An inventory is a checklist that is used as a safeguard by homeowners for insurance purposes. In the event of a loss or damage to the contents of a property, the amount received from the insurance company will be influenced by what has been included in the checklist. It is therefore useful to understand fully the extent of cover the contents insurance provides you and to make provision for extra cover for more valuable items.
Go through all the rooms using a floor to ceiling method to ensure you list everything of importance and value in all areas of the house. Taking photographs or having a video camera as you do this room-by-room checklist also provides visual evidence, which further validates the accuracy of the checklist.
List items that are expensive or of sentimental value like jewelery, antiques, collectibles, artwork or family heirlooms and include details like the date when the item was purchased, receipts, and other distinguishing marks that give them added authenticity. Take photographs of the items in case the need arises to replace or repair them.
Once all the interior of the house is checked, including cupboards and other storage areas move to the garden areas for further checks. Outdoor items kept in the garage, or in the garden area which are of value to you, should also be included in the inventory. These can be your tools, bicycles, garden maintenance equipment or other items like garden furniture that are stored in the garage for seasonal use. Notify the insurance company of any personal valuables that have been stored away from the home that you are including in the inventory.
Electronic equipment in the home like computers, laptops, televisions, stereos and other surveillance devices like closed circuit television (CCTV) or burglar alarms should also be listed. CDs, videos or books of which you might have a larger quantity can be counted and put on the list as a “lot”. Also, include in the inventory household items like furniture, furnishings like curtains, linens or expensive carpets, kitchen utensils and other household appliances. Note down the make and model of each appliance using warranties and attach copies of invoices, if you have any, that show their price and date of purchase.
Once you have a complete checklist, which should include supporting information like photographs and receipts, put all the information on an Excel sheet or on a home inventory form. This can be downloaded from the internet. Do not forget to keep a back up copy offsite in case your laptop or computer crashes.
Hiring a home inventory company to prepare a checklist is useful for very large houses, people who are busy, and do not have the time to prepare a detailed checklist. These companies employ specialists who can do the listing for you accurately and professionally.
It is also a good idea to have regular valuations done on your contents to keep the information on your home inventory checklist updated.