What would you do if something terrible happens and you lose everything in an instant?
When your insurance company asks for a list of all your lost belongings, will you be able to remember everything? Do you know how old your TV is or how much you paid for it? What brand was your vacuum? Which jewelry did you inherit from your great-aunt Ida?
Creating a list of all of your belongings from memory would be difficult at any time. Creating a list when you’re dealing with a tragedy is nearly impossible.
Do your future self a favor and create a home inventory.
What’s a home inventory, anyway?
At its most basic, it’s photos and a list of what you own. For your more valuable items, you could include receipts, appraisals, or model numbers, too.
How to create a home inventory:
Step 1: Take photos of each room in your home.
Work your way around each room, taking photos of artwork, book shelves, and cabinets. Don’t forget to open drawers and closet doors and take photos in there, as well.
For large and more expensive items—like furniture, tools, and electronics—take a picture of the product’s serial number as well.
Step 2: Write a brief description of each item.
Note any identifying marks like dents or scratches. Include the approximate age of the item and how much you paid for it.
TIP: Try to group similar items together when taking pictures. For instance, lay all your jewelry out on a table and take a couple of pictures. Don’t forget to include these items on your list with their age and price. Take pictures of any receipts or appraisals you may have as well.
Where do I save it?
The NAIC’s free myHOME Scr.APP.book downloadable app lets you quickly photograph and capture descriptions of your possessions room by room, then store your inventory electronically for safekeeping. The app is available for Android devices.
Another option is to save your list and photos wherever you save your most important files, like family photos and tax files. Google, Amazon, Box, and Dropbox are good places to start comparing.