Are you a pack rat?

Many people keep things they really don't need, and some keep those things too long! No matter your item retention level, it is important to maintain an up-to-date list of the items in your home. If you had a fire in your home, would you be able to remember everything you have accumulated over the years? There are things you can do to help you purchase the correct amount of insurance needed and ultimately, help you get your insurance claim settled faster.

We have provided a simple document for you to keep track of your home inventory. Download this Home Inventory Excel file or print a PDF and start preparing! Take one room at a time and make a list of the items in the room. Describe each item, brand and serial/model number (if applicable). Also include the price you paid for the item. If you have sales receipts, purchase contracts, and/or appraisals, including those will only benefit you.

The individual list is great, but pictures are good too! You can take photos of rooms and important items in that room. On the back of those photos, make a note of the make and where you bought it. Another option to the list is to videotape your items. Simply walk through your home and describe the contents as you record them.

If you have been in your house for many years, you may think this is a daunting task. However, do what you can. It is better to have an incomplete inventory than nothing at all. Start with your recent purchases and then try to remember what you can about some of your older possessions.

Do you have any valuable jewelry, art work or collectibles? The value may have increased since you received them. Make sure you check with your local agent to be sure you are insured adequately.

After you have completed your list, no matter the technique used, you will want to store it properly. Keep the inventory log with any receipts in your safety deposit box or at a relative's home. This way, if your home is damaged, you will be sure to have something to give your insurance representative. As you make new purchases, be sure to update your lists!