Take a Home Inventory

White porcelain teapot on a red shelf

Knowing the contents of your home is more valuable than you think.

You purchase insurance to be ready for anything, but to be truly prepared and fully covered, you need to know what you’re insuring at home. Sure, you could come up with a ballpark estimate of how much the items in your home are worth, but the real number could be a lot higher. That means you may need more coverage than you realize.

Think about your clothes and shoes. Add the cost of your jewelry and coats. These items alone can cost into the thousands of dollars. It’s much less expensive to get enough home coverage to protect your belongings than it is to replace them yourself.

A good way to figure out what you really own is to go from room to room with a video camera. Record the contents of each room in your home, including drawers, shelves and closets. Start in one corner and work your way around. Be sure to take close-up shots to capture all the details.

Narrate while you’re at it. Do you have an original piece of art you bought in Italy or a collection of rare books? Make verbal notes about special items.

It’s important to store the final video file or DVD in a safe place outside your home, such as a safety deposit box, so you can access it if your home gets damaged.

The Insurance Information Institute offers free software that will walk you through the home inventory process and help you document your possessions. Go to KnowYourStuff.org for more information and to download the software. When you visit the site you’ll see there’s even an app for that. You can update your home inventory using your smartphone.

You can also contact your Nationwide agent for more information about property policies and tips for keeping track of your items.

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