Taking a Personal Inventory


Taking a personal inventory is time consuming but necessary in order to have a record of everything that needs to be replaced in the event of a loss. Disasters can strike at any time and often without warning, and having an inventory of your belongings will assist in speeding up the settlement of your claim and getting your life back to normal as quickly as possible.

Take, for example, the flooding which occurred in Alberta during the summer of 2013. A lot of Calgarians and many others in the province experienced a grave disaster. Something none of us really considered a possibility – and so quickly! Many people had to discard a large portion of their possessions and, in some cases, lost their entire home as well.

Personal inventories are not just helpful in the event of a disaster or loss.  Your hard work can come in handy for other situations as well. Think about a move or a renovation which has your family living temporarily in another dwelling. A detailed personal inventory can help provide some order to the chaos.

There are many tools available, but the basic idea is that you will want to record and/or take pictures of your possessions. To start, you can take a video camera and go room to room, narrating as you go. Be specific with closeups and details as you move about, and don’t forget to open drawers and closets to detail everything.

Another approach is a good old fashioned spreadsheet. Documenting with details such as color, age, make, model numbers, and serial numbers. This method can be extremely time consuming, however, it will be unique and tailored to your needs.

There are other options available to you as a consumer. There are very inclusive and feature-rich apps available which are easy to use and just at your fingertips. The information is also stored away from your home, which is a plus.

It is very important that once you have done all of this work, that you store your information outside your home… perhaps keep copies in a safety deposit box or a family member’s home. Or upload that video you just recorded to YouTube and mark it private so others do not have access to it.

Here are a few suggestions so that you can find one that is right for you:

  • A good old fashioned spreadsheet
  • A personal inventory booklet (give us a call and we would be happy to email one over to you!)
  • Take a video of your belongings, narrating as you go
  • Online services such as: Sortly – An app useful for organizing and recording item values through a QR/Barcode reader which also offers the ability to record video as well as photos

Hopefully you have found this information helpful. If you have any questions regarding this article or on making a personal inventory, please do not hesitate to contact us and one of our knowledgeable Insurance Brokers would be happy to assist you!

Thank you,

The Costen & Associates  Team

*Thank you to our valued client and friend, Dan Penton, for providing content for this Blog article.