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What’s the Easiest Way to Start a Home Inventory?

Step 1
The easiest way to start your list of belongings is to take out your phone and start videoing or taking photos for insurance purposes. This will help you prove that you had the items you claim you did.

It’s also useful as an adjunct to your property inventory list after a theft. Photographic evidence makes it easier to identify recovered items.

Don’t forget items you carry in your car or on yourself. Ensure you document custom features and finishes when you inventory your home.

Step 2
Either look for a home contents inventory list template online or create one in Excel. If applicable, create separate sheets named:
● Inventory list for house
● Inventory list for rental property

Step 3
Go from room to room to create your home contents list. Take note of any item you expect your insurance to pay for if you file a claim. You may also set up your list by home inventory categories.

Step 4
Create a file titled “Proof of Purchase for Home Contents List for Insurance.” Gather together the receipts for the expensive items on your personal property checklist.

A quick hack is to download your order list from online retailers such as Amazon since these companies usually provide detailed invoices. For other items on your personal property checklist, keep your bank statements as your proof of purchase.

If you have paper receipts for any items on your room inventory checklist, scan and upload them.

Step 5
This step sounds tedious but is a quick one. Check the replacement value of every item on your household inventory spreadsheet. Using shopping and house contents calculator apps makes this process a lot simpler.

For valuable items like antiques, consider using the service of contents valuation companies.

Step 6
Hit the save button on your computer frequently during the process. Once you complete the inventory, print out a copy of the list and keep it in a protected place, such as a safe.
Why Having a List of What You Own Makes Claiming Easier
An up-to-date home contents inventory checklist makes claiming easier because:

● Creating a home inventory list after fire or theft is difficult. It’s easy to forget details that might make a difference, such as make and model. It’s also simple to forget to add an item.
● Your home inventory checklist for moving will detail every item you transport. Not providing your insurance an itemized list means that your belongings may fall under “Unspecified Cover.” The overall limit on such cover is relatively low.
● The insurance company expects you to provide full details to corroborate your claim. Without a home inventory for insurance, it’s difficult to remember where and when you bought the items.
● It allows you to break the items down into categories or by room. If you have a fire in one room, you can pinpoint the contents on your house fire inventory list for that space.
● It allows you to avoid misunderstandings. You’ll know exactly what’s listed on your homeowner’s insurance inventory and can judge if the insurance offer is fair.
● Your checklist for insurance will include off-site items you may have forgotten about.

Keep Your Home Inventory List Safe and Accessible
Making an inventory list takes a little time, so look after it. You may print out a hard-copy if you like, but don’t rely on that alone. A digital copy of your home insurance list of items makes the file easy to find and access for updates and saves you from creating a separate document inventory list for your hard copies.

Take things a step further by also backing up your digital copy off-site. Keep a copy of your household inventory list on a memory stick and store it at a different location.

Alternatively, use a cloud service like Google Drive to back up your file. We prefer using cloud services because it makes your house inventory list accessible from multiple devices. Cloud storage also safeguards the file from flood or fire damage.

Home Insurance Inventory Checklist
In summary, here’s what you need to do:
● Set aside time to work on your home inventory checklist
● Take photos and, if possible, videos of the items
● Set up your contents insurance checklist spreadsheet
● List the items in each room
● Create a file for the receipts and bank statements showing purchases
● Scan any paper-based documents and save them to this file
● Create a separate column in which to list the replacement value
● If you’re not sure of the figure, consider calling in professional valuators
● Save your new personal inventory form and create off-site backups
● Update the form periodically as you buy new things

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