Furniture and treasures fill your home. And when it comes to your insurance, it’s important to keep track of your home inventory. A list is a good start, but it’s best to have detailed information of what you own in case your things are destroyed or missing.
So make a video! It’s a great way to show your possessions for your homeowners insurance. Otherwise you might have to spend time after a natural disaster trying to remember every single item in your house after it’s gone, which is a very difficult task.
A home inventory video establishes a visual record of both your home and the items inside. It also helps to document the condition of your house in case of damage from a fire or flood. Combined with a list and photographs, a home inventory video can be a valuable resource in case you need to make a claim.
How to get started
First of all, talk to your insurance company before you start. They may have suggestions or a starter checklist to help you count your possessions. There are also computer programs and apps to help you categorize your valuable items and create your home inventory video.
Then, make a list of the rooms in your home. And include the hallways, the attic, the garage and the basement as well. Maybe you store valuable but little used items there, such as collectibles, antiques and holiday decorations.
Also, go outside if you have a garden, porch, pool or a patio. Any furniture you keep out there is included in your homeowners insurance and should be documented for your home inventory.
Taking stock as a homeowner
Going through every room in your home can be intimidating. But while it may seem like a lot of work, it can be broken up into smaller steps.
First, start by listing off the rooms and areas within your house on a document. Use that to create a spreadsheet for each room. On the spreadsheet, list the name of the item, the model/serial number, when and where you bought it and its purchase price. This is all important information in case you need to make a claim and replace something that has been lost.
When you document the items in a room, start with big pieces of furniture, such as closets, dressers and large electronics. Then move to pictures and decorations on the walls, as well as bookshelves. Open drawers and closets to count the items inside, especially clothes, shoes and accessories. Even a small wardrobe can be expensive to replace once you add up the prices of garments.
As always, check with your homeowners insurance and see what is covered in your home. You may need a rider on your policy for certain possessions.
Filming your home inventory video
A video camera or smart phone will get the job done. And while you’re taking your home inventory video, bring a friend or family member along to take pictures as well. More documentation is better for your homeowners insurance.
Turn on your lights as you walk through your home. A video needs to be well lit. Bring a flashlight for those dark corners, or use the light on your smartphone if you have one.
Open all drawers, closets and cabinets as you go along. Describe each item as you film it. You don’t have to go into too much detail though. For example, just say you have a set of 12 forks and spoons instead of picking up each one.
However, take more time to describe a piece if it is particularly valuable or unusual. Pick it up while you’re filming and hold it close to the camera.
When you’re done filming
Store your home inventory video in safe place – back it up, keep a copy, upload it to the cloud or keep on an external hard drive. Or keep a physical copy at a friend or relative’s house.
And save your receipts for expensive items! Make copies to keep with your video, and save the originals in a safety deposit box.
If you make a big purchase, add it to your home inventory while your memory is still fresh. Alternatively, set a reminder in your personal calendar to update your list twice a year or so.
If you move to another home, you may want to film another version of your video, especially if you have to buy new furniture.
Have you made a home inventory video? Has it helped you? Please let us know in the comments!
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