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Make an inventory of your personal property now, save frustration later

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Mark Blog PhotoNo one likes to think about experiencing a household disaster, but taking stock of the items you own is wise protection. You likely own more than you realize. Taking time to record your personal property will save you time, money and frustration should any loss occur.

A personal property inventory list provides you with a record of insurance coverage and valuable personal items so that if anything is lost, stolen, or destroyed, you will have readily available information for the police and for filing an insurance claim. The inventory list also will help establish proof of ownership in the event something of yours is stolen and recovered by police.

On our website you'll find a Personal Property Home Inventory worksheet that takes you room by room for a thorough accounting of your belongings. Also be sure to include the following:

  • A list of all your big-ticket items including the size, condition, quality, appearance, and any other important facts about the item to help determine replacement cost.
  • Receipts for your big-ticket items.
  • Videotape and/or photos to document the quality, appearance, and size of your belongings.
  • Appraisals of your big-ticket items to help in determining how much your possessions are worth.
  • A record of your serial and model numbers to easily identify your items.

Be aware of what your current home policy covers. If you have replacement cost coverage—meaning the insured items will either be repaired to the same condition as before or replaced with new ones of like kind and quality—having documentation of what your insurance will cover will be helpful if you need to file a claim.

When you've finished, make several copies of your personal property inventory. Having only one copy in your home won't do you any good if your house is destroyed by a fire or tornado. Keep one copy for yourself and leave another copy with a family member, neighbor, or at some other location, such as a safe deposit box.

Another option to consider is a storage and back-up Web site such as or These sites provide free online backup of important files. Scanning your important documents and photos and storing the electronic copies either in your e-mail account, an online back-up Web site, or on a CD allows you to access your important documents anywhere there's a computer and an Internet connection. 

If you have questions about preparing an inventory of personal property or would like to talk to someone about insurance for your home or auto, please give us a call at 1-800-279-4010.

Download the Personal Property Home Inventory worksheet.

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant