How to Make a Home Inventory Video
By Chris Saelens CIP, VP of Claims Management
In my years of experience dealing with claims, I’ve found that keeping an accurate home inventory of all your valuables is one of the easiest ways to ensure your insurance claim is handled properly.
In the event of a theft or other home emergency, recording your home inventory can help you determine exactly what’s missing when you would otherwise, only have your memory to work from.
There are areas of your home you may not be as familiar with as you think you are. Most of us have a good idea of what we have in our living room or our bedroom. Personally speaking, I know there are several parts of my house I don’t need to think about on a daily basis.
If your house has a basement, a garage, or even extra closets, there are many places where you might store valuables and leave them out of sight until you need to use them annually or seasonally, if at all. Keeping an accurate visual record of these areas is particularly useful to make sure you are prepared in the event of an emergency.
As a home owner, one tool you should use if you haven’t already is a Personal Property Inventory Checklist. This lets you keep a written record of your valuables and it is organized by each room in your house.
IMPORTANT TIP: For certain valuable items, record the make, mode, and serial number. This is the best way to make sure stolen items recovered by police can make their way back to you.
Using your Personal Property Inventory Checklist as a guide, you can start making a video for each room in your home.
Recording a Video
You don’t need any high end recording equipment to make this video. For my home inventory videos, I used the camera on my phone and that worked just fine. The best way to structure your recordings is to make one video for each room of your house. Depending on the room you are recording in, some videos might be longer than others.
When recording a video, follow these steps for each room:
- Before recording, turn on all the lights to make sure your video is well lit
- Start your video with the largest items first (furniture, appliances, closets)
- Next, move on to smaller items around the room (wall decorations, pictures, shelves)
- For dressers, cupboards and closets, be sure to open each drawer and record the items inside
- Count items as you record them (“I have 10 pairs of shoes in this closet.”)
- To supplement your video, you can also take pictures of the room afterward or have a family member take them while you are recording
Storing Your Recordings Properly
After you have made a video for each room in your house, the next step is keeping your records in a safe place. Make sure you have your video and photos backed up on an external hard drive or uploaded to some form of cloud storage. If you are able to do both, that’s even better. To make sure you can access them even if you lose your home in a disaster, keep your physical copy off-site and away from your house. Find a friend or relative who can keep it at their house for you.
IMPORTANT TIP: Save your receipts for any expensive items. You can make copies or take photos to keep with your video and store the originals in a safe or deposit box.
Keeping Your Inventory Current
Your home inventory is something that can change from year to year. Any time you make a large purchase, take a short video to add to the rest of the footage you have already captured. In the event you move, or make any major renovations, it will be important to record a new version of your video.
That’s everything you need to get started on making your own home inventory video. If you still have questions, you can reach out to your broker. They can tell you what to look for when going through each room.
Watch this short video I recorded in my home to see an example of what yours might look like: