What should I include in a household inventory?

Q:

What should I include in a household inventory?

A:

First of all, let me congratulate you on taking this important risk management step. Any serious loss is sure to be stressful, even when you know you have insurance coverage. When a loss occurs, the last thing you want to do is fumble around trying to list out everything in your house that was damaged. A household inventory can help you get your claims settled faster and help you return to your old way of life (for more advice on getting your insurance payout on time, see How to File a Claim that Gets Paid Sooner).

Creating a household inventory simply means listing everything you have in your house. It might seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of organization, it's actually not that bad – and parents, feel free to rope in your children as well to lighten your load.

The first step is to decide how you want to organize your list. Some people prefer to go by category (appliances, electronics, clothes, and so on) but I personally prefer going room by room. It's a lot easier to do it that way because all of your focus is in one place and you don't have to run all over the house to find and list all your electronic devices. Having a room inventory also comes in very handy if you have a partial loss (if, for example, only your kitchen is damaged).

Now, in each room, you should include everything that you would want to replace if it got lost or damaged. To make sure you have everything, organize each room into categories and list down literally everything within that category. Common categories include:

  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Electronic devices
  • Clothing
  • Tools
  • Office or business supplies

Don't leave anything out. Making a household inventory is a case of more is better.

It is also important to include important documents in your household inventory. Use your household inventory to record information on important legal documents such as:

Long story short, a household inventory should include literally everything you would like to replace if damaged of lost. And don't overlook important documents.

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Written by Jacques Wong
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Jacques grew up around the insurance industry and began actively participating in 2013. Since then, he has gotten a Level 2 license, won an Insurance Council of BC award in 2015 for academic excellence in the insurance licensing courses and educates insurance professionals through PNC Learning.   Full Bio