Tips and Resources

Why fill out a personal property inventory?


In the event of a fire or other disaster, would you be able to remember all your possessions? If you are like most people, it would be very difficult...and you may own much more than you realize.

Your home insurance provides coverage for the contents of your home up to policy limits. But in the event of a covered loss, you are expected to provide a list of all of your personal property that was damaged or stolen, along with its estimated value and age at the time of loss.

An accurate inventory and proof of ownership can make the claim settlement process easier (and faster), verify losses for your income tax return, and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance. 


Getting Started

A good home inventory includes a detailed list of your possessions, including receipts, descriptions, and photos of your home contents. If you’re just setting up a household, starting a home inventory is relatively simple. If you’ve been living in the same house for many years, however, the task of creating a list can seem daunting—but it doesn’t have to be.

• Start now—even if your information is incomplete.

• Begin with recent purchases, then go back tackle your older possessions.

• Pick an easy spot to start. A contained area—like a small kitchen appliance cabinet or a coat closet—is a great place to get started.

• Be specific. Describe each item you record. Note where you bought it, the make and model, what you paid, and any other detail that might help in the event you need to make a claim.

• Record serial numbers, which are usually found on the back or bottom of major appliances and electronic equipment.

• Store sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals with your list.

• Include photographs with your inventory, or store them online, on your computer, and/or your phone. Keep video in a safe place as well. 



Home Inventory Tips

• Scan and store copies of invoices for large items purchased in case proof of ownership is needed.


• Photograph or videotape each room in your home, including inside closets, storage buildings, the attic, and the garage. Open drawers and photograph the contents. Label and date when the photographs or videos were taken.


• Don’t miss items you rarely use, such as holiday decorations, sports equipment, and tools.


• The most overlooked items left off of a home inventory are usually found in the attic or basement because we tend to forget our boxes of “stuff.” To make them easier to inventory, label the outside of each box with a list of the contents, and then record an image of those items.


• Count clothing by general category. For example, “7 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of tennis shoes…” Make note of any items that are especially valuable.


• Don’t forget off-site items. Your belongings kept in a self-storage facility are covered by your home insurance as well.


• Keep a detailed record of antiques, jewelry, and collector’s items. These types of items may have increased in value, so they may need special coverage separate from your standard home insurance policy. With a home policy, your protection for certain high-valued items is limited.


**If you have your home insurance with WEA Member Benefits, call 1-800-279-4030 to make sure you have adequate insurance for high-value items before there is a loss. To protect these assets, you can choose to schedule them on your policy. This gives you additional coverage as well as protection from certain types of accidental loss such as droppage or mysterious disappearance. When you schedule property such as jewelry or musical instruments, you receive coverage up to the amount you specify minus any applicable deductible.


• Back it up. Be sure any photos and/or video you’ve taken of your home are safely backed up using an external hard drive, online service, and/or personal email so you can access it wherever you can log onto a computer. You may also want to scan or take pictures of your home inventory with your smartphone so that it’s backed up digitally. Paper copies—along with applicable receipts and appraisals—should be put in a safe deposit box or at a friend’s or relative’s home.


• Try not to get overwhelmed. Once you’ve started your inventory, keep going even if you can’t get it all done immediately. It’s better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all.


• Continuously update your home inventory as you acquire new items.


Next Steps

Your home inventory is only useful if it’s accurate and accessible so you can provide information to your insurance company in case of fire, theft or other disaster.


After you’ve taken your inventory, learn how much insurance you need to be properly protected.


Let us take a look at your needs and your existing insurance coverage. If you’re already well protected, we’ll tell you! If not, we’ll recommend changes and coach you to be a better insurance consumer. Contact us for a free consultation or schedule an appointment online. 

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Dining Room

Living Room

Family Room

Bedroom #1

Bedroom #2

Bedroom #3

Bedroom #4



Home office/study/library/den





High Value Items

Additional items

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Madison, Wisconsin 53713

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