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You never know when a disaster may strike—but you can be prepared with a home inventory.
A home inventory can help you
There are many ways to create a home inventory. It may seem hard at first to record information about everything you have in your house, but don’t let that put you off. First, decide on a way to make an inventory that works for you. You can do it room by room, category by category (furniture, electronics, etc.), from newest items to oldest or from most expensive purchases to less expensive ones.
There are different ways to making your list. You can write everything down in a notebook, for example. Or you can take pictures, writing information on the back of the photos or put information on your computer. If you have a video camera, you can walk through your house filming and describing the contents at the same time. If you have a personal computer, you can access free online software that makes creating and keeping a home inventory easy.
Keep receipts when they are available and note the cost for the item, when you bought it and other information about the make and model.
Expensive items like jewelry and art work may need to be insured separately. Ask your insurance agent whether you need a floater for your homeowners policy.
Store a copy of your inventory in a safe place outside of you home—with a friend or in a safe deposit box. (If your inventory is electronic, store it on a disk.) That way you’ll be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. Also, whenever you make a significant purchase, remember to add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.
In some case, items below are listed by the room in which they are most likely to be found. In other cases, they are grouped together by category. For many items like books, CDs, sheets or pots and pans, you can make a general estimate of how many you have and their estimated value.
Home Inventory: You can refer to the following lists to help create your inventories. Write a brief description of the item including when and where it was bough and its make or model number.
Collections (coin, stamp, etc.)
Entertainment center/wall units
Piano/other musical instruments
Coffee makers/other small appliances
Hair dryer/other electrical appliances
Wheelbarrow/other garden tools and supplies
Outdoor cooking equipment
It’s also important to keep a record of legal documents, such as birth certificates and passports, and financial documents, such as bank accounts and insurance policies. You can also use your home inventory to record information about these papers. Note insurance policy and bank and investment account numbers along with and insurance policy contact information. For more tips, go to the Federal Citizen Information Center’s “Consumer Focus: Preparing Your Household Records.”
Wills, living wills and powers of attorney
Marriage certificates/divorce decrees
Social security cards
Credit car information
Bank information (account numbers, statements, etc.)
Retirement and pension account information
Home improvement records warranties
Reviewed and Approved by:
Federal Citizen Information Center
National Consumers League
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, USDA