Inventory for insurance

How to do a valuable inventory for insurance purposes

A valuable inventory will:

  1. Help you purchase the right amount and type of insurance. Having an accurate list of all your possessions helps you to have a more productive conversation with your insurance professional when making decisions about homeowners or renters insurance coverage. After all, if you don’t know what you have, how can you insure it adequately?
  1. Make filing a claim as simple as possible. Most people cannot remember what they had for breakfast much less recall the contents of their jewelry and watch boxes, safes… after a fire, storm, or other catastrophes. Disasters are scary and stressful, which can make trying to list the damaged property for a claims form even more challenging. Having your belongings already documented in your inventory can be a huge relief at times like these.
  1. Substantiate financial losses for tax purposes or when applying for financial assistance. Following a catastrophe, the only way to determine whether you qualify for a tax break or disaster assistance is to substantiate your financial losses. A well-organized inventory can be an extremely useful tool in this process.

Home insurance policies or renters insurance provide many benefits that make them worth the expense. However, it’s not just about the money—it’s also about safety and security. If you have a thorough valuable inventory, you can get reimbursed for any items damaged or destroyed during a disaster, such as a fire or a flood.

When you have an extensive list of all your belongings, you will be able to prove exactly what was lost or damaged. This is crucial if you face disputes with your insurer or the person who caused damage to your property.

Below we discuss all you need to know about doing a valuable inventory for insurance purposes so that when disaster strikes, you remain protected.

When is jewelry covered by renters insurance?

There are three components of renters insurance: personal property coverage, personal liability coverage, and loss of use. 

Renters insurance covers damage to your personal property from an insured peril. An insurance peril is an event that causes damage to your belongings, like a fire, storm, or theft. 

Jewelry would fall under personal property and is covered if related to a named peril.

Specialty items may not be included

Special jewelry — engagement rings, expensive watches, and heirloom pieces — may not be covered in the event of theft and may require a "personal article" endorsement or add-on rider.

Most renters insurance coverage for jewelry is capped at $1,500. If your jewelry exceeds these limits, you should increase your limits or get an add-on rider.

If you have riders for jewelry, you will be required to catalog and provide appraisals for them. 

How to get extra insurance coverage for your jewelry

You can ask your renters insurance to increase your personal property limit, but "the amounts are still limited for both individual pieces and overall losses," according to the Insurance Information Institute

A second option is purchasing a floater policy as an add-on to your renters insurance. The Insurance Information Institute notes that although this is more expensive, it offers the broadest coverage, including coverage your standard renters' policy doesn't include. Your jewelry must be appraised before purchasing a floater.

A third option is to purchase standalone personal jewelry insurance. A standalone jewelry policy is a comprehensive, all-perils policy, meaning it covers every type of loss unless specifically excluded.

With standalone jewelry insurance, your jewelry must be appraised. The premium for personal jewelry insurance is typically 1-2% of the item value. The premium will also be based on where you live, who's wearing the jewelry, and the deductible.

There are two major differences between a floater add-on to your renters policy and personal standalone jewelry insurance. The first is that if you make a claim under your floater, it may impact your rates for your renters policy. That doesn't happen with standalone personal jewelry insurance.

The second is that your renters insurance floater policy may require you to use its authorized jeweler to repair or replace your item. However, standalone personal jewelry insurance works with the jeweler of your choice to replace or repair jewelry.

What is a valuable inventory?

A valuable inventory is a list of the possessions that you own. This simple list is essential for purchasing insurance and making a claim on your policy.

When you purchase insurance, your insurer will ask for a copy of your valuable inventory. This is how they know what items are covered by your policy and what aren’t.

When you make a claim on your policy, your insurance company will use the information from your valuable inventory to determine the value of the damaged or stolen items.

Why is a valuable inventory important?

Inventory is critical because if you need to file a claim with your insurance company, they will need proof that the items you are claiming belonged to you when the incident occurred. Without documentation in the form of a thorough inventory, you may not be able to proceed with the claim process.

An up-to-date, thorough valuable inventory can streamline the claim filing process. If you’ve ever tried to file a claim with your insurance company, you likely already know how frustrating it can be. You must be armed with everything the insurer will ask for, such as proof of ownership for the items at the time of loss. This will be difficult if you don’t have an inventory.

When should you get additional insurance for your jewelry?

If you have jewelry valued above your renters insurance personal property limits, you need to consider a floater add-on policy or separate standalone personal jewelry insurance. Additionally, if you have custom jewelry or heirloom pieces, like an engagement ring, watch, or necklace, you should get a separate policy.

Both floater and personal jewelry insurance require an appraisal for the items to be insured. Normally, your jeweler will refer you to an appraisal company. If you do not have an appraisal, receipts for the items are acceptable.

