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Inventory and Photograph Belongings for Insurance Claims

Photographing your possessions for future reference in case of a fire or natural disaster can be a great way to ensure you can claim losses on all of you belongings. This page has tips about how to inventory and photograph belongings for insurance claims.


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March 10, 2017

Take frequent inventory of what you own. When you get a new appliance, vehicle, or equipment, take note of the vin or serial number. Put it in a safe place at your location and at a separate location, such as in your safety deposit box or with a trusted relative. Also, have a photo inventory updated yearly or as needed.


We had tornadoes Monday night. Most of the farms on the first 1/2 mile of our road are destroyed. 11 homes in the county are completely gone and numerous barns, with several million in damage. Now we are in the midst of replacing things and with the serial numbers and vin, we can easily trace the makes, models, and such for the insurance adjusters.

This is of one of our buildings. I can't feed my cows by tractor now, but I was prepared for a few days of weather so bad the tractor could not get out, that I had 50 small bales of hay to throw. I have used about 1/2 of those now. Hopefully the company will be here tomorrow to lift the barn off the tractor so I can feed big bales again.

We had a list, and photos from last fall, that showed what we had and where it was. It was very simple to go through the list and see what was missing and damaged (or in a tree...). I had stuff I could print off and hand to the adjuster.


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March 12, 20171 found this helpful
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Excellent advice. I keep my very good jewelry in a safe deposit box, and only take it out when I am going to use it. I put it back as soon as possible. I also have important papers in the box. For $43 a year, it is worth it to me. I take photos of any other valuables in my home, and save all receipts. It is worth it to me to take replacement value insurance for the items in my home. Otherwise the insurance company will only give you the depreciated value of your items, and that could be very little.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 28, 2017

Make a jewelry inventory photo album in order to identify your jewelry in case of loss or theft. In order to compile your photograph album of your jewelry, display your jewelry on black felt or in the original boxes, if you have them.


Place the photographs in an album and store it with your documents your home office. In case of loss or theft of your jewelry, you can use your jewelry inventory album to assist you in finding jewelry items that were either lost or stolen.

I recently had my wedding ring repaired and I took a picture of it on my finger for inventory purposes.

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April 30, 20170 found this helpful
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This is an excellent idea but go one step further. Put your images on a flash drive and store a copy with a friend, relative or your attorney/bank. If there is a theft, photos will help.

If there is a fire or flood, they are gone too. I have a video inventory of my things for insurance and it's in 3 places besides my home. Thumb drives are 3.00 of r 2 gig so you can afford several. Of, send the zip file to your kids, friends, etc. and they can keep them in their files for you, should you need them. Free, easy and a great piece of mind.



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October 11, 20040 found this helpful

Create an inventory list and do a room to room video log of all your belongings. Leave out nothing of importance to you. Add a written report of where purchased, value, etc. Some insurance companies require detailed lists of what you are replacing before they settle with you.

My sister had to do this from memory after her home was blown apart and scattered for miles from a tornado. Vacuum seal your records and place in your freezer. It's easier to find big objects after the storm and the rains that always follow a tornado.

By Mildred Ruckert

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June 3, 20090 found this helpful
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After you finish with the photos and or list, upload to you computer and if you have more than one e-mail account, then you can e-mail to yourself.

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September 17, 20099 found this helpful

When contemplating your homeowners or renters insurance, consider this idea to speed things along. Use your digital camera and take pictures of all four walls in each room, close ups of opened drawers and closets, bathroom cabinets, garage contents opened tool boxes, etc.

You get the jist, nothing is to be left un-photographed. Even photograph your carpets and ceiling lighting, fixtures and appliances, window coverings, and even out in the yard from all sides of the house including in the storage/garden shed inside and out. Don't feel like all things need to be pristine as you are photographing contents not entering a photo contest. If carpets have tags, make sure you take a close up of them as well.

Transfer all of the photographs on to a CD and put in the safety deposit box. For all important papers, either scan them yourself or have some one do it for you and also put that information on to a CD and, you guessed it, put it in the safety deposit box. Don't forget to do your drivers license, social sec card, medical insurance card, credit cards as well, both front and back of all of them.

This is so valuable to have as forbidding a disaster to happen and all things were to be lost in a flood, fire etc. You would have no way of knowing exactly what you had in drawers, cabinets etc as this is absolute proof that you had the items. As well as you have saved your important papers as well just in case you had a loss or even a total loss that you are able to make a copy of the household contents CD.

