A woman writes in a small journal, as she puts together a home inventory system and shows you how to get started

Do you know the make and model number of your flat-screen TV? And what about the microwave you bought last week? Knowing these little details might seem unimportant, but taking some time to create a detailed list of your stuff now could save you a lot of time and energy down the road if you need to make an insurance claim after a break-in, fire, or flood.

Whether you’re using an app or a pen and paper, having a ready-to-go list of your belongings means you won’t have to wrack your brain trying to recall details in an emergency — and it can help your insurer determine the value of your things so you can replace them as quickly as possible.

Creating a detailed list of your stuff now could save you a lot of time and energy down the road if you need to make a home insurance claim.

Go digital and download a home inventory app

Using an app that allows you to take photos and notes is one of the most convenient ways to create your home inventory list. You can access it from your phone, tablet, or computer, and you’ll never have to worry about losing your list since you can log in and open it wherever you are. With an app like Encircle or Sortly, you can create a complete photo inventory of your entire home in around an hour (depending on the size of your home and how much stuff you have).

Quick tip: If you’re using a photo-based home inventory app, be sure to add notes that include the brand name and model number of each item, where you purchased it, and how much you paid for it.

Or fill out our printable home inventory sheet

If apps aren’t your thing or you’d rather record your home inventory on paper, download our handy printable version (PDF) and fill out a sheet for each room in your home. Once you’ve filled it out, store it somewhere safe (and not the “somewhere safe” that you can never find when you need to) — or better yet, scan or take photos of the sheets and store them on your phone and computer, alongside photos of the items listed. It’s also a good idea to keep a paper copy of your home inventory list in a safety deposit box that isn’t located at your home.

Download our fillable home inventory sheet now (PDF) >

However you choose to do it, taking stock of your stuff can be an eye-opener. You might find that your belongings are worth more than you thought — or you might realize your home is in need of a good decluttering. If you have questions about your home insurance policy or want to make sure your latest big-ticket purchases are covered, talk to your group’s licensed broker today.

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