How to Create a Home Inventory Catalog - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Mar 8, 2023

How to Create a Home Inventory Catalog

From Designer Clothes to Furniture and Electronics, Use Our Guide to Learn Why and How You Should Be Cataloging Your Valuable Possessions!


Although it may seem tedious, keeping an inventory of your possessions is an important part of ensuring your homeowners insurance is keeping you thoroughly covered. According to ISO, in 2018, 5.7 percent of insured homes had a claim. Property damage, including theft, accounted for 98.1 percent of those claims. However, in the past nine years, only half of homeowners were said to have catalogued their possessions. With the exception of natural disasters, the national homeowners claim amount averaged about $8,772. Taking into consideration that your computer alone could potentially constitute $2,000 of that, what does that mean for the rest of your belongings?

Why Catalog Your Valuables?

Aside from the added benefit of finding things you forgot you already had, creating an inventory of your possessions is the best way to help prove what you own, should there be a loss. It’s also a good way to find out what items might need additional valued item insurance. Having proof of your possessions may also speed up the claim process in the event of theft or damage to your property.


Creating Visual Evidence

Doing a walk-through of your home on video is an easy way to create your inventory. It’s important to clearly narrate what’s in frame as you go through your home, and be sure there’s a clear view of everything you’re listing. It’s important to remember to go through your garage, as well as any other structures on your property that your insurance covers.


You might consider taking individual photos instead of taking video. In this case, it’s best to take photos that are clear and aren’t cropped in a way that obscures the item or its location in the home. Your photos or videos don’t need to be professionally taken with expensive equipment, most smartphone cameras are high quality and should take adequate photos or video.


Having Written Documentation

Having a written list of everything you have on video or in photos is an essential addition to your catalogue. You can use our convenient home inventory spreadsheet to help keep track of your belongings by including model numbers, serial numbers, and the price of the item when you purchased it. You may also use an estimated current value if you don’t remember the original purchase price, however it’s best to keep receipts for new items when possible. Be sure to have valuables like antiques, one-of-a-kinds, family heirlooms, expensive artwork, or fine jewelry appraised. You’ll want to check with your insurance agent for any limits on your policy, and discuss the possibility of adding valuable items, such as jewelry, to your homeowners or renters policy.


Preserving Your Home Inventory

Now that you’ve created your inventory, you’ll want to make sure it’s safe and accessible. If you created that catalogue on paper, you’ll want to keep it in a fireproof safe or in a safety deposit box. You might also consider asking your insurance agent to keep a copy in their office to ensure it isn’t destroyed by a fire or flood in your home. We recommend that you keep a digital backup of your files as well. Uploading your catalogue online to a cloud based server, or even emailing the document to yourself are viable ways to ensure that an electronic copy of your records are available when needed.


Essential Tips for Cataloging   

  • Be sure to update your inventory with additional items as you make new purchases.
  • Don’t forget to check out-of-sight places like your attic or shed for any valuables you may not see or think about every day. 
  • Include your regular “day-to-day” items as well. Things like your laptop, television, engagement ring, couch, and silverware should all be listed in detail. 
  • Include smaller appliances and sporting equipment. Everything from hockey gear to an elliptical machine should be recorded.

  • Understand that valuables are not limited to things like your grandmother’s Tiffany chandelier or Austrian tea crystal. Belongings like instruments, jewelry and art should all be appraised.
  • You should catalogue your clothing, but don’t worry about explicit detail. A general idea is fine when listing clothing unless it’s a higher-priced item.

For Example:

5 pairs of Levi Jeans

2 pairs Converse Sneakers

1 Leather Jacket (mid-range)

1 $7,000 Custom Gucci 3-Piece Suit


Even though this can be a lengthy process, it’s important to make sure your belongings are well documented in the event of disaster or theft . This is also a useful exercise in understanding and identifying which items are most important to your lifestyle and your home. When completed, be sure to check with your insurance agent to confirm what will and won’t be covered under your homeowners insurance and update coverage as needed!