University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

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Publication #FAR9008

The Importance of Household Inventories1

Donna Davis2

Following a disaster such as a fire, hurricane, or burglary, few people could actually list all their possessions, not to mention estimate the value of their furniture, clothing, jewelry, sporting goods, lawn-care equipment, and appliances. Yet listing each possession lost is exactly what the insurance company will require when a claim is filed.

An inventory of your possessions makes good sense and is a good project for a rainy weekend. Go through each room and list every item, noting price, model numbers, and date of purchase of furniture, appliances, and household items. Make this inventory as detailed as you can because you'll find it expensive to replace the many seemingly insignificant items used every day.

Inventory forms are available from your local Extension offices and insurance companies, or you can make your own.

In addition to the written record, it's a good idea to take photographs of room furnishings and certain individual items. Photograph each room from several angles, opening all the drawers, cupboards, and closets as you do so. A videotaped inventory using a video camera is better still. Inventory, photographs, and videotape should be kept in a safe-deposit box or a fireproof container. Update your inventory when you get new items or discard others.

Once you have everything listed, the annual update doesn't take much time and could be worth thousands of dollars!

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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This document is FAR9008, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 52 and published December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Donna Davis, senior producer, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.