How many belongings do you have? Do you know? Think about every piece of furniture, every book, shoe, dish and MP3 player. Now, ask yourself this: How much money are all of those belongings worth? What would it cost you to replace everything you own?

A home inventory, complete with a list of your belongings, pictures of them and information about their worth, is a good way to keep the answers to these questions at your fingertips. Don’t have a home inventory list? Well, you’re not alone. According to an Allstate survey conducted in December 2011, about 44 percent of homeowners have completed a home inventory of their possessions, while only about a third of renters have done so.

It may not be fun to consider what you’d do if you lost everything you owned to a fire, a tornado or a burglary, but whether you own or rent your home, thinking ahead by creating a home inventory may be a good idea.

Insurance and Your Stuff
If you own your home, you probably have a homeowners insurance policy to protect it. But, did you know that your homeowners insurance typically protects your belongings if they’re damaged or destroyed by a covered peril, not just the physical structure of your house? This is called personal property coverage. Did you know that, if you’re a renter, your landlord’s insurance doesn’t protect your stuff? You must have a renters insurance policy with personal property coverage in place to protect you in case your belongings are damaged or destroyed.

To protect yourself, a home inventory cataloging all your belongings and their worth can be a good idea. An accurate home inventory can help you make sure you have the right insurance protection, and in the event of a loss, it can make filing a claim easier.

How to Create a Home Inventory
With all the uncertainties in life, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. An up-to-date, room-by-room inventory of your belongings can give you some peace of mind. Here are some things to remember about a home inventory:

  • Keep a detailed list of all your belongings, including specifics such as the manufacturer name. If possible, include the price you paid and the date you bought the item.
  • Take photographs or video of each room in your house, focusing on specific items in each room.
  • Update the home inventory from time to time, adding any new purchases.

Not sure where to start? The Allstate Digital Locker tool can help you create and maintain your home inventory, allowing you to save pictures and organize the information and access it from your computer or smartphone.

Whether it’s your flat-screen TV or your favorite pair of designer shoes, your possessions are important to you. Making sure your stuff is protected by an insurance policy and keeping track of your belongings in a home inventory can help save you hassle and money if the unexpected occurs.

This post comes from the editors of The Allstate Blog, which helps people prepare for the unpredictability of life.

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