How to do an inventory for home insurance

Having home insurance is one of those important costs you need to budget for in homeownership. But when it comes time to invest in home insurance or make a claim on your insurance, it’s really important to understand the value of your possessions. This is why creating a detailed inventory of the things in your home, is a task you should take seriously.

A thorough inventory of your home’s contents and the associated value of the contents will help you and your insurance representative confirm adequate coverage. If you need to make a claim, your home inventory will help you receive proper compensation. During spring cleaning as well as before a move are ideal times to prepare or update your home inventory list. When you increase the value of your home through a renovation or purchase expensive furniture, art, jewellery or other valuable items, notify your insurance professional. [Insurance Bureau of Canada]

Here are some tips for valuing your possessions: 

  • Keep receipts for any possessions of worthwhile value.
  • In addition to receipts, keep warranties and manuals for your more valuable possessions (these can serve as proof of ownership in the future as well).
  • It’s a good idea to take photos or video evidence of your most valuable possessions.
  • Keep receipts and your personal inventory in a safe place (like a safe or safety deposit box), and review the information each year. The value of most items changes over time so you’ll want to make adjustments on a yearly basis.
  • Review your inventory every year, and when you make major purchases.
  • Take photos or videos of your most valuable possessions.

Here are some tips for taking an inventory: 

  • Breakdown your inventory by room: living room, master bedroom, etc.
  • For each possession, list: how many, description, cost to replace and the serial model number.
  • List all possessions of worthwhile value in each room. For example, in the living room list everything from electronics, decor items, paintings/art, DVDs, furniture, etc.

Here is a sample inventory list for your living room: 

  • Blu-Ray/DVD players
  • TV
  • Satellite
  • Books
  • Bookshelves
  • CDs/MP3/iPod
  • DVDs/Blu-Rays
  • Home theatre: speakers, etc.
  • Lamps
  • Mirrors
  • Musical instruments
  • Paintings/art
  • Furniture
  • Telephone
  • Video game console
  • Video games

If you’re looking for a comprehensive checklist that you can print off and use for your own inventory, you can download one here from the Insurance Bureau of Canada.