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Home Inventory Tips and Tools

When choosing homeowners insurance, most consumers think more about the value of the home than about their prized possessions inside. When determining coverage needs, it is important to know all the "stuff" in your home that warrants special protection. Insurable items do not only include luxury items like jewelry and art, but also fun purchases that support personal passions. Whether it is gourmet cooking gadgets, designer handbags or high-end electronics, what you invest in personal passions can have a profound impact on your insurance needs.

One of the best ways to make sure your possessions are fully protected is to document them with a home inventory.

There's an App for That

Now, creating a home inventory is easier than ever thanks to myHOME, a new iPhone® and Android® application from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The free myHOME app lets you quickly photograph and capture images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and then stores them electronically for safekeeping. The app organizes information room by room, and even creates a back-up file for e-mail sharing.

Tips: 9 Steps to Complete a Home Inventory

1. Make a list of possessions, including "celebration" purchases such as jewelry and fine art.
2. Think about family heirlooms, collections and furniture. Also consider items related to everyday leisure time, from flat-screen televisions to custom guitars.
3. Take note of commonplace items such as toys, CDs and clothing. And do not forget items you may only use occasionally such as holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools and high-ticket items kept outside your home such as landscape art and swing sets.
4. Attach copies of original sales receipts and/or appraisal documents to your inventory. Be sure to note model and serial numbers.
5. Group your possessions into logical categories, i.e., by hobby, by room in your home.
6. Carefully photograph or videotape each item and document a brief description including age, purchase price and estimated current value.
7. Remember to open drawers and closets to document what's inside.
8. Store your home inventory and related documents in a safe, easily accessible place such as a secured site/file online, a fire-proof box or in a safe deposit box. You may want to share a copy with your insurance provider so he or she can make necessary updates to your coverage.
9. Review and update your inventory annually and whenever you make a significant purchase.

Tools: Get started now.

If you prefer the low-tech way, download our Home Inventory Checklist which provides a room-by-room guide for your home inventory. You can fill it out, update it, and keep it as an on-going record of your possessions.