How to file a claim if your jewelry is lost or stolen

Treat stolen or damaged possessions like a car accident and follow these steps to report and file a claim.

  1. Notify the police and file a police report if it is due to theft. Your insurance company may request a copy of the police report.
  2. Take pictures of damaged possessions and what caused the damage (fire, storm, etc.).
  3. Contact your renters insurance company. Failure to timely notify your insurance provider can result in denying the claim. 
  4. If you have a standalone jewelry policy, contact the company.

If you insured your jewelry through your renters insurance or a floater policy, you may be required to use a jeweler of their choosing. However, if you have personal jewelry insurance, you will be allowed to have your jewelry repaired or replaced by your chosen jeweler. Your jewelry will be covered for the appraised value minus any deductible.

How to create and maintain an inventory

There are three ways to create and maintain an inventory: on paper, on your computer using a spreadsheet, and with a home inventory app. The method you use is ultimately up to your preferences and the resources you have on hand.

Maintaining records on your smartphone or computer is easier than ever in the digital age.

On Paper

Before the widespread use of computers and smartphone apps, home inventories were done with a simple pen and paper. This method is still incredibly popular because it is easy and inexpensive. The downside is that it can be time-consuming and prone to human error.

With a paper inventory, you just have to write down all of your possessions. Include short descriptions of each, including its make, model, serial number, date of purchase, and purchase price. Photograph each item from different angles, so its condition is thoroughly documented.

If you do your inventory on paper, there is no easy way to track all of your possessions. Even with meticulously arranged file folders and organization systems, you will likely need several minutes to track down specific items.


Spreadsheets are significantly more efficient than maintaining a physical inventory on paper, but they are still not the best option.

Spreadsheets can be overwhelming when you lay out everything you own, and it can become complicated once you divide all your items into different categories. For maximum efficiency, you need a great deal of knowledge about computer programs like Excel or Google Sheets.

But with a digital inventory, it will be much easier to find the information you need with just a few taps on your keyboard.

Home inventory app

Myne Global is a home inventory app that makes recording and tracking items a breeze.

With Myne Global, all you need to do is take photos of your belongings and add them into categories, so they’re easy to find later on. You can also take pictures of receipts or other related documents, like warranties or bills. This way, when something goes missing or breaks down, you can access all critical information in the app before you file a claim.

Tips for starting an inventory

Creating an inventory can be very challenging if you don’t know where to start. Here are a few things to put you on the right track:

Start with the basics

Start small and work your way up. Begin with the most valuable items in your home, such as jewelry, watch, and major art pieces. From there, expand to the rest.

You can also include items that are sentimental or important to you but not necessarily worth a lot of money, such as family heirlooms.

Take photos

Take photos of all valuables that indicate their current condition. This way, if they are stolen or damaged in some way, you can clearly show your insurer what they looked like before the accident occurred.

List your recent purchases

One of the most important steps in creating a valuable inventory for insurance purposes is to maintain it consistently. You must list your recent purchases

When you make a list of recent purchases, include the following:

  1. Date purchased
  2. Description of item
  3. Where the item was purchased from
  4. Purchase price (include receipts if possible)

You should include any other information that might be relevant, such as unique features of the item or whether it was customized in some way.

Keep track of off-site belongings

If you own a storage unit, you must also maintain a list of the items in it and their condition. And if you have any valuables that are not stored at your house, such as a larger piece of art or a vehicle, you must also document their current condition so they can be included in your insurance plan.

Things to include in your Inventory list

Your inventory list should include a description of each item, its value, and its location. You must also document important details such as serial numbers and other identifying information that is available for your valuables.

Here are the things you should include in each listing when doing an inventory:

  1. Item description
  2. Make, model, and serial number (whichever is available)
  3. Appraisal or purchase price
  4. Origin of the item (where you bought it)
  5. Date of acquisition (when you bought it)
  6. Receipts of purchase
  7. Clear photos of the item from multiple angles to clearly show its condition

Keep your inventory safe and accessible

Keep your inventory secure at all times. If you created a list on paper, make sure it is locked in a safe or fireproof box and make multiple copies of the list for safekeeping. If your list is in a spreadsheet, keep it on a password-protected physical drive and upload a locked online version that you can easily access.

With an app like Myne Global, your inventory list is stored in the cloud, which means you can access it from anywhere. This is especially useful if you lose your device or you are away from home when an accident or a burglary occurs. 

The bottom line

To create an inventory for insurance purposes, you need to take your time and be as thorough as possible. It’s all about ensuring you have all the information you need in case you need to make a claim with your insurance.

Myne Global is an easy inventory app that saves a lot of time and effort on data entry, organization, and overall management.