If you ever have to make a claim against your home insurance, your insurance company will need to know the details of what they’re covering. This puts the onus on you as the homeowner to come up with receipts and proof of purchase for the various items in your home. If you don’t construct a complete home inventory, your claim may be adjusted to a set amount that may actually be less than you would receive had you constructed a complete contents inventory of your possessions, so it is definitely worth your time to put it together.
If you want to kick it old school, the Insurance Bureau of Canada has an Excel spreadsheet you can download to help you put together your home inventory, but the websites and apps we list below are far more comprehensive.
What is in Your Home & Policy?
Knowing what’s actually in your home can have important implications for your policy. Many policies only cover up to a certain dollar amount for specific categories, so it’s a good way to find out if you need extra insurance for a higher-end computer, collectibles, photography equipment, jewelry, or anything else that may put you over the usual amount covered by your policy. Jewelry is an especially contentious category; many policies only cover a certain amount, and an item like a pricier engagement ring may use up all of that room.
The best way to create and store a home inventory is online or using a smartphone app. If you store paper receipts and pictures, they may be destroyed if something were to happen to your home. A scanned receipt is often good enough for your insurance company, but you should contact your broker to be sure before ditching all paper receipts. If they require you to keep them on-hand, purchase a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box to store them.
Possibly the best free website available for keeping a home inventory is KnowYourStuff.org. You can create a free account on the site and list your possessions room by room, as well as store pictures and receipts with each item. The site makes it very easy to update your home inventory and keep it current.
There’s an App for Home Inventories
If you prefer to manage your life using your smartphone, below is a list of several apps available to assit you in putting together a comprehensive home inventory. They range in price from free to under $10, and are well worth the small cost. Look for apps that allow you to export your home inventory, so if anything ever happens to your smartphone, you’re covered. You can find these apps by doing a search for “home inventory” from your particular phone’s app store, and we have a few suggestions below for various operating systems.
You should also contact your broker to see if your insurer offers a home inventory app of their own for your smartphone or tablet.
It may be best to use this app since it will have all the information that they’ll need if you find yourself having to make a claim.
Contact Your Broker if You Need Help
When you’re putting together your home inventory, call your broker for assistance. Your particular insurer may have certain requirements for home inventories that you won’t know about unless you ask. They will also be able to tell you the exact dollar amounts for the different categories covered by your policy. Make sure to keep us up-to-date with any new purchases or renovations to your home so we can make the proper changes to your policy.