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How to Inventory the Contents of Your Home

Should the unfortunate happen and you need to make a claim against your homeowners policy, it’s smart planning to take inventory of the items inside your home. If you have this information readily available, you will be able to share it with an insurance adjuster when you make the insurance claim.

Here’s how to get started with your own home inventory today.

Plan Ahead

Before you begin the process of recording all of the items in your home, spend some time coming up with a plan.
Gather equipment. Decide what equipment you will use for the inventory. The camera on your smartphone should work well. Ideally, a device that will record video, capture audio and take photos is what you need.
Organize your thoughts. You will want to inventory all of the items in each room of your home. That means you need to know what is in each room before you start. If you have any receipts or owner’s manuals, those will be helpful. You also want to check that you can easily and efficiently locate serial numbers. Finally, once your thoughts are organized, you may want to make sure each room is too. That will ensure everything is easy to see in the inventory and you are able to quickly navigate the rooms.
Schedule it. Depending on your schedule, you may want to block out time to inventory your entire home at once. Or it may make more sense for you to do one room a day for several days in a row. Remember, though, this inventory is an important part of keeping your home protected. The sooner it is completed, the better.

Capture Everything

After you have gathered your equipment, located receipts and organized each room, you are ready to begin inventorying your home.
Film it. As you enter a room, film what you see. Imagine that you are taking someone on a tour of the room. Let the camera sweep each side of the room as well as the floor. While you are filming, narrate what the camera is recording. Describe what the items are. Mention brands. Share purchase prices if you recall them or can look them up online. It is especially important to pay attention to any big-ticket items.
Photograph it. You will also want to photograph items in each room. You can capture still images of each portion of the room but the most important things to photograph are the big-ticket items. To do this effectively, you will want to photograph each big-ticket item individually.
In addition to capturing the front of the item, you will also want to photograph serial numbers, logos or brand names, and any other piece of identifying information that will help an insurance adjuster determine exactly how much the item is worth. Additionally, you can photograph any receipts that go along with these items.

Keep Your Inventory List Safe

After you have completed your inventory, you want to make sure you are always able to access it. Keep copies in several locations.
Use the cloud. Now that you have your files on your phone or other device, transfer them to some type of cloud storage. If you are not already familiar with cloud storage, you could start by looking at Google Photos, Amazon Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox. For the size of your files, any of the free cloud storage options should work. Whatever you choose, commit your login and password to memory so you can easily access your files.
Keep a hard copy. Having the videos and photographs on your phone is not enough. In case your device breaks or is stolen, you will want a second copy. Even storing it on your computer or laptop is not enough in the event of a fire or other disaster in your home. Instead, transfer the files to a thumb drive or an external hard drive. Store this in a fireproof lockbox or keep a copy in a safe deposit box at the bank.

Preparation Is Key

No one wants to go through the heartbreak of replacing their possessions in the event of a disaster or emergency. Still, should something like that happen to you, it is best to be prepared. Most people think having homeowners insurance is enough. However, in order for insurance adjusters to process your claim accurately, creating an inventory of your home is an essential process for added peace of mind.
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