Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Home Inventory Checklist

A home inventory checklist records your property, including descriptions, estimated values, and more.

Alani Asis
Written byAlani Asis
Alani Asis
Alani Asis
  • 3 years of content writing

  • Bylines with leading financial publications

Alani is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. She aims to make complex topics more approachable through fun, digestible content.

Featured in

media logomedia logomedia logo
Sara Getman
Edited bySara Getman
Sara Getman
Sara GetmanAssociate Editor

Sara Getman is an Associate Editor at Insurify and has been with the company since 2022. Prior to joining Insurify, Sara completed her undergraduate degree in English Literature at Simmons University in Boston. At Simmons, she was the Editor-in-Chief for Sidelines Magazine (a literary and art publication), and wrote creative non-fiction.

Outside of work, Sara is an avid reader, and loves rock climbing, yoga and crocheting.

Updated June 21, 2024

Why you can trust Insurify: Comparing accurate insurance quotes should never put you at risk of spam. We earn an agent commission only if you buy a policy based on our quotes. Our editorial team follows a rigorous set of editorial standards and operates independently from our insurance partners. Learn more.

Natural disasters, severe weather, fire, theft, and other unexpected events could result in thousands of dollars in personal property losses. That’s why homeowners and renters should create a home inventory checklist to ensure all their items receive coverage after a disaster.

A home inventory is a detailed list of personal property, including estimated values, descriptions, and serial numbers. It’s important to pay special attention to high-value items, such as jewelry and collectibles, because they may require more coverage.

Find Home Insurance

Check quotes from 100+ top insurance companies

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

How to make a home inventory checklist

Making a home inventory list can be daunting. Here are some steps to help get you started:[1]

1. Conduct a home walkthrough

Walk through your house and take videos or pictures of your personal belongings. Ensure you capture important information, including a detailed description of your item, its make and model numbers, and/or serial number. If you’re recording a video, it helps to count items by category, for example, “five pairs of jeans, 10 books, four chairs.”

You’ll want to conduct an inventory of items in your:

  • Living room

  • Dining room

  • Office

  • Kitchen

  • Laundry room

  • Bathrooms

  • Halls, entryways, passageways

  • Bedrooms

  • Attic

  • Basement

  • Garage

2. Keep a paper trail

Take pictures of or store each item’s receipts, statements, appraisals, and invoices in a folder. Doing so helps you determine each item’s replacement cost. This is especially important for high-ticket items, like jewelry, electronics, and designer goods, as these may require special coverages. In addition, note where and when you purchased the item.

3. Record items in a self-storage unit

If you have off-premises coverage in your home or renters insurance policy, items in a separate storage unit may have coverage. Regardless, be sure to inventory items in storage and collect the same information as personal possessions at home. Check your coverage or ask an agent if your policy covers items in a storage unit.

4. Store it properly

If you can, keep all physical documentation in a safebox in a safe place away from your home. This reduces the risk of it sustaining damage in a catastrophe. If you can’t store your documents in another location, consider getting a catastrophe-proof lockbox. It’s also smart to keep physical and digital backups of your files.

5. Gradually build your checklist

Creating an inventory can be overwhelming, but it’s better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing.[1] Pick an easy place to start, and take it one room at a time to ensure thoroughness. Add new items as you purchase them, and store your inventory safely.

Items to include in a home inventory checklist

These are the types of items you want to include in your home inventory checklist:

  • Furniture: List sofas, tables, beds, storage units, desks, dining sets, and outdoor furniture.

  • Appliances: Insurers typically cover appliances not permanently attached to your home under personal property. Include major appliances, like refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, and smaller ones, such as microwaves, coffee makers, and vacuums.

  • Clothing: Record your apparel, focusing on high-value pieces like designer clothing, formal wear, and seasonal gear.

  • Accessories: Note expensive jewelry, purses, furs, and precious metals. You should appraise these items periodically to record their value.

  • Collector’s items: Include collectibles such as antiques, art, and toys in your inventory. Consider appraising these items to get their current value.

  • Electronics: List electronics such as televisions, phones, gaming systems, and computers.

  • Hobbies: Include equipment for hobbies, such as sports gear, musical instruments, photography equipment, and craft materials.

