Are you prepared for a homeowner insurance claim?

Posted by Jim Pietro on Apr 30, 2012 7:46:00 AM

Imagine for a moment what happens to a family whose home is destroyed by a fire, hurricane, tornado or other disaster. As they survey the ruins, they find it difficult to remember all of their possessions. Or supposing a woman comes home from work to find that her jewelry box has been stolen. Would she be able to recall exactly what was inside? And even if she remembered that her mother's engagement ring was among the missing items, would she be able to document its value or even prove that it had been in her possession?   Jim

If as a Mid-State client, you experience a loss, we stand ready to help you file your home insurance claim and assist you through the process. However, since the best time to prepare for a loss is before you have one, we encourage you to set aside some time now to make a record of your home and its contents.

These days, it's fairly easy to take such an inventory. You may want to start by taking pictures or a video of the exterior of your home from several angles. Once inside, go from room to room taking pictures of everything. Don't forget to include the contents of closets, kitchen cabinets, storage boxes, your garage, and even your attic and basement.

We recommend specifically scheduling high value items such as jewelry, watches, paintings, antiques, musical instruments, and collectibles on your homeowner policy. You'll also want to save sales receipt or appraisals for these items, as well as documentation of your spending on home improvements such as a new addition, roof, boiler, or even new appliances. And finally, don't forget to update your records as changes occur.

Once you've assembled those photos, videos, and paperwork, you'll want to keep them together in a home file or safe. It's also important to keep a copy in another location - perhaps in a safe-deposit box, with your attorney, or even with a trusted friend or relative who lives in another area.

A review of these documents is an ideal time to review the limits on your homeowner insurance policy. If you were to have a total loss, would your policy cover the cost of rebuilding your home and replacing its