Protect Your Valuables by Compiling a Household Inventory

Protect Your Valuables by Compiling a Household Inventory

Have you counted your silverware lately? Cataloged your coin collection? Inventoried your attic treasures? If you lost them, would you be able to prove to your insurance company that you actually possessed what you say you owned? Could you prove how much those lost items were worth?

There are lots of ways you could lose some or all of your possessions—flood, fire or other natural disaster, moving or burglary. In attempting to recover your losses, having a comprehensive inventory on hand could be worth many thousands of dollars.

Here are some suggestions for compiling and storing a household inventory.

  • Ask your insurance company for a room-by-room form to help you make your inventory or use a computer software program designed for the same purpose.
  • Do your counting while you’re in the process of spring or fall cleaning or as you move from one home to another.
  • Work in small doses, one room at a time.
  • Be as specific as possible in your listing. Note the date of purchase and the purchase price. Describe the item in detail, including serial number.
  • Some items increase in value over time. Be sure to get updated appraisals on antiques, jewelry and other valuables periodically.
  • If you’ve kept purchase receipts—always a good idea, especially for big-ticket items—keep them with your inventory.
  • To supplement your description, take photographs or a video of your things.
  • Update your inventory at least annually and when you purchase more expensive items.
  • Make a copy of your inventory, keeping one at home and placing the other one in a safe place, perhaps in a safe deposit box or with a relative.


Check with your insurance company about getting replacement-cost coverage if you don’t already have it. Rather than giving you the depreciated value of a lost or damaged item, for a slightly higher premium, replacement-cost coverage will give you the full amount necessary to buy a similar item at current prices.

Also, note the limits on your policy for various types of items. If, for example, you own jewelry worth more than the policy’s limit for jewelry, talk with your agent about picking up a rider policy to cover the full worth.

Powered by HomeActions for Laura S. Rossinow, Broker associate, Keller Williams Realty, Newton, MA