Home Insurance Inventory Service

By Eric Hammer

One of the biggest problems people face when a fire or a theft happens is figuring out what was missing from their home. Be it grandma's favorite painting or 6 pairs of socks burned up in the fire, the more information they have on their home insurance inventory, the better off they are in dealing with the insurance company.

Unfortunately for most people, though fortunately for you if you choose to go into this business, very few people actually know how to properly create an inventory of their home. The work needs to be methodical, with each item being cataloged and a value placed for the items. That's what a professional home insurance inventory consultant can do for them.

You will spend at least a day and sometimes several days at a person's home helping them to sort through everything they own and estimate the value of the item. Alternatively, you may also be hired by an insurance company to go and inventory specific items that the policy holder may have mentioned on their own home insurance inventory. For example, if particularly valuable jewelry or antiques were listed, you may be sent to examine documents attesting to value and to examine the actual objects themselves to make sure the valuation are legitimate before a policy is issued.

How Much Can You Make?

This business is still largely in its infancy since it's generally not a required service when you sign up for a home insurance policy (typically, you are only required to list the most valuable items on the inventory, something most people can do themselves. However, the handful of places we saw that do something like this (see an example in resources) tend to charge anywhere from around $200-$800 for a home visit, depending on the size of the home.

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Remember that most of your work will be with customers rather than insurance companies. Most insurance companies have people on staff to evaluate particularly valuable objects, so your services, while they may occasionally be called upon if the insurance company doesn't have someone who can do the job will most likely be done for homeowners and renters.

Therefore, you need to be sensitive to the needs of your clients and be both thorough and sensitive. Explain that it's important to document everything and why. This way, they'll understand that that's why you ask them to open each drawer of a dresser for example, even though it may not be the most comfortable of experiences for everyone. You can also explain that this is especially important if they have expensive clothing which the insurance company may not replace without proof. However, even underwear and socks can be expensive to replace after a fire, so everything really does need to be documented.

Remember also to use either a still or video camera to record every aspect of a person's home. While your inventory in a spreadsheet will be invaluable, the photo or video recording could easily make the difference for a homeowner if the insurance company balks at paying for something they claim the homeowner never really owned.

Make sure to record serial numbers for all electronic devices and to note in detail all the information about particularly valuable objects such as antiques or collectibles.

Finally, you can also offer a secure online service where important documents and even photos can be stored. While most things are replaceable after a fire, family photos and personal information, such as social security numbers and bank account numbers may be more difficult to even impossible to replace. By offering a service where these things can be stored in a secure online server (consider providing a service which actually stores on a service like Amazon S3 - the cost of storage there is minimal and the security level is stronger than almost anything you might provide on your own), you can provide an additional service which people will thank you for later in the event of a fire or flood.

Qualifications / Requirements

You need to have a keen eye for detail and be extremely patient and diligent, however there are no other formal requirements required in order to start a home insurance inventory business.

First Steps

Start by taking an inventory of your own home and that of several friends and neighbors. This way, you'll learn the ropes of what to do. Then, start advertising your services online and in flyers around the neighborhood.

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Every Way to Make Money | Home Insurance Inventory Service