Home inventories are one of those things everyone knows they should compile but few people actually end up completing. Creating a home inventory can be a very long and tiresome process, which is why so many people avoid them.
Having an accurate inventory allows you to have some peace of mind should anything terrible ever happen to your home or belongings, like a hurricane, flood or fire. Luckily, apps can help speed up the home inventory process while keeping your information in a safe and accessible place. Some of these apps were developed by individual insurance companies, while others are independent of any particular insurer.
The Know Your Stuff® - Home Inventory app was developed by the Insurance Information Institute and anyone can use it for free. This app is accessible on Apple or Android devices, or on your computer.
Know Your Stuff allows you to record all of the relevant information you should need if you ever have to make an insurance claim. For each item, you can attach an image of the item, a copy of your receipt, an image of an appraisal (if you have one), the name of the item, which room the item is located in, what category the item fits in, how many of the item you have, the purchase price, the replacement cost or appraised value, the date and place you purchased the item as well as the make, model, serial number and description of the item. It will take a good bit of time to record all of this information, but the app organizes it all in one location where you will not lose it.
When you need to access your list of items, the app allows you to view your items by room or by category. Additionally, you can view a complete list of all of your items. This allows you to determine easily if you need to remove any discarded items or add any newly purchased items.
The Know Your Stuff - Home Inventory app even allows you to keep inventories of multiple locations, which can be extremely helpful if you have a rental property or vacation home. While this is the most comprehensive home inventory app we could find, the user interface is not as polished as some of the branded apps below. Remember, it is the information you record and how can you access it, not how pretty the app looks, that matters.
Many insurance companies offer their own version of home inventory apps. In general, insurance companies do not require you to be a customer in order to download and use the apps they have created. Insurers provide these apps free of charge in hopes that you will consider awarding them your insurance business in the future.
Some popular branded home inventory apps include Allstate's Digital Locker® and Liberty Mutual's Home Gallery®. Be careful what you enter into these apps as insurance companies may have access to this information should you need to file a claim. If you accidently enter incorrect information into the app, it could hurt you. Additionally, these apps may not allow you to enter as much information as the Know Your Stuff - Home Inventory app.
No matter which app you choose to create your home inventory, make sure to actually complete the process and document every piece of information you think you may need. Make sure your app allows you to record the essential information needed by your insurance company to file a proper claim. You can always contact your insurer if you are not sure of their requirements.