Why having an office inventory list is essential and how to do it right.

So we know that inventory lists are not the kind of thing that gets business owners excited, that is until something happens and the time comes to claim on your insurance. When you’re filling out your claim form, you’ll probably remember the big things, computers, machinery and the like, but what about the smaller items, which may be low cost but could also add up in value!

When something bad happens to your business, such as a fire, theft or malicious damage, the costs incurred could be significant. Consider how quickly you could claim if you didn’t have complete records? Creating an inventory list will help consolidate records and manage your response to such an event, without relying on a foggy memory.

Waiting for a claim to be paid so that you can get your business running as per usual can be a stressful time, so you’ll want to speed up the process and eliminate the need of proving ownership, and a good way to get this done is by having an office inventory list.

When setting about creating an office inventory list there are some key things to think through – we have put this guide together to help make it easy.

Generally, when making an inventory list people either use a visual format, for example photographs and videos along with a description of all the items, or a written format, most commonly a spreadsheet, to create a list of insurable office items.

The most comprehensive way is a combination of both, this will not only give you a complete list to check against, but a visual of your items to allow for a more accurate valuation. TIP: Make sure your photos are also date stamped!

Next think about categorising all your assets – consider distinct areas such as electronics, machinery, office furniture, fixtures, signage and accessories. You may also want to organise your list by location, or room.

As you are putting your list together be sure to include details such as serial numbers, value and purchase dates and remember to keep copies of all receipts and tax invoices. When it comes to time to make a claim you can send all this documentation together.  When compiling the inventory, note that the sum insured (assuming that the inventory is contents) should be the replacement value of the inventory, not the market value.

Regardless of what system you use it is important to ensure you keep your list safe. You can make copies of your inventory list – keeping one on site at the office and one off-site (just in case you can’t get back into the office to get the original list or it is destroyed). The best way to store it online is on the cloud such as Google Drive or Dropbox, where you can access the list anywhere anytime. You can also save it on a thumb drive or external hard drive either in a safety deposit box at a bank or another secure location.

Think of this as a ‘living’ document, which means adding items as they come into your business and deleting them when you get rid of them as well. This will also help you to ensure that when you review your insurance, you have the right level of cover for your contents – because there is nothing worse than being underinsured when it comes to making a claim!

While this can all be quite time consuming, it is will save a lot of time and heartache in the long run.

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