Household inventory

Keep a list of your belongings in a safe location.

Did you get a new TV for Christmas or on Black Friday? How about a new lap top computer or tablet? Did you make any other large purchases for your home in the past year such as a new refrigerator, washer and dryer, or furniture? If so, it is a good time to prepare a household inventory or update your previous inventory.

There are many reasons for having a household inventory. A household inventory is important for insurance purposes, proof of ownership, planning for estate distribution and assessing net worth. You will want to include household furnishings as well as personal belongings. Michigan State University Extension recommends updating your household inventory on a yearly basis.

A good place to start making an inventory is with your camera or video camera or a combination of both. Take pictures of each room and furnishing and valuables. If you can take a picture of the model number or serial number that will make your inventory much more detailed. Then make a list of each item.

Do not forget about valuables such as jewelry that may be hidden out of sight of the camera or video camera. Open closet doors, drawers and other storage locations. Take the camera out to the garage or storage shed and document items found there.

Check your insurance policy or with your insurance company to find out if there are limits in your coverage for items such as computers, electronics, firearms, jewelry and other items. If so, you may need to add additional coverage if your belongings exceed coverage limits.

When you are done with your household inventory, be sure to store the photos or video outside your home in a safe place such with a relative, in a deposit box or safe location where you can retrieve it in case of a fire. 

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