I came across this today and found it interesting. The Insurance Information Network of California is offering a free program to help you inventory the contents of your house. According to them, the benefits of a home inventory are:
— Purchase enough insurance to replace the items you own,
— Streamline the insurance claim process, and
— Substantiate losses for income tax purposes
They are correct about the first two. I will leave the third to your CPA. Many people purchase a homeowners policy and take what the insurance company offers in terms of limits of insurance. I cannot recall running across anyone, myself included, who has asked for higher limits. But, for some people, you should. An inventory will help you justify the request.
Even more important, when you have a claim, you will be able to document everything that is lost or damaged. If you do not document it, the insurance company may deny your claim, or a portion of your claim. My suggestion is to use this software and then videotape everything in your house. Put the videotape in a safe location such as a bank box. Then, when you have a loss, not only do you have the inventory, but you have the videotape to substantiate your claim.
Everyone should use this free program.