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What is a Home Inventory?

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  • Written By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 21 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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For anyone holding renter's or homeowner's insurance, a home inventory is vital. A home inventory is necessary to substantiate any claim that is made — in case of a natural disaster, fire, or robbery, for example. The inventory not only gets you ready in case of an insurance claim, but it also helps you determine if you have the right amount of insurance for your possessions.

A home inventory can be performed by anyone from college students living in dorms to individuals who have paid off their homes. Anyone who might have to file a loss-of-contents claim should have a home inventory. There are three easy ways to perform a home inventory: documented with photographs, with a video camera, or on a computer.

If you want to perform a written home inventory, just get a notebook or a binder, and create a section for each room. Go into each room and record everything in it. Large groups of individual items do not have to be listed individually, but can be listed in categories. For example, each item of clothing doesn't have to be listed, but the basic value and amount of each type should be listed. Any items that are especially valuable should have a receipt or appraisal. List items' descriptions, serial number, model number, and how much you paid for it. Take pictures of each item — including serial or model numbers — and keep the photographs in the notebook with your lists.

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If you want to take your home inventory using a video camera, the task is quite easy! Walk through each room in your house, recording your possessions and dictating any pertinent information about each item. Family members can help if it's easier to have someone else showcase the items. Keep receipts with the recording.

To take your home inventory on a computer, you can either type all the information about the items in your home in a word processing program, or you can purchase a home inventory computer program. These programs make it really easy to perform an inventory, giving you a format for logging your possessions, scanning your receipts, and upload digital photos.

After performing your home inventory, make sure that you make a copy of whatever medium you chose. Give the copy of the notebook, tape, DVD, or CD, and give it to a trusted friend outside the area or put it in a safe deposit box. It is best not to leave the copy with a neighbor, in case of a natural disaster that affects both of your homes. You can even store it online by emailing yourself a copy of the file to your web-based email provider. Just be sure that your email account is secure by keeping the password secret.

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