All insurance policies are written contracts setting forth the obligations of both the insurance company and the policyholder. Unscheduled personal property (the contents of your home) is broadly defined to include (but not be limited to) furniture, appliances, clothing, kitchen utensils, and other household goods of almost every description. There are specific categories with limited coverage such as jewelry, furs, silver, and money, which must be insured separately as scheduled items.
Many people do not carefully review their policies, so they are unaware that:
“…..you must prepare an inventory of damaged personal property showing the quantity, description, actual cash value, and amount of loss. Attach all bills, receipts, and related documents that justify the figures in the inventory…..”
Claims adjusting is an inexact science, and your adjuster is a professional who will work with you no matter how little evidence you have. The following tips will make the process easier for both of you. You will receive a more satisfactory settlement if you do these things.
Take pictures of your belongings now – it will be of great benefit later. You cannot take too many pictures! They will provide necessary detail. Open the drawers and closet doors. Photograph under the basement steps. Take close-ups of family heirlooms. Open tool chests and kitchen cabinets.
Next, complete an inventory, making notes of unique items. Describe where and when these were purchased, and note the price. Call Loring & Company if you would like a copy of a Personal Property Inventory booklet.
Many clients ask if a video recording with their camcorder is acceptable. It is, but this is far more time-consuming for the adjuster. Still photographs seem to be most effective.
Your receipt will be proof of purchase, but the policy states payments will be made based on replacement cost, so do not list the original cost as the amount desired. Any other evidence you can provide will result in a better settlement. Receipts, appraisals, etc. are invaluable. You will continually purchase new items so be sure to keep your list updated.
Finally, do not store the pictures and inventory in your home. Instead, keep them in another location away from your home – at your workplace, in a safety deposit box, at a relative’s home, or use a web-based personal inventory system available on the internet at sites such as www.knowyourstuff.org or www.insurancevault.net.