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How To Do A Home Inventory

Having documentation of your personal property can be an invaluable help when it comes to filing an insurance claim.  During such a stressful time, would you be able to remember and list all the items in your living room, your kitchen, your closet? Would you be able to prove these items’ condition or quality?  In fact – are you sure that your personal property is insured to value in the first place?

A home inventory provides you with a complete list of your possessions, along with serial numbers and photographs.  It makes proving what you own, and filing accurate police and insurance reports so much quicker and easier!

You can do a home inventory yourself simply by taking pictures and creating lists or spreadsheets (include information such as brand name, model name or features, serial number, date and place of purchase, and purchase price.)  There are also a number of great free online programs available that guide you through the process step-by-step.

Few people have gotten through a complete inventory of all of their personal possessions.  They start with the best intentions, but the process is much more time consuming than most people expect.

That’s why our suggestion is to start with a quick photo inventory and then move on to a written inventory of your higher value items, or valuable collections of smaller items, and then fill in from there as time permits.

The Everett Police Department’s Block Watch – Operation ID recommends photo-documenting your personal property by
1. Taking an overview picture of a room
2. Zooming in to a particlar area
3. A close-up of the front of the item (i.e. the TV)
4. A close-up of the back of the item
5. A close-up of the serial number on the back

Also, make sure to take multiple photos from several angles in each room, and take photos of opened cabinets and bookcases.

In addition, maintain a file folder or drawer to store all owner’s manuals for any electronics or appliances.  Staple a copy of the receipt for the item on the inside of the manual.  In the event that you need to replace a stolen television, computer or even toaster, the owner’s manual will give you the model number so that the insurance company can find you a new model with comparable features and quality.

It makes sense to store a backup copy of your home inventory off-site – maybe with a trusted friend or family member.  If you are a client of McClain Insurance Services, you may also send us a digital copy of your home inventory, and we’ll simply attach it to your client file.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 425.379.9200 or e-mail

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