Give that to your insurance adjuster when needed speeding up the process of not waiting to get the itemized list together and without doubt forgetting items. This gives total proof of ownership as well as size, color etc. Also with your important papers and even special photographs scanned as well. With the CD you will have instant access and copies of all of the original papers and contact names, telephone numbers and account numbers, too.

Hope this helps many but if it helps just one, it is all worth sharing the information. I told my insurance agent of this and they now tell all customers of this and they also send out printed information detailing the same to all new and old customers alike. You may want to do an updated one once a year to reflect new or acquired items in the home. Don't forget to also include your jewelry items also!

Source: I did, when I had to list everything for my insurance company to write my policy and did NOT want to itemize every item in the place.

By Beau D from Vancouver, WA

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September 17, 20090 found this helpful

I recently got renters insurance. I thought it would be smart for my agent to have photos of the things in my home and to give him a CD with the shots on it. I did that as a general "photo gallery" and then took several hours making a detailed list of the items.

However, I found that so many things were too small to show up in the larger shots. So, I began putting things that could fit on the scanner bed and took the shots that way. I even twirled all my rings to under the fingers and laid my hands on the scanner to get a good shot of them. By putting as many smaller things as you can on the scanner, you get a clean and clear shot of each one.

Once it was all done, my worldly possessions were all on one CD, and I made a copy for the agent, my daughter and my executor. If something like a break in, fire or flood happens, you will be in too much trauma to remember what you owned. This will help you recover things that someone takes and tries to pawn, are damaged beyond repair and can be replaced.

And lastly, if you can't replace it, you may have the only scan of that irreplaceable photo or document that you can at least print out for the sentimental value of.

No one wants to think that something horrible will happen, but the odds are 50/50 that it either will or won't happen. This will help you be prepared and feel a bit more in control.

I hope this helps. It sure has me.

Sandi/Poor But Proud and now Prepared!

By Poor But Proud from Salem OR


Photograph Your Belongings for Insurance Purposes

You may want to check with your agent. We own our home, but our policy will not cover jewelry unless we have a rider. Valuable jewelry is considered the same as fine art, it must be appraised and insured separately. (06/06/2009)

By susanmajp

Photograph Your Belongings for Insurance Purposes

You better get a different policy for just your jewelry. If you have it all together you want get the true value of it. I don't know why your insurance agent didn't tell you this. My friend learned the hard way. (06/06/2009)

By Teresa

Photograph Your Belongings for Insurance Purposes

Wonderful! I wish everyone thought like you. I sell insurance and I agree please check your policy to make sure that all is covered, if not please cover it. You should have your home rerated at time of renewal to make sure that you will get the max amt. if something happens, and if you get anything new please don't forget to contact your agent. (06/30/2009)

By battlespire

Photograph Your Belongings for Insurance Purposes

I uploaded mine to so that there will always be that digital copy, in case anything happens to the CD copy. (07/02/2009)

By emilykate84

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June 5, 20090 found this helpful

Has this simple tip been shared before? Take your digital camera around the house and photograph everything you own. This is such an easy way to catalog your possessions for insurance purposes. I can't believe how quick this is and how nice it is to have a file saved in photos of my possessions. Once you have done this you can then proceed to place a value on each of your items and also catalog this by way of a Word document with photo of item inserted.

By Kghornsten from Davis, CA


Photograph Your Belongings for Insurance Purposes

Another good option is to video tape your entire house. Open all drawers, cabinets, closets, etc. you can describe any items while video taping. I work in insurance and people cannot remember all of their possessions in a time of crisis like a house fire. (03/27/2009)

By Sarajane

Photograph Your Belongings for Insurance Purposes

I'm in the process of doing this right now. Tornado season is coming, and with it, the necessity to make sure household inventory is current. (03/27/2009)

By WildIrish

Photograph Your Belongings for Insurance Purposes

That is a very good idea. However, once you make the pictures, you need to store them somewhere outside your home. If your home burns, you want to be sure that the pictures don't get destroyed, also! (03/28/2009)

By tedsmom

Photograph Your Belongings for Insurance Purposes

You can also make a list on the computer using Excel and the approximate value! (03/31/2009)

By Kiki2820

Photograph Your Belongings for Insurance Purposes

One other thing, My friend learned the hard way. If you have jewelry, do a separate insurance policy on them so you will get full coverage in case someone breaks in your house. Some people have their insurance cover everything and that is bad. My friend's mom died and left all her jewelry to her, well a couple years ago someone broke into her house and took the jewelry along with other things. Her insurance man told her she should have had a separate policy for the jewelry to get full coverage for it. The amount you get back is never what you paid for everything as most of us know (06/02/2009)

By Teresa Kay

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