In All, Military Life
The Importance of a Home Inventory

For a military family it is especially important that you stay organized. There are many tips and tricks out there to make a PCS move easier on you. One of those tips is to create a home inventory. Creating a home inventory is extremely important for a PCS move. An inventory will help to identify anything that is missing when you arrive at your new duty station. A home inventory can also come in extremely handy if you ever have to turn in a claim on your home or renter insurance for theft or damage to your belongings due to a covered claim. 

Imagine going away for the weekend to the beach, or the mountains, or an island. Life is great. You have no cares in the world. You return home only to find the door has been kicked in and many of your valuable items were stolen. You instantly come back to earth. In an instant you go from carefree attitude still thinking about your vacation to a stressful situation where you don’t know which end is up. Now what? First you call the police, then your insurance company. 

At some point you will be asked for a list of what was taken. Easy, right? Well take it from someone who has been in a similar situation, it is anything but easy. A few years ago I had a burglary in my home. After hours of trying to figure out what was and was not missing I turned in my list to the police and insurance company. Sadly, I was still finding things I was missing 6 months later. It is hard enough to list everything from memory right now when you don’t have to. Try doing it while you are processing the stress of a break in, or not receiving all of your items from the movers when multiple boxes just don’t show up. I can assure you won’t remember what was in all of those boxes.

That is why I reached out to my friends at Armed Forces Insurance (AFI). AFI has been dedicated to providing insurance education and insurance solutions to military families for over 130 years. Having an insurance claim or losing items during a PCS move can be stressful enough. It can be even more stressful when you are trying to think about everything you own. That is why I asked AFI to provide us with some information on how to best prepare so any future insurance or moving claim go as smoothly as possible. 

  1. Don’t put off creating your inventory – The sooner you start, the better. 
  2. Pick a starting point – A cabinet, closet, or shelf. Just start small and get the ball rolling. 
  3. List any recent purchases – Start with any item you recently purchased, then go backwards to your older items. 
    • Include the basic information:
      • Describe each item
      • Note where you bought it
      • Make, model, and serial number
      • What you paid for it 
  4. Big ticket items: Valuable items like jewelry, art work and collectibles may have increased in value since you received them. Check with your agent to make sure that you have adequate insurance for these items. They may need to be insured separately.
  5. Count clothing by general category – An example would be 10 pairs of socks or 5 pair of jeans

Use Technology

  1. Take a picture: Besides the list, you can take pictures of rooms and important individual items. On the back of the photos, note what is shown and where you bought it or the make. Don’t forget things that are in closets or drawers. 
  2. Videotape it: Most all of us have cameras that can record video. Walk through your house or apartment videotaping and describing the contents. Or do the same thing using a tape recorder. 
  3. Use a personal computer: Use your PC to make your inventory list. Personal finance software packages often include a homeowner room-by-room inventory program. 

How to store your inventory

  1. Fire Proof Safe – If you documents are kept in your home, make sure you keep them in a fire proof safe.
  2. Safety Deposit Box – This is a great place to store paper lists, receipts and other information on your valuables.
  3. Backup any digital files to the cloud –  There are many services you can use for offsite data storage
  4. Use of Software or an App – There are financial software options and app’s you can put on your phone that allow you to create a home inventory. If you are using one of these, make sure the information is stored offsite and you can access it from any computer or phone. You don’t want your information to go up in flames if your data is saved on your home computer only. 

Whichever way you choose to store your inventory list, you will be sure to have something to give your insurance representative if your home is damaged. When you make a significant purchase, add the information to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind. This will help keep your inventory up to date and will make less work for you in the future.  

Those are just a few tips from Armed Forces Insurance regarding how to make a home inventory list. By starting now to prepare for your next PCS move will help to ensure a smoother resolution to any situation if your property comes up missing or you have to deal with an insurance claim to your personal property. 

For a more tools and resources on home insurance and other insurance products, head over to Armed Forces Insurance – Resources and Tools page to learn more. 

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As a military family, you need insurance that matches your needs and protects what you value most. You deserve an insurance company that is committed to serving you. MilHousing Network is proud to partner with Armed Forces Insurance to bring military families reliable homeowner’s insurance options when buying a home. Contact them today at 800-313-1936 or visit www.afi.org/milhousing to learn how they can support your unique military lifestyle.

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