As the holiday season approaches (don’t worry, we’re just as stumped about how the year has flown by so fast) there’s one important thing you should do before putting up the decorations: make a belongings inventory list.
Keeping track of all your personal items ahead of time can make a world of difference if you have to file a claim after a home disaster. Here’s everything you need to know about documenting your belongings!
What is a belongings or home inventory list?
A belongings inventory, also called a home inventory, is a list that documents everything you own. If you have to file a claim after your possessions are damaged in a fire, flood, or other disaster, it saves you from trying to remember every item off the top of your head.
These lists don’t need to be categorized in any specific way to be valid at the time of a claim, but they’re usually organized by room or type of item.
Your inventory should have as much information about each possession as possible. For every item, it’s a good idea to include:
- A brief description
- A photo
- Where and when you bought it
- How much it cost
- The make, model, and serial number
- Any other details that might be relevant if you need to make a claim, like whether it was on sale at the time of purchase or has since increased in value
Why should I make a belongings inventory list now?
We get it — that sounds like a lot. Making a belongings inventory list can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve been living in the same home for a long time. We know firsthand how personal possessions have a way of accumulating!
As tedious as the task sounds, though, it couldn’t be more important. Here are a few key reasons a home inventory list is worth the hassle.
- Your everyday items cost more than you think.
Many people think it’s enough to just keep track of their traditionally high-value possessions like jewelry and electronics, but could you imagine having to replace everything you own?
Your everyday items like clothing, cleaning supplies, silverware, books, bedding, and more can add up quickly. If you do a brief scan of even just one room of your home, you’ll start to realize how valuable your possessions really are — and what a pain it would be to foot the bill to replace them on your own.
- A disaster resulting in a claim could happen at any time.
As much as we try to keep our families safe, no one can completely prevent accidents. You could find yourself in a situation where you need to file a claim at any time — it’s easy to put off making your belongings inventory, but fires, floods, and severe storms won’t wait for you.
How do I make a belongings inventory list?
Thankfully, making a belongings inventory list doesn’t have to be a grueling process. There are even a few things you can do today to make sure your items are covered if you have to file a claim.
- Take a video walkthrough of your home
If you don’t have time to sit down and write out every detail of your possessions this very second, that’s okay. At a minimum, grab your smartphone and video each room of your home, taking care to show every possession and talk through them as you go.
You can use this video as a reference when you do sit down to put your inventory in writing, and in the meantime, it still serves as documentation of what you own.
- Document your possessions in writing
As soon as you have time, supplement your video walkthrough with written information about each item. Putting this list in writing will make it easy for you and your insurance provider to quickly see your entire inventory without having to watch several minutes of video.
- Store your inventory in a safe place, preferably in the cloud
Your home inventory list is no good to you if it gets destroyed in a fire or flood that also damages the rest of your belongings. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep your belongings list in a secure, cloud-based file storing system.
This way you’ll be able to access it from anywhere with an internet connection, and you’ll never have to worry about it getting physically harmed!
What else do I need to consider when it comes to protecting my personal belongings?
On top of your self-made belongings inventory list, it’s a good idea to get a professional appraisal for any unique items like particularly expensive jewelry, antiques, artwork, or other one-of-a-kind valuables.