Do you have a plan for disasters and know you need a home inventory? Whether you have one started or have nothing at all read on to learn why you need a home inventory and how to protect your assets. If your looking at this and scratching your head wondering what I’m even talking about, just stick with it and see what you learn…
Almost all of us need a home inventory, whether we are renting or own our homes or businesses. If you have insurance, you need an inventory. Sadly, a lot of people have the attitude that they pay insurance so who cares and why would they need a home inventory!?! But there are so many irreplaceable things and all the little stuff really adds up. By having a home inventory your saving yourself a huge potential headache, hours of time or worse out of pocket expenses lost down the drain.
When I became a professional organizer, I began to learn all about the different home inventory systems and tools available. I also began to assist clients with creating inventory systems both before and after disasters (unfortunately, mostly flooding, some theft). Trust me when I say, you do not want to have to inventory your stuff after it’s been damaged or try to remember what’s missing! It’s not the insurance companies duty to take your word for all your expensive assets. If you can’t prove you owned it (meaning tracking down receipts or charges, photo’s or other documentation) you may loose it all together.
What do you need to inventory? The quick answer is everything! You are probably thinking this will take ages and depending on how much detail you want to include, it could be a significant undertaking but really not so bad if you take it step by step, room by room.
Without an inventory you could end up with a mess on your hands! Don’t get stuck sorting toilet plungers from kitchen utensils, holiday decor and more to figure out how much you’ve got and what needs to be replaced!
Since I’ve worked extensively on creating inventory for insurance claims here’s what you need to know. Photo’s are your friends! Spread sheets are super helpful and may prevent you from having to fill out additional information in the event of an insurance claim. But there are other systems out there that are super helpful and can do more for you than just a home inventory.
As the well known Sheryl Sandberg quote goes “Done is better than perfect.” So true in the case of an inventory! Just having photo’s is better than nothing!
Home Zada is one of the most comprehensive home management tools out there and does everything from home maintenance reminders to home inventory. If your on the serious side of protecting your valuable assets, I can’t recommend a better way to manage it all in one place! This is a cloud based option so you won’t loose it if you loose your computer!
Another great comprehensive but inexpensive system is Liberty Street Home Manage software (also cloud based). It’s under $50 and allows you to enter all the important documentation and photo’s for all your assets (at multiple locations).
Several insurance companies have their own systems, so ask your insurance agent what they offer! It will probably be free and give them everything needed if you ever had to make a claim.
If you like tech options, Encircle Inventory for Homeowners is a free app (for the 1st property) you can use on your phone or tablet, taking pictures and uploading info as you go. Home Contents is another (UK Based) app that makes home inventory a snap with your digital camera in phone. And finally in the app department, My Stuff has several free and paid options with great features for adding items to folders, tagging etc for easier sorting and organizing.
If you prefer to stick with a spreadsheet style inventory, just do a quick search for Home Inventory Checklist to find quite a few good options available for free. Most of these are templates that you can download and use on your computer/device.
Home inventory Checklists hekp you to understand what information will be most valuable in the case of an insurance claim. A good idea of the information insurance companies would like to have follows. The more info you can provide, the more accurate your claim and reimbursement will be. But it may not be necessary to have all the information below. Again, “Done is better than perfect!”
- List items by room- This will help qualify content damage when structural damage has been done
- Include a basic description
- Serial or ID number
- Assign value (replacement value will be paid-based on current market value-ex. electronics that may have cost you $500 might be replaceable for $200 today)
- Date purchased
- Receipt if available
- Reference photo’s
Spreadsheet systems (I’ve used comprehensively with insurance agents to recover contents lost) can be clunky and its difficult to quickly see photo’s of items with their description. Another drawback is that unless you backup your computer or device, you run the risk of loosing your inventory (photo’s and checklist) along with your contents in case of a disaster!
If a home inventory is something you want help setting up, let me know and I’d be glad to assist!
No matter what system you choose, I hope you will make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and start your home inventory today!