Protect Your Home, Inventory Your Possessions (and win a digital camera!)

As homeowners, we’re faced with concerns all the time — constantly fixing and updating, dealing with unexpected problems (like when my own home flooded 2 weeks ago), and really just protecting our investments and the possessions inside.

However, I recently found out about an interesting concept I had never heard of before: doing a home inventory. Makes sense, right? We’re supposed to inventory our homes or apartments (renters, you need to protect your possessions too!) in the case that something terrible happens and we need to get insurance to reimburse us for these items. But honestly, no one ever told me about this! And according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), I’m not alone. Research suggests 48 percent of consumers do not have an inventory of their possessions! Eek!

Anyway, NAIC reached out to me about some pretty useful information they’ve created — 8 Steps to Conducting a Home Inventory — and I wanted to pass them on to you so that we can all be a little wiser…

  1. Make a list of possessions, including ‘celebration’ purchases such as jewelry and fine art. Think about family heirlooms, collections and furniture. Also consider items related to everyday leisure time, from flat-screen televisions to custom guitars.
  2. Take note of commonplace items such as toys, CDs, and clothing. And don’t forget items you rarely use such as holiday decorations, sports equipment, tools and high-ticket items kept outside your home such as landscape art and swing sets.
  3. Attach copies of original sales receipts and/or appraisal documents to your inventory. Be sure to note model and serial numbers.
  4. Group your possessions into logical categories, i.e., by hobby, by room in your home.
  5. Carefully photograph or videotape each item and document a brief description including age, purchase price and estimated current value.
  6. Remember to open drawers and closets to document what’s inside.
  7. Store your home inventory and related documents in a safe, easily accessible place such as 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.
  8. Review and update your inventory annually and whenever you make a significant purchase.

I know, I know. It seems like a lot of work! However, the good people of NAIC have also created an iPhone App and a Home Inventory Checklist to help you get started.

Don’t have an iPhone? Well then I guess you’re going to need a camera, right? Good thing my friends at NAIC have also decided to give away a Kodak Easyshare C122 to one lucky Plunge Project reader so that he/she can inventory their home or apartment!

There are a few ways to enter. Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment on this post about your most prized possession that you will be sure to add to your home inventory.
  2. Like NAIC on Facebook and then leave a comment on here letting me know.
  3. Tweet the following – I entered to win a digital camera from NAIC & @PlungeProject! http://bit.ly/fbZOpV - then come back here and leave a comment letting me know.

(All entries must be a separate comment!)

Then, on March 25 at 5pm EDT, I’ll use a random number generator to choose the winner.

Good luck!

About Nicole Denton

With a love of planning just about anything — from her own wedding, to bridal and baby showers, to dinner parties, and more – Nicole is the Plunge Project’s founder and former editor-in-chief. A New Jersey native, Nicole has called Chandler, Arizona home since 2013, where she currently lives with her husband Michael; two pit bulls, Shelby and Link; and cat, Kity Perry. A University of Tennessee graduate, Nicole has a bachelors in communications and a career at a rapidly-growing digital marketing firm.

17 Comments on Protect Your Home, Inventory Your Possessions (and win a digital camera!)

  1. Dana
    March 14, 2011 at 10:46 am (4 years ago)

    My most prized possessions are my computer, ipod, cell phone and digital camera. Electronics are always the most expensive, not to mention, they hold the most important stuff in our lives. If they were to get damaged or stolen, it’d be a good idea to keep these possessions kept track of through home inventory. Luckily, my renter’s insurance covers these types of things already :)

    Reply
  2. lizzie
    March 14, 2011 at 11:46 am (4 years ago)

    great post, nicole. isaiah got broken into almost two years ago now and he didn’t have any inventory of what he had at all…it’s tough…he’s lucky he had boxes for all of his electronic equipment and what not…but it was hard to even know what was taken without a list of what he had to begin with! he had/we have renter’s insurance, but he got audited, investigated and everything to prove he ever owned those things since he didn’t keep receipts or have an inventory put together!

    my most prized possessions are our iMac and boxes of photos…Between those two things, almost all of our memories are stored and what not.

    Reply
    • Nicole
      March 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm (4 years ago)

      Lizzie,

      Thanks for the example! I really never would have thought to inventory everything until NAIC reached out to me. When we had renter’s insurance, we took photos of how our apartment was laid out (especially of the TV area since our most expensive items were there), but I’m definitely think we need to use NAIC’s checklist and create a master inventory. You never know what may happen!

      Reply
  3. Amy Lustig
    March 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm (4 years ago)

    This is really helpful. My fiance and I just moved in together and haven’t taken inventory of what we have. My most prized possession is my engagement ring :) We will certainly take note of that!

    Reply
  4. Amy Lustig
    March 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm (4 years ago)

    I liked National Association of Insurance Commissioners on FB!
    Amy Lustig

    Reply
  5. Amy Lustig
    March 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm (4 years ago)

    I also tweeted!
    @Sugaraim2

    Reply
  6. Kfloveinme
    March 15, 2011 at 12:05 am (4 years ago)

    Awesome tips! My most prized possession is my engagement ring and computer. I’m pretty there’s others but those are my top 2.

    Reply
  7. Kfloveinme
    March 15, 2011 at 12:05 am (4 years ago)

    I liked NAIC on Facebook…Kenya G.

    Reply
  8. Kfloveinme
    March 15, 2011 at 12:11 am (4 years ago)

    I tweeted @mskenyaf

    Reply
  9. KHBride
    March 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm (4 years ago)

    My most prized material possession is probably my labtop and cell phone. I’m a grad student, so aside from all my music and pics, all my data and research are on my computer. My iPhone is like a life line too…my camera, my alarm clock, my email, everything.

    Reply
  10. Dede de Percin
    March 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm (4 years ago)

    My most prized possession is my cat. Priceless.

    But of stuff that has value (but is not replaceable) I would choose a few pieces of inherited jewlry and art. The old family photographs can’t really be valued, or replaced. But I have *lot* of outdoor gear – 3 bikes, 3 snowboards, 3 kayaks…..

    Its interesting that folks choose electronics, because those are the most easy to back up and replace. Its annoying, but relatively easy, to reload new computer and phones with stored data.

    Reply
  11. Kathy
    March 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm (4 years ago)

    I’d have to say that my most prized possessions are my Mother’s one-of-a-kind paintings. She’s captured so many beautiful scenes and memories from my childhood. I wouldn’t even know where to start to put a monetary value on them.

    Reply
  12. Amber Prince
    March 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm (4 years ago)

    Great post! One of my most valuable possession would be the samurai sword that was presented to my grandfather by a Japanese family he assisted after WWII. And yes you are so correct, we all need to have a comprehensive inventory done. Would you be able to remember everything you own if disaster struck your home? That is exactly why I started my business Colorado Inventory Specialists serving the Western Slope and resort communities of Colorado. We compile a comprehensive photo and video inventory of the contents of your home and present to you in the format most preferred by insurance adjustors and law enforcement.

    Reply
  13. Amber Prince
    March 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm (4 years ago)

    I liked NAIC on Facebook…

    Reply
  14. Deanna
    March 17, 2011 at 10:46 pm (4 years ago)

    My most prized possessions are the family photo albums. I should probably back up all of the pictures onto discs . . . .
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Reply
  15. amber Prince
    March 18, 2011 at 11:18 am (4 years ago)

    I tweeted ! :)

    Reply
  16. Tej Kohli
    March 13, 2014 at 2:32 am (6 months ago)

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    Reply

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