Every couple of years I must secure enough continuing education credits to keep my license in place. Most insurance agents dread these classes. They can be long and if you have been an agent for a while, some of the content is just a repeat of the classes you have been to a dozen times before.
Most of these classes are taught by former agents or claims adjusters. And in the case of this particular class, the conversations regarding home insurance brought up an interesting dialogue about coverage for personal property.
Claiming Personal Items on Homeowners Insurance
How does an adjuster know that you really own the personal items you are claiming in the event of a total loss from something like a fire or tornado?
The short answer is they’ll trust that you are being honest. The settlement is typically on an actual cash value basis at first. You get some money up front. Once you purchase the item and submit a receipt, then you get the balance. The purpose of the policy is to replace your items, so you will have to show they have been replaced to get all the money.
However, there are instances where there might be some additional inquiries. The gentleman who taught our class worked in claims at one time so he gave us some real instances of when an adjuster might want more than just your word.
Are the items extravagant in nature? If you are claiming an item that just doesn’t seem to fit your standard of living or lifestyle, it could raise some questions. The adjuster will understand that maybe the item is inherited such as an antique or silverware. The point is, that those items might face some scrutiny more so than your clothes or bedding. And some of those items need to be separately scheduled.
Measure Cost of Personal Property
So how do you address that? If an insurance company typically takes your word for it and pays out once receipts are submitted, how do I address those items that might be high value or irreplaceable?
The answer is: technology. We all have it now in the palm of our hands so take those photos and send them to us. We can save those photos to your digital file. Or better yet, complete your own home inventory. You could do this by shooting a video of each room, and again we can keep it here in your digital file. You should keep a backup, preferably in a safe deposit box.
But don’t forget there is always and app for that. Check your applicable app store. There are some wonderful apps that are free or reasonably priced.
If you have any questions about your personal property and how to make sure it is adequately covered, please call our office at 444-2100 or contact us directly with your homeowners or other insurance policy questions.