Make Sure Your Insurance Claim Pays Enough

Whatever kind of insurance you buy, you hope you never have to use it. If you do have to make a claim, you hope that your insurance pays enough to repair or replace what was lost. This isn’t usually a problem with auto insurance. If you get in a fender-bender, you just snaps some photos of the car with your phone and send them to you agent and soon you have a check or a repaired vehicle.  Replacing the contents of your home can be far more complicated. If you have renters or homeowners insurance, picking a blanket amount for your coverage is only the beginning. You have to take steps to make sure that the insurance pays off what your things were actually worth. Here are a few tips.

Inventory

Make a written list of significant property in your house. Use as much detail as possible, including how much you paid and when you bought it, if you have such information.  You could use inventory software or just use a word processor or spreadsheet software.  Store the file digitally and make a printout that you store some place like a safe, safety deposit box, work, or at a trusted friend or relative’s house.

Receipts

You may toss your receipts after you pay your taxes, but you shouldn’t.  Having a receipt proves that you owned an item that you are claiming. Make some room in your home or storage unit for a couple of bankers boxes of receipts. It could pay off if you have to make a claim.

Appraisals

If you have expensive artwork, collectibles, sports memorabilia or antiques, guns or jewelry, you should get estimates as to their worth by a qualified professional.  You should inform your insurance agent that you have such items. Depending upon the insurance company or state, you may need to get a rider added to your policy to cover those extra valuables. This does not necessarily mean your policy will cost more. It does mean that the insurance company will agree to pay what your items are truly worth.

Photos and video

Take the best quality photos of the interior of your home that you can. Take wide angle photos of rooms, to show a general overview and then take close-ups of artwork, antiques and other valuables. Store the files in more than one place digitally and get prints made, some place like Vistaprint. Store these photos securely.

Use a phone or a camcorder and do a walk-through of your home, to show all the contents. Store the video in a secure manner, like you did your inventory list.

Follow these tips and should some ill-fate cause you to have to make a claim, you can be assured that you will get a fair settlement from your insurance company.

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