In her article “Why Home Inventories Aren’t Just for the Rich”,  Katherine Ross defies the misconception that only the upper class need to inventory their belongings. Truthfully, it is more important for the average individual to inventory their home because they need the money more desperately when it comes to be claim time! Read more to learn about specific items that you should inventory, and how to go about creating an inventory.

After a Loss

Approximately 40% of households have no type of inventory and run the risk of a longer claim processing period. Not only will the claim settlement drag out, but you also run the risk of not receiving proper reimbursement for the items that you lost.

Before a Loss

Not only does an inventory protect you after a claim occurs, it helps you to prepare before a claim! How? Creating an inventory allows you to see, on paper or in a video, the list of your most valued items! When calculating the cost of household items like beds, bedding, baby supplies, carpeting, appliances, furniture, dishware, tools, and lifestyle items such as personal electronics, jewelry, perfume, clothing, and shoes, you may have suddenly valued your things at several thousand dollars!

How to Inventory

There are several ways to make a proper inventory, and some are more simple than others. An easy method is to keep a list of items, brands, and copies of purchase receipts together in a safe location (preferably away from your home!). This will allow the insurance company to see what you owned and how much you paid for the big ticket items (appliances, flooring, beds etc…). If you don’t have receipts, be sure to take pictures, note serial numbers, and make note of where the item was purchased. If you do not want to take the time to write everything on paper, use your smart phone and do a thorough video inventory that you can keep in a safe location.

If you want to be extremely thorough about your inventory, you can hire a professional to come to your home and process the inventory. Although this is a pricey option (at least a $500 expense), you will be provided with a detailed list of everything you own! At the time of a claim, this can save you thousands of dollars in extra expenses for items that were overlooked or had vague descriptions. The professional inventory companies will most often provide you with a list and a video that you can keep in a safe place!

Updated Inventory

Although any sort of list helps, it is important to update the inventory regularly. Some suggest that the inventory should be updated annually! Don’t forget to check concealed areas; out of sight out of mind! Items stored in the attic, like seasonal decorations, should be sorted and itemized as well as clothing items and household extras stored in the basement! Also, don’t forget about items like memoirs, portraits, paintings, and even items of sentimental value. Although you may not be able to recreate these times, having been reimbursed for them, you can attempt to replace or recreate them.

The rule to follow is: If you will miss it, list it!

For more information, read Katherine Ross’ article Why Home Inventories Aren’t Just for the Rich!