How to Conduct a Home Inventory

Quick Quiz:

1) Name the brand and model of the television(s) in your house or apartment.
2) How much did your computer cost, and where did you purchase it?
3) What is the serial number on your camera? Could you answer those questions without looking? Now imagine how difficult it would be to come up with this information for all of your belongings while dealing with the stress of a fire, burglary, or natural disaster. In such a case, you may spend countless hours trying to remember everything only to realize what you forgot after your claim has been processed. You might not even be able to produce the required proof for the claim to be accepted. So do it in advance.


  1. Image titled Conduct a Home Inventory Step 1
    Go through your house or apartment one room at a time.
  2. Image titled Conduct a Home Inventory Step 2
    List down each item in the room, including the contents of desks, drawers, closets, etc.
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    Record the following information about each item:
    • Description
    • Brand/Model
    • Serial Number
    • Condition
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    Record information about the value of each item. Depending on whether your insurance company pays claims based on “replacement value” or “current value”, you’ll need to record details such as:
    • Purchase Price
    • Replacement Cost
    • Current Value
    • When/Where purchased
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    Take photographs or videotape to document the existence and condition of the items in your home inventory. Note that some home inventory software programs have a feature to allow you to import your digital photos to store the picture with each item. These programs typically allow you to save your data on a backup disk and/or print a report for safekeeping in a safe-deposit box, your work place, or a friend’s house.
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    Review your home insurance policy - Are you over insured? Under insured? Perhaps for the first time, you can answer this question easily by comparing your policy amount to the total value of your household items.


  • Don’t forget the garage, patio, outside buildings, etc.
  • You might be tempted to skip from one room to the next recording the “high dollar” items only. But, while this is better than nothing, remember that the “little items” can really add up also, and in the event of a disaster, these items might be the most difficult to remember.
  • If you have just moved into an apartment or house, starting your home inventory may be an easy task. This is a great time to begin organizing your home inventory. If you’ve been living in your house for a while, however, you may have a lot of work to do. Now is the time to start! Plan to inventory at least one room in your house this week, and continue one room at a time until you’re done.


  • Remember, if you store your home inventory list in your home, it could be destroyed along with your belongings. Whether your home inventory consists of a written list, diskette, CD-ROM, paper report, photographs, or whatever, be sure to store it in a safe place - preferably in another location such as at your work place, a friend’s house, or in a safe-deposit box. Consider using a home inventory software with electronic backup like Home Manager 2007

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Categories: Insurance