The Inventory Story

The Inventory StoryCreating a Comprehensive Home Inventory Can be the Best Policy for Insurance Compensation in the Aftermath of a Hurricane 

By Mike McLafferty

With the start of hurricane season looming around the corner, it’s time for you and your family to take a home inventory of your belongings. Having an up-to-date and detailed account of your possessions can make the recovery process a far less stressful experience if a hurricane damages your home.

Taking an inventory of your belongings can help show your insurance company exactly what was lost and can help speed up the process for a fast and fair payment for your damages.

Home inventories also make great documentation for tax deductions when claiming your losses.

The American Red Cross recommends that you photograph each item in your home and provide a detailed written description. It is beneficial to make your description as comprehensive as possible; include the make, model, serial number, receipt and date of purchase for each item in your inventory.

The easiest way to inventory your home is to videotape each room in your house, focusing on individual items. By doing this, you not only capture all your belongings on video, but you also are able to narrate the specific details of each item rather than write everything down.

Don’t forget to inventory all of those little things around the house, too. Include towels, sheets and dishes in your list, because those seemingly inconsequential items add up, and you want to make sure you are fully compensated for what is lost. Also, remember to check the attic and other storage spaces. Many people forget to sort through these areas, resulting in damages that are harder to prove to insurance providers.

Make sure you document the outside of your residence as well. Provide information on upgrades made to your property, such as patio additions, fencing and landscaping. You may not expect to see renovations in a home inventory, but they contribute to the value of your home, and it makes a difference if the insurance company is able to see exactly what was destroyed.

Update your home inventory after any major purchases, holidays or birthdays, so it always will be current if a hurricane hits your home.

The American Red Cross recommends that you store your home inventory in a safe place where it won’t get damaged in the same event that has damaged your home, but close enough that it can be easily accessed after the event. Try a safe deposit box at a branch of your bank, or give a copy to family members.

A home inventory should be considered a necessity in Florida. The threat of a hurricane usually is the primary reason to have a record of your belongings, but it also comes in handy in the case of a fire, burglary or flood.

There is no telling what may happen to your home, so it always is a good idea to have this information backed up. For more tips on how to successfully inventory your home before a hurricane, visit


Download this Web site’s most recent software to inventory your home in a fun, easy way. It even offers an option to upload your inventory to a secure server so you can access it from any computer in case of emergency.
Ever wonder where to get all those handy-dandy emergency supplies they always seem to have in the movies? Visit this site to assemble the most up-to-date emergency kit for any potential disaster you may face.
Are you prepared to be without water? How about electricity? This site provides you with helpful hints on how to prepare yourself, your pets and your community for a natural disaster.


Did You Know?Ever wonder how hurricanes get their names every season? There are actually six lists of hurricane names that rotate each year. Each name stays on the list until there is a hurricane so severe and devastating that the name must be retired and replaced with a new one.