about a home inventory. Once it's created, maintain it regularly. It takes a little bit of time up front, but the software packages help a lot; and in the long-run, if ever you need to access your inventory list, you'll be very happy that you took the time to create one.