It’s smart to get homeowners or renters insurance, likely required if you have a mortgage. But if you actually had to make a claim, would you know what items you lost? That’s what a home inventory is useful for.
After a tragedy like losing your home or experiencing a burglary, it’s hard enough dealing with the situation and working toward getting restored. Make a home inventory to help ease that burden (and boost your credibility with your insurance provider). You’ll be glad you did.
Here’s a home inventory tool, provided by the Insurance Information Institute: http://www.knowyourstuff.org/
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After your initial signup, you’ll see the “Setup Wizard” screen to get started entering information.
The home inventory website has these features:
- Enter your Insurance Company Information (able to be edited)
- Store up to 8 images/photos of the exterior of your home
- Create any number of rooms and add items to specific rooms
- Add multiple locations: “Establish multiple addresses and manage inventories for multiple locations.” (storage units, personal items you keep at work, etc.)
- Generate reports: assets by room, assets by category, or whole home inventory
- Search screen to search items by room, category, name you gave the item, or make, model, or serial number
The “Add Room” screen, with standard room names already provided for your convenience.
Here’s the “Add Item” screen. You can see how detailed it can be.
Your next steps
- Go around your house, garage, and storage sheds and take 100 photos, maybe even a video (just to store on your computer, not this website — although you could upload to YouTube and mark that specific video as Private). Take an extra second to get good photos of the bigger-ticket items like TVs, computers, riding lawnmowers, and more. Take photos of the back and bottom of items with serial numbers, like electronics and golf clubs.
- After going photo-crazy, save the photos to your computer and organize them in folders by room.
- Login to the KnowYourStuff.org website and start entering information. Try to get as much information entered as quickly as possible.
- After entering all valuable items, go back and review items entered, this time going slowly to make sure everything’s complete. Make sure to upload receipts, enter make, model, and serial number, and put the finishing touches on your entries.
- Run one or more reports, print them off, and walk around the house (or look at the photos) and see if you missed any items. Don’t forget to peek in benches, drawers, cubbies, and cabinets.
- Repeat until you finalize your home inventory.
- Run the report(s) and provide to your insurance agent. Ask for their expert opinion regarding your coverage, to make sure you have the appropriate coverage. They might suggest adding a personal articles policy for things like “scheduled” jewelry, computers, bikes, golf clubs, or collectibles that have limits in the standard homeowners insurance policy.
- After all your hard work, share this tip with a friend. Or maybe make this step #1 and go through the process together!