Ways to Generate a household profile

A household inventory provides valuable information for many purposes.

Would you be able to recall everything you owned if your home suddenly burned down or destroyed by a natural disaster? My guess is that this would be a difficult task and especially if you are under stress. One of the most important purposes of a household inventory is to provide proof of ownership for filing insurance claims in the event of loss by fire, flood, theft or other types of disasters. On the other side, it helps you decide how much insurance protection you needed to cover your household furnishings and personal belongs.

From a financial standpoint, it is functional in planning and forecasting replacement needs for furnishings, equipment and clothing. The inventory can also indicate the money value of your possessions for development of net worth statements, which show financial growth.

A household inventory is a collection of pictures and or videos documentation of all your possessions. As part of the inventory, detailed information would be collected on the expensive items. This may include date purchased, cost, warranties, etc.

Once the household inventory is collected, it should be stored in a safe location, protected from any catastrophic destruction of your home. Consider placing the household inventory in a bank safe deposit box, fireproof home safe or a secure online data filing system.

With all the great technology available, creating your household inventory has never been easier. Most cell phones have the capability to video record your property. The most important issue is to make sure that the information recorded is downloaded to a safe place for accessibility when needed. Record your household furnishings and personal items in a systematic way. Inventory one room at a time and record everything in the room. Do not forget to go into closets and take special pictures of the more valuable items. Open drawers and photograph/ video record contents of each drawer. Lastly, record storage areas such as the basement, garage, attic, and storage units. These areas need to be recorded in the same way as the interior rooms of your house. Take pictures of the whole area and open doors to cupboards, closets or storage chests.

When it comes to prize possessions, take extra care in documenting jewelry, furs, paintings, special collections and other valuables. Group small pieces of similar items together and place on a solid-colored rug or cloth. Document the brand name and if the item is extremely valuable, include a member of the family in the picture as proof that the items are really yours.

Once the household inventory had been established, it needs to be updated at least annually. When updating consider the following tips:

· Major purchases need to be added to the inventory immediately

· Small items should be done annually

· Items that you no longer have should be purged from the inventory

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit http://bit.ly/MSUENews. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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