  • Tools and equipment: List all power tools, lawn equipment, and other specialized gear.

  • Personal documents: Store away valuable records like passports, birth certificates, financial documents, and other important government papers.

Why a home inventory checklist is important

A home inventory makes buying the right amount of coverage and proving your losses easier. Here are the main reasons why a home inventory is important:[2]

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/91ba6cf35a/insurify-icons-auto-orange-96x96_045-document.svg

    Accuracy of coverage amount

    A home inventory tells you how much and what coverage you should get, ensuring you purchase an adequate amount of insurance.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/4d03c561b5/declaration-page.svg

    Streamlined claims process

    Thorough documentation helps you remember everything you need to cover after a disaster or loss. This streamlines the claims process, making it quicker and less stressful.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/79b027a857/house-rental-96x96-yellow_050-budget.svg

    Tax and financial assistance purposes

    A home inventory is useful not only for insurance purposes but also to prove eligibility for tax breaks or financial assistance after a catastrophe.

Do insurance companies require a home inventory checklist?

Your insurance company may require a home inventory when you file a claim. Even if it doesn’t, having one is still a good idea to ensure all your items receive coverage after a loss or damage. Ask your insurance agent what they require for a smooth claims process when securing your coverage.

Compare Home Insurance Quotes

Insurify partners with top insurers for real-time quotes

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

What happens if you file a home insurance claim but don’t have a home inventory checklist?

Without a home inventory checklist, you’ll still need to provide proof of loss, such as receipts, statements, pictures, videos, and other evidence. Without a checklist, you risk not receiving coverage for all your items.

Types of home inventory checklists

Here are several methods to create a home inventory. You can utilize one or a combination of these approaches:[1]

  • Digital: Apps offer features such as barcode scanning, photo uploading, and categorizing by room and type to consolidate and streamline your home inventory checklist.[3]

  • Visual: Go into each room and take videos and photos of each item. Be sure to have a written description of those items noted elsewhere.

  • Written: You can also keep a written record of your home inventory, which includes its description, price, and other information. Many insurance companies also have sample inventories you can download or print out.

Where to keep your home inventory checklist

Store your home inventory in a fireproof safety deposit box at the bank or a trusted person’s home. Your safebox should include essential documents like receipts and appraisals. It’s also a good idea to maintain a digital backup on an external drive or a cloud account for digital records in case you can’t access the physical records.[1]

Home inventory checklist FAQs

A home inventory checklist is important for purchasing a policy and filing a claim. Keep reading to learn more about the reason for a checklist and what to include.

  • What is the purpose of a home inventory checklist?

    A home inventory checklist helps you keep track of the things you own and their value. This information helps determine the necessary insurance coverage and the amount of your claim.

  • How do you make an inventory list for your home?

    Record items in your home via app, photo, video, or written record. This should include the item’s description and serial number. You’ll also want to keep an inventory of each item’s receipts, invoices, purchase contracts, or appraisals.

  • What items should you include in a home inventory checklist?

    Include everything you want covered, from furniture to clothing. Be sure to include as much detail as possible, especially with high-value items, as they may require additional coverage.

  • How often should you update your home inventory checklist?

    It depends on how often you make purchases. Be sure to update your inventory at least once a year to account for recent purchases and changes to your possessions.

Sources

  1. III. "How to create a home inventory."
  2. III. "Three reasons to take a home inventory."
  3. Naic.org. "Home Inventory."
Alani Asis
Alani Asis

Alani Asis is a personal finance freelance writer with nearly three years of experience in content creation. She has landed bylines with leading publications and brands like Insider, Fortune, LendingTree, and more. Alani aims to make personal finance approachable through fun, relatable, and digestible content.

Sara Getman
Edited bySara GetmanAssociate Editor
Sara Getman
Sara GetmanAssociate Editor

Sara Getman is an Associate Editor at Insurify and has been with the company since 2022. Prior to joining Insurify, Sara completed her undergraduate degree in English Literature at Simmons University in Boston. At Simmons, she was the Editor-in-Chief for Sidelines Magazine (a literary and art publication), and wrote creative non-fiction.

Outside of work, Sara is an avid reader, and loves rock climbing, yoga and crocheting.

Compare Home Insurance Quotes Instantly

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

Latest Articles

View all