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Creating Lists of Your Belongings Before Emergencies

An up-to-date personal belongings inventory list is an extremely important document to keep on hand during an emergency or disaster. These home inventories have detailed information about your belongings (particularly large or expensive ones) that can help you expedite an insurance claim. So let’s learn a little bit more about creating a comprehensive personal belongings inventory list.

Why Should I Have a Personal Belongings Inventory List?

In a word, insurance claims. If your home gets broken into, or is destroyed, you will have a current and detailed account of what you own. When you make a claim on your insurance, you will all the information about what was stolen or destroyed and will expedite your claim.

You can also use this information to ensure that your homeowners or renter’s insurance will cover your losses. In the event of home destruction, you aren’t just paying for a new house. You will need new furniture, new clothing, new electronics, etc. Make sure that you’re covered well enough to recover from a disaster of that magnitude.

How Do I Make a Personal Belongings Inventory?

There are several different ways to make a personal belongings inventory list. There are apps and programs, you can simply use spreadsheets or word processors, or you can even write it down! If it’s digital, just make sure it’s been backed up online. And keep any written records in a fire/storm/water-proof lock box.

Digital Home Inventories

The easiest way is using an app. There are apps and programs out there that will walk you through the process, ensuring that you get every piece of information you have about your belongings. Most of these apps will automatically save the content to a cloud server of some sort.

However, you can also use a word processor or spreadsheet program like Google Drive or Microsoft Office. Just make simple lists of everything with as much detail as you can. If you use this method, make sure to have everything backed up!

Written Home Inventories

If you want to get started without any sort of technology or app, then a simple written inventory will be great. Make sure you write neatly, and store your documents in something water and fire proof to prevent their destruction as well.

Tips for Starting Your Personal Belongings Inventory List

A personal belongings inventory list can seem like a really huge endeavor- and it is! But if you take it a little bit at a time, and follow these tips, you’ll end up with a solid inventory in case of emergency.

  • Just Start Somewhere – You’re not going to do this all at once. Just do it in pieces and it’ll come together
  • Try starting with recent purchases – These are going to be the things you have the most information on. It’ll get you started before you move on to older possessions
  • Only go into detail on particularly expensive items – you don’t need to explain the brand name, size, and price of all of your jeans. Just “2 pairs of jeans” works fine.
  • Keep Proof of Value – If you have them, receipts and proof of purchase documents for large items should be kept with this documentation
  • Record Serial Numbers – An easy way to check the rest of the information on an item is to record its serial number. Large appliances will have these on the back or bottom.

While a complete personal belongings inventory can seem like a daunting task, it’s invaluable in the case of an emergency. Don’t worry about doing it all at once, but make sure you get it done so that you can be secure in knowing that your insurance claims will be smoother.