An up-to-date home inventory helps you to know exactly what you have in your home and how much it's worth. Home inventory software makes it easy to keep track of your belongings, but some programs are expensive. Others may be free but have only bare-bones functionality. The best home inventory software is free and has enough features to meet the needs of your household.
Best Programs Options
Based on their functionality, flexibility and ease of use, these are the top five best free home inventory programs available:
Know Your Stuff
Released by the Insurance Information Institute, Know Your Stuff is one of the most popular and well-known home inventory programs available. This free program is web-based, featuring secure cloud storage that enables you to access your inventory from any computer.
To use the site, you'll need to sign up for an account. Once your account has been created, you can begin adding information to the inventory.
Know Your Stuff has mobile apps for iPhone and Android to make uploading information simpler. All information uploaded from your mobile phone will be added to the cloud storage. This makes it simple to photograph items and upload them directly from your phone.
Know Your Stuff is an Editors' Choice app in the Android store, and it's been positively reviewed by LifeHacker as a sleek, free alternative to paid inventory programs.
HomeZada offers both free and paid subscriptions. The free program, HomeZada Essentials, is a home inventory app that allows you to keep track of your belongings and upload photos, receipts and information about warranties and manuals. HomeZada Essentials also allows you to track important documents and save contact information.
HomeZada Essentials is available for iPhone, iPad, Android and through the browser of your PC. All information is stored in secure cloud storage. You can download printable PDF reports for personal use or to forward to your insurance company for a claim.
Allstate Digital Locker
Digital Locker is a free web-based home inventory program released by Allstate. Although the program is affiliated with Allstate, it's open to everyone, not just Allstate customers.
Digital Locker is designed specifically with insurance claims in mind. Once you've created an account, you can begin adding items by name and quantity. You can also add descriptions and up to three images for each item. The inventory is saved in the cloud and can be accessed from your browser or through the mobile apps on Android and iOS.
Once your inventory is complete, you can export your data into an Excel spreadsheet to save to your computer, forward to your insurance adjuster or print out for personal use.
Digital Locker is highly rated in the Android store, with a 3.6 rating overall and many five-star reviews. It received special mention in Claims Journal as a powerful tool for people to keep track of their belongings.
Software vs Online Inventories
You can download software onto your home computer, or you can access the program through a web page by creating a profile and inputting the username and password. Both options have benefits and drawbacks to consider:
- If you store information on your computer, you run the risk of losing access if something happens to the computer. Water damage, electrical surges, theft and computer viruses can all render your PC useless. If you do use software on your computer, be sure to back up the information online as well.
- If you store information online, you are at the mercy of the website's owner. If something happens to cause the site to go offline, you will lose access to your information.
Keep a Backup
Regardless of how you store your inventory, it's a good idea to keep a paper copy as well. The virtual version will be the most up-to-date, but a print copy is easy to use as a checklist and can be accessed whether or not you have power or Internet access. If your software allows you to print the final inventory, it will be easy to keep a backup.
The best rule of thumb is that it's never safe to keep your information in just one place; always try to keep multiple back-ups in different places and formats so that you're prepared for anything.
Choosing the Best Option
All of the above programs are free and will work to help you inventory your home. No matter which program you choose, keeping an up-to-date inventory of your home is a crucial step to protecting your belongings.