Home Inventory Documenting Checklist

What have you got to lose? In the case of a fire, flood, or burglary, a lot. With this primer you'll be able to create a home inventory quickly and easily using a notebook, a video camera, a digital camera, or a combination of all three. The payoff? Knowing you're completely covered.

In the Living Room

  1. Check Record furniture and note when and where you purchased big-ticket electronic equipment, such as televisions and computers.

    Be very detailed: State when an item was purchased and what a replacement would cost today.

  2. Check Group together smaller items, such as DVDs and CDs.

    Estimate how much you paid and when you bought them.

  3. Check Make note of any artwork.

    Collect any receipts you may have that prove its worth.

In the Bedroom

  1. Check Start with large or valuable items, like furniture.

    Record these pieces individually.

  2. Check Inventory your clothes, shoes, and handbags.

    These should be photographed and listed by type (“10 pairs of pants, 20 blouses,” etc.). Unless your clothes are vintage or designer, you don’t need to list each piece separately.

  3. Check Don’t forget smaller items, such as bras and socks.

    They may seem insignificant, but replacing them can be costly.

  4. Check Expensive jewelry should be recorded individually.

    Appraisal forms for these pieces are crucial and should be kept in your notebook.

In the Kitchen

  1. Check Start with appliances.

    Record the make, model, and serial numbers of your big (dishwasher, refrigerator) and small (coffee maker, toaster) items.

  2. Check Catalog your dishes, flatware, and stemware.

    Estimate how much you paid for them collectively.

In the Laundry Room, Attic, and Basement

  1. Check Check your washer and dryer.

    Write down their makes and model numbers.

  2. Check Record any heirlooms and other valuable items that you may have stored in the basement or attic.

    Look for fine china, silverware, crystal, furniture, or anything else of value that you’ve stowed away.

In the Garage

  1. Check Round up small tools and sports gear.

    You can do a general estimate of their worth.

  2. Check Itemize drills, lawn mowers, and bicycles.

    More valuable items should be recorded separately.

Safeguard Your Inventory

  1. Check Keep your original notebook and pictures in a bank safe-deposit box.

    If you wish, make additional copies to keep at home, if you own a fireproof safe in which to store them.

Consider Having a Backup Copy

  1. Check You might want to entrust a family member or friend with an extra copy of your inventory.

    But don’t give it to someone who lives in your immediate area—your neighbors’ homes, along with yours, could be affected by a major event such as a tornado or flood. Update your home inventory every time you make a big purchase.