A neighbor down the block lost almost everything to a home fire. They had
many issues with their insurance company, mainly:
1. They had to really fight with their insurance company to get
"replacement" value for the belongings, not a reduced, depreciated value.
2. They had to fight & prove they owned assets that equaled the amount of
coverage they had.
They did not have serial numbers, receipts, photos, or evidence because
everything was lost in the fire. I bet about 90% of us couldn't come up
with that evidence if they had to, given a home fire.
What does everyone do? Annual home inventories? Videotape belongings?
Anyone had a similar problem with their insurance company??
Some insurance companies are very poor when it comes to claims. Avoid
these companies like the plague. Check out the ratings. Inventories
are a good idea, keep them in a safe deposit box, at the workplace or
I'm pretty cynical, but I always thought insurance companies suggest a video
inventory only to the customers who have depreciated value coverage so they
can prove the stuff was old and junky. I have replacement insurance and my
insurer never once suggested I have a video (so I guess I should make one).
I had a program awhile back that I used once. Of course, shame on me, I
have failed to keep it updated. Search google for home inventory software.
It was pretty nice program - separated valuables out by room and allowed for
adding rooms and areas.
Advice from my buddy who used to work for an insurance company
in the loss area: Take a photo of all rooms, furnishings, valuable,
etc. Make up a book. Electronic is fine. If you have a loss, print
and drop off the book on the desk of the Insurance Agent and tell
them you expect payment at replacement value within 48 hours. Don't
buy that "it takes time to process your check" crap. The sit on
checks intentionally to increase earnings.
They'll pay. There's lots of people without a book that they can
screw while they pay someone like you who doesn't take their
I think today a better solutions would be a digital camera, with images
saved to a CD.
Probably 95% of the folks who can see this group have a camera and a cd
It would allow directory organization of the pictures and direct rather than
I recently did the digital camera survey of the house and belongings.
I have the 160+ pictures on a CD and just made a copy for my daughter to
take two states away.
If you are ever involved in a hurricane, wild fire or other misfortune that
destroys everything, the inventory in the desk drawer will not be there
anymore to help you.
Digital photos or video of the contents once a year, burned to CD and
stored at work. Major items have serial number listed as well as
purchase price, model number, etc. Since I've done the work
religiously (Day after Thanksgiving while everyone is out
shopping...), we've naturally never had a loss. :)
I opted for "replacement cost" for contents, with some small extra
premium. Unless this is specified, I don't see why insurance should
pay "brand new" money for depreciated contents.
How true. One never realizes, ahead of a loss, how much even small
items can add up. In the recent hurricane and power outage, many lost
hundreds of dollars-woth of spoiled food! Who'd think to keep proof
their freezer was full of shrimp and rib roast, instead of ice cubes
and Lean Cuisine packets?
I'm sure ins. co's have 'guidelinies' for average values of contents,
but an inventory, pictures, & receipts would be good *personal*
insurance. I'm sure the average guidlines err on the down side.
Fortunately not. Theft was 'replacement' covered; storm damage quickly
assessed and reimbursed, incl. my reasonable claim for spoiled food.
And pay close attention to what your insurer might define as "collections." If
you collect anything valuable, it must have an insurance rider. In other words,
2 sets of Lionel trains would be covered, but 50 of them are a collection, and
won't be covered if not declared.
Gotta love those insurance companies. They are vague as hell when you buy
the policy (like a good neighbor we'll take your money and not return
it!!) - but wait until you have a claim and presto!! they come up with
exclusions and buried clauses to get out of paying.
My 'fav' is Mysterious Disappearance / No sign of forcible entry. This is
where they deny the home insurance claim because your camcorder that was in
the trunk of your car one minute and was gone the next was not stolen - it
"Mysteriously Disappeared" seeing as there was no sign of "Forcible Entry"
to your car. No sense arguing that car thieves can jimmy door locks - you
have to have a broken window or popped out door lock (or you claim to have
seen a 6'2" guy with dark hair and blue jeans running from your car with the
camcorder in hand) to have a claimable situation.
Enough ranting - I prefer a camcorder inventory where I can have one of the
kids crawl behind the stereo & call out the model and serial number while I
show the device working. Trouble is - my inventory must be 6 years old by
(HA HA Budys Here)
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