Learn how to make an inventory of your personal property

No one likes to think about experiencing a household disaster, but taking stock of the items you own is wise protection. Compiling an inventory of your home now can save precious time and frustration later.

You can protect yourself and your belongings by creating a personal property inventory list. This list provides you with a record of insurance coverage and valuable personal items so that if anything is lost, stolen, or destroyed, you will have readily available information for the police and for filing an insurance claim. The inventory list also will help establish proof of ownership in the event something of yours is stolen and recovered by police.

Creating your personal property inventory list

When compiling your personal property inventory list, be sure to include the following:

  • A list of all your big-ticket items with pertinent facts and descriptions:  Include the size, condition, quality, appearance, and any other important facts about the item. This will help in determining a replacement cost for your belongings.
  • Receipts:  Attaching receipts of your big-ticket items is important for documenting where you bought the item and how much you paid for it.
  • Videotape and/or photos: Videos and photos are important because they give details that written descriptions cannot. They document the quality, appearance, and size of your belongings.
  • Current appraisals:  Appraisals of your big-ticket items will help in determining how much your possessions are worth. For example, expensive jewelry and antiques will need to be appraised so you know the approximate value of the item.
  • Serial and model numbers:  Keeping a record of your serial and model numbers allows for easy identification of your items. If your belongings are stolen and later recovered, having the serial and model numbers will help identify your belongings.
  • Current insurance coverage: Be aware of what your current home policy covers. If you have replacement cost coverage—meaning the insured items will either be repaired to the same condition as before or replaced with new ones of like kind and quality—having documentation of what your insurance will cover will be helpful if you need to file a claim.

Download the Personal Property Home Inventory worksheet.

Safekeeping your personal property inventory

Make several copies of your personal property inventory. Having only one copy in your home won't do you any good if your house is destroyed by a fire or tornado. Keep one copy for yourself and leave another copy with a family member, neighbor, or at some other location—such as a safe deposit box—for safekeeping.

Another option to consider is a storage and back-up Web site such as Dropbox.com or Mozy.com. These sites provide free online backup of important files. Scanning your important documents and photos and storing the electronic copies either in your e-mail account, an online back-up Web site, or on a CD allows you to access your important documents anywhere there's a computer and an Internet connection. 

If you have questions about preparing an inventory of personal property or would like to talk to someone about insurance for your home or auto, please give us a call at 1-800-279-4010.

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