Articles Tagged ‘Filing insurance claims’

Filing Insurance Claims Can Be A Daunting Task

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Filing a personal property insurance claim can be a daunting task. When someone has just experienced a devastating loss from a fire, theft or natural disaster, they are ridden with high emotion and stress. This makes it extremely difficult to compile and process a thorough insurance claim.

A home or business inventory document will serve as a valuable reference for anyone as they list their items that must be replaced. Unfortunately, according to a survey, only about 40% of homeowners have a home inventory.

The survey also found that of those who do have an inventory, only about half of them have any receipts. Another unfortunate piece of information is that about 25% don’t have photos of their contents nor a backup copy located anywhere but in their home! Those who do have a list admitted that they were more than a year old.

As I speak with insurance agents, they state that their experience would indicate that these numbers are high. They believe that the vast majority of their clients do not have any information at all, even though they encourage each one of their policyholders to create an inventory.

Many aren’t aware of the need for homeowners, renters and business owners to have a thorough, detailed personal property inventory. Until one experiences a disaster, it’s rare to pay attention to insurance, let alone a document to help support an insurance claim.

Visit any insurance company website and you’ll see statements that you should have an inventory of your belongings. The insurance claim process will be much easier. Imagine sitting at someone else’s house – or a hotel room – after your home was destroyed. You will be required to list every item you want replaced. You’ll need to list all of your clothes, jewelry and shoes. You’ll be required to list all of your electronics and appliances, every piece of furniture, decorative items, dishes, and bake ware. Garages can become a catch-all area, but you’ll want all of those items replaced. Many people can’t remember what was in their home, of items used every day, let alone items that are stored in the garage and possibly used just once a year.

You will also be required to list the replacement value of each item. If you don’t have a model number available, it will be very difficult to prove the value. There are large variances in TVs, computers, power tools, appliances, etc. When you can’t prove that they are of higher value, you will have no option but to accept the settlement offered.

Another key issue is how many you have of specific items. The majority of people underestimate how many CDs, DVDs, video games and items of clothing they own. This often results in tens of thousands of dollars not received just because the disaster victim didn’t know what they owned.

The insurance claims process can be very daunting … but it doesn’t have to be. Having a home inventory can lessen the pain, speed up the process and result in a much more equitable insurance settlement.

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC

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