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You are here : home > Family Finances > House Related > The Importance of a House Inventory List

The Importance of a House Inventory List


Your house is where you spend a lot of time. Learn about what a house inventory list is and why you need to make one.


Your house is virtually a treasure trove of objects. While you may know how many television sets you own, do you know the make or the model number? What about those delightful little curios you purchased during that last family vacation to Kerala? Do you know how much each one is worth? It may not matter that much to you now. However, if something were to happen to your house, would you be able to recall every single item you ever purchased and its value? Probably not. In such a scenario, this is where a house inventory list comes in.


What is a house inventory list?

A house inventory list is, as its name suggests, an inventory of household items. This is a list of all the items present in your house, which you have purchased over the years. A house inventory list is used primarily for insurance purposes. This comprehensive list can act as a safeguard in case any calamity befalls your house. It also helps reduce your stress in such times.


Why is it necessary?

Any calamity or tragedy that befalls your house is an extremely stressful experience. In such times, forcing yourself to remember how much your refrigerator cost or how many dresses your daughter had only adds to the mental anguish. Having a house inventory list ready will at the very least, ensure that you know exactly what you own and how much each item cost. Here are a few instances where a house inventory list can come in handy.

Theft: A burglary is not just a violation of your private space. It can also ruin you financially, especially if you have no idea what was taken. A thief does not always go for the most obvious objects. Electronic items may be expensive but they are also large and cumbersome to carry. Instead, a thief might go for the family silverware or grab your great-grandmother's antique gold chain. Every thief has his own preferences.

Having an inventory list available will let you know exactly what is missing. This way, you can accurately inform the police authorities so that they know what to look for. It will also aid them if an arrest is made since your list can then identify if any of the articles recovered belong to you. However, for this purpose, your list should be extremely detailed and should include parameters like the make, model number, and identifying marks.

Natural disasters: Natural calamities are a fact of life. Your house can be a victim of a disaster such as an earthquake, tsunami, storm, etc. Even if you are warned in advance, there will only be enough time for you to gather a few necessary belongings before you evacuate.

Normally, after the threat has passed, you would still have to wait for some time before the situation is declared safe and you can return. During this period, unscrupulous persons may use the opportunity to break into homes and loot them. Having a house inventory list ensures that you can account for all the articles that are still there as well as assess the damage.


Insurance purposes: Considering how many valuable items are kept in houses nowadays, many people opt for insuring their house and its belongings. A house inventory list can help you determine if you are adequately covered for any loss. It also earns you points with your insurance firm. An inventory list demonstrates that you are thorough and methodical. It also means you are less likely to file a frivolous claim or fraudulently claim possession of an item that never existed.

An inventory list will also ensure that you do not clash with your insurance company over the actual value of your insured items. For example, that wooden statue might be a family heirloom and cost a thousand rupees. Even if it is chipped and scarred a bit, your inventory list displays its value. If you did not have a list, the statue would only be valued at its present amount, which may be less than the original value. If your insurance company has a copy of your inventory list, then they are required to reimburse you for the amount mentioned on it.


Having an inventory list for your house will not bring back those items that are gone. However, it will give you and your family some peace of mind if ever a disaster strikes.

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6 Comments
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Hemant.3 years ago
I should have come across this article earlier as it is a very important fact that is often ignored. But it is better late than never. so i will do it right now.
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keshav.3 years ago
after reading this article, i have prepared a home inventory as now i know how important it is. Thanks for making me understand the importance
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Rajesh.3 years ago
very few of us make a home inventory but is very important. Having house insurance is not everything but maintaining an inventory is also important.
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
Do you think a house inventory list is a necessity? Have you made one for your house? Has there ever been any occasion when you felt you should have made a note of your belongings?
Rashmi
I wish I had read this article sooner. Our home was broken into during the summer, when we were out on vacation. When we came back, we could not really identify what was missing beyond some electronic...
Sinhal
I agree with Rashmi. This has also happened to us. I know that if we had been able to supply the right description of what was missing, the authorities would have taken more of an interest. After that...
Aruna
This sounds like a very boring job. How do you make a list of your belongings? What do you include? It will take forever if I try to make a list like this. I have too many things in my house....
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