How to Create a Household Inventory List for Insurance

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Aug 09, 2017

If you don't have a household inventory list, you could be taking a big risk. 


Why do you need to keep a household inventory list?

Quite simply, our homes are filled with items that have clear value, either monetarily, like a big-screen TV, or personally, like your grandmother's engagement ring. You may even have special insurance riders on expensive collections or sentimental heirlooms.

What's often surprising, however, is all the little things that add up. The curtains hanging in your living room windows could cost $60, the towels and sheets in your linen closet could easily be $100 or more, and the silverware in your kitchen might be as little as $20, or it could be closer to $100.

The trash bin in your kitchen may only be $30, but the vacuum cleaner, mop, and broom next to it easily add up to over $150, if not much more. And believe it or not, there's another $150 worth of cleaning supplies in the nearby cabinet. When you start adding those "little things" up, the numbers can go up fast. It's easy to see how you could have thousands of dollars' worth of goods in your home that you don't think about until you have to replace them.

Besides the financial impact of loss, there's the simple fact that most of us might not even know what was missing if our homes were broken into or destroyed by fire. Do you know, right now without looking, how many pots and pans are in your kitchen? How many water glasses are in your cabinet? How many pairs of pants you and your family have in your dressers? Can you imagine trying to file a police report and insurance claim without knowing what was stolen?

According to the FBI, the burglary rate in the U.S. has gone down every year for nearly a decade. Still, there were more than 1.2 million burglaries
in 2018 (the last year for which data is available). The National Fire Protection Association reports 363,000 home fires that same year. 

That alone is ample reason to have homeowners or renters insurance, but just having insurance isn't always the end of the road. To be sure your belongings are covered, you need a household inventory list so you can ensure you don't forget anything should you ever need to file a claim. 


5 Tips for Making a Household Inventory List

A list is a much better way to catalog your belongings than trying to remember everything you own. However, grabbing a pen and paper to write down every single item is a daunting task, at best. There is a middle ground, though. Here are a few tips for creating an inventory without getting overwhelmed.

1. Don't try to do it all in one shot
If you try to make a household inventory list in one shot, you'll get overwhelmed and give up. Instead, go room by room. Start with an easy room, like a bathroom, to give yourself momentum. You could even subdivide rooms and make your bedroom and your bedroom closet two different entries.

2. Give yourself a deadline
A deadline is just another way of saying you have a goal. Give yourself one week to complete the inventory. Try to do at least a little every day. Ten minutes working on your list is better than not working on it at all.

3. Enlist help
Turn your inventory project into a game and get your kids to help. Find out who has more in their bedroom: you or them. Whoever has the longest list is the winner and gets an ice cream cone (and, of course, you have to let them win.)

4. Take pictures
Take multiple photos of each room. Open drawers and photograph your silverware, the utility drawer, your shirt drawer, and so on until you've captured everything in your home.

5. Be detailed
It is generally sufficient to note that you have three sets of sheets for each bed or five pairs of jeans or a library of 52 books. You do want more detail when it comes to special items, though. For instance, you'll need a separate entry for that $300 Coach bag. Write down the serial number of your appliances or take a photo of the sales receipt.


3 Apps for Creating Your
Household Inventory List

You can use pen and paper, of course. Just make sure you store your list in a safety deposit box or at a relative's home. These apps work just as well, however, and you can access them from anywhere.

1. Sortly 
Sortly is a free app that helps you create a visually organized list of your valuables. You can store serial numbers, warranty information, and even "links to product manuals." As a bonus, they also have a section where you can track items that you lend out to friends. No more wondering who has your favorite cookbook!

2. Encircle 
Encircle is another free app that allows you to add videos, photos, notes, and sketches to your inventory list. You can also create a PDF or Excel report with ease.

3. Own'it 
Own'it has a unique approach to household inventory list making. You take a photo of your product, product logo, or serial number, and the app automatically fills in the rest of the product information.


Your household inventory list is just the first step in protecting your belongings. Make sure your insurance is up to date and provides the coverage you need. Call your Pekin Insurance agent today to learn more.




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