Necessary evil: why a home inventory is worth the effort during a move

By Virginia K. Smith  | July 9, 2014 - 12:59PM

No one's exactly dying to add more items to their to-do list in the middle of a move, but in a blog post earlier this week, Zillow made a pretty compelling case for putting together something called a "home inventory checklist" before packing up the U-Haul (or calling the movers). 

Rather than just a gratuitous Little Mermaid (or Spring Breakers)-style review of one's stash of material goods, the inventory is an oh-so-responsible list of your home's contents; when you bought them and how much you paid; make and model numbers; estimated current value; and receipts, if you've got 'em.

Within reason, of course: the main purpose here is to have an accurate gage of insurance value, so be careful to catalog jewelry, electronics, furniture, and other valuables, but feel free to skip the contents of your junk drawer.

An inventory will let you know how much of your property is really covered in the event of incidents like fire and theft (and if you need to increase your policy to accommodate it), and also makes filing claims much easier if the worst case scenario does happen. As such, you'll want to store your checklist in multiple secure locations, in both digital and hard copies--think safe deposit box, and a document that lives in iCloud or Evernote, not just on your computer.

A lot of work, sure, but happily, Zillow notes that this process is far easier in the middle of a move, when you're already handling and boxing up everything you own (and have forgotten you own).

And if all that's not enough to convince you, how about a little peer pressure? Apparently, 61 percent of U.S. homeowners already have home inventories in case of emergency. Guess not everyone spends all their free time snacking in front of Netflix.


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