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What’s a Home Inventory, and Why Do I Need One?


What if you were asked to make a list of everything inside your home from memory? Chances are, you’d end up forgetting a thing or two… right?

Well, if you ever have to file a homeowners insurance claim after a fire or major disaster, you could be asked to do just that. That’s why you need a home inventory.

A home inventory is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a list of all your personal possessions, along with their estimated value. And it’s a great way to help protect the contents of your home.

Read more: How Much Does Home Insurance Cost?

Estimating the replacement cost of walls, doors and windows is a pretty straightforward task. But even though the items inside your home are covered, it can be harder to document the value of that baseball card collection or your favorite pair of shoes.

It takes some time and effort, but there are several reasons why a home inventory can give you peace of mind.

Why It Helps to Have a Home Inventory

  • Choosing the right coverage: The worst time to find out you don’t have enough insurance coverage is after a loss. Having an accurate list of all your possessions is a helpful start when you and your insurance agent decide how much insurance coverage you need. After all, you have to know the value of your items to insure them properly.

    Related: 6 Reasons You’ll Love Having an Insurance Agent

  • Filing a claim faster: When disaster strikes, it can be difficult to remember everything in your home that was lost or damaged. But if you have a home inventory, your work is already done. So you can spend your time on what matters most – getting your life back on track.
  • Applying for financial aid: After a disaster, you may qualify for certain tax breaks or disaster assistance. But without a list of your belongings, it will be difficult to demonstrate your financial losses. A home inventory will make the process of proving what you’ve lost much easier. So making one list now can save you from piles of unnecessary paperwork later.

How to start your home inventory

Creating a record of everything in your home probably sounds daunting. But there’s no need to get overwhelmed. Before you start digging through those drawers and cabinets, follow these tips to make creating your home inventory more manageable:

  • Choose a starting point. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to think of every item in your house at once. Instead, try starting with your most valuable items, or work through your house one room at a time.
  • Take pictures or video. Capturing pictures of each item or recording a video of an entire room is a great way to document your items. Be sure to label your photos with any additional information and narrate your video to describe the contents as you record.
  • Use an app. There are plenty of mobile apps designed to create a room-by-room record of your home inventory. Some have different features that allow you to take pictures, enter comments and backup all your information to the cloud. Sortly, Memento Database and Nest Egg are a few popular apps for homes and businesses.
  • Categorize clothing. Unless they’re especially valuable, there’s no need to document every T-shirt or pair of pants. Instead, write down “10 pairs of jeans,” and tally your clothing by categories.
  • Keep your receipts. Having documentation of your purchases, like a receipt or purchase order, helps provide an accurate value of their replacement cost.
  • Record serial numbers. Writing down the serial numbers of your electronics and major appliances are a great reference for insurers.

Erie Insurance wants you to sleep well at night, every night. And for us, that means you can feel secure about your home and the things you’ve worked so hard to get. So relax, knowing we’ve got you, your home and your investment covered.

Want to make sure you’ve got the right coverage for your home – and everything inside it? Contact your local Erie Insurance agent to start the conversation, or request a free homeowners insurance quote online.

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