In today’s hustle and bustle most people never take the time to think about the what if’s. Let alone take the time to prepare for the what if’s. The what if’s I’m referring to are the unforeseen disasters that homeowners believe they are insured for but will never happen to them. Then disaster does strike and almost every time end up getting short changed due to not having taken the time to prepare for the what if’s. Fire, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Flood, Wind Storms, Burglary, Vandalism are the what if’s that happen every day and if it happens to you, there is one simple thing you could have done that would make a world of difference in your contents insurance claim. “The Home Inventory”.
So you hire a pest control company to come out and tent your house to fumigate the little critters crawling around in your home. You evacuate for the weekend and when you return you find that bigger critters of the human kind broke into your home and stole everything on site. You call the police, file a complaint and receive a report. You think okay this is why I pay home insurance for. You call a public adjuster and give the public adjuster a 3 page list of everything you remember was stolen, including a $20,000 Rolex, another $40,000 in jewelry, $9,999 in cash and of course the latest & greatest TV’s and gadgets in the market today.
Okay, do you have the receipts? NO. Do you have pictures? NO. Do you have video? NO. Anything at all to prove that these items existed in your home? YES, my wife and kids could tell you. This scenario plays out all the time, sometimes it’s a fire a flood or another disaster or loss event. The problem is that no legitimate Public Adjuster would touch the contents claim due to the lack of proof; “Documentation” needed to file a contents claim. Unless of course the Public Adjuster would like to be included with the homeowner’s in an insurance fraud investigation.
ONE HOUR… that’s all it takes from your busy schedule to prepare yourself from the countless what if’s scenarios that happen all the time. There are a number of ways to document your home’s inventory but I suggest a 4 step “Iron Clad” method that will stand up to any insurance scrutiny.
- Take Video: Video tape your entire home, verify that the date and time is displayed while you record. Start at one end and work yourself to the other end. Talk your way through your home describing each item in a way that anyone looking at the video will understand exactly what it is. Get close ups of your valuables, spread jewelry, watches and smaller items on the dining room table or bed.
- Take Photos: When you document your possessions for insurance purposes, photos work well. You’ll need to take clear pictures of everything you want covered. When you print them out, document where the item is in your home and what it is, if it’s not obvious from the photo.
- Document in Writing: Document where the item is in your home, and what it is. Include serial numbers and model numbers if applicable. You may wish to get a professional appraisal for jewelry, artwork, antiques, memorabilia, and other one-of-a-kind or hard to replace valuables. Be sure check your homeowner’s insurance policy for limits on single items and take out a rider on these items if necessary.
- Keep Receipts: If you are not in the habit of doing so, start today to keep your receipts of anything of value that you buy and bring into your home. Another easy and very effective thing to do is to take a photo of your receipt to keep with your home inventory photos. If you buy online, create an account before you buy so you can always go back and print out your order history. Also, keep your emailed receipts in a separate folder in your email account.
You never know when something bad may happen, so it’s better to be protected. The suggestions above will help you to learn how to document your possessions for insurance purposes so your items will be protected if something were to happen.
I should mention that your home inventory doesn’t do you any good if it is in your house and it is stolen, burned, damaged by flood waters, or otherwise destroyed. You should consider keeping a copy in a safe deposit box if you have one, with a relative or close friend, or uploaded to an online file storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox. Also, here is a really cool App; http://www.knowyourstuff.org that I found which will walk you through storing your home inventory from your computer or any smart device. If you have a fireproof safe, keep a copy of your documentation in there for safe keeping. (Just make sure it’s bolted down).
Cavalry Public Adjusters, LLC are experts in dealing with contents insurance claims and will help you every step of the way. You can also call Cavalry Public Adjusters, LLC for a FREE policy review.