Creating an Effective Home Inventory

Death_to_stock_communicate_hands_1Creating an inventory of your belongings may seem like a hassle, but it’s crucial when it comes to saving you time and money when filing an insurance claim.  A home inventory is essentially a detailed list of all of the valuables in your home and generally includes a description, serial number (if applicable), the purchase date, and estimated value of each item.  In the event of a natural disaster or home break-in, an up-to-date inventory can help expedite the claims process and verify your losses.

Before creating a home inventory, there are a number of tips to keep in mind that will simplify the process and help you create a more effective list:

  1. Plan ahead.  The sooner you create your home inventory list, the better.  The longer you wait to catalogue your belongings, the more work you will have to do later on to catch up.  Getting ahead of your inventory list will ensure that you are prepared in the event that you have to file a claim.
  2. Take photos.  Photographs are a fast and effective way to digitally create an inventory of your valuables.  Including notes along with the pictures can help add much-needed detail that will help when it comes time to file a claim.
  3. Keep paper records.  Keeping a proof of purchase like a bill, receipt, or warranty not only confirms ownership, but it can also help you assign a monetary value to each of your possessions.  This ensures that you are not overpaying for coverage, and, when it’s time to file a claim, the value of your belongings will be properly estimated.
  4. Storage.  Perhaps as important as the creation of a proper home inventory is the storage of the list.  In the event of a fire or other property damage, it is possible that your inventory can get lost or destroyed.  Keeping your list in a safe can help keep it protected.  In addition, consider saving a digital copy of your home inventory as a backup.

It should be noted that highly valuable items like fine art or jewellery may require separate insurance; however, they should still be included in your home inventory.  To keep lists up to date, homeowners should consider reevaluating their inventories once a year or as they increase the value of their homes.

For simple organization, the Insurance Bureau of Canada has developed an Excel spreadsheet to make the process even easier.  You can download the file from our website here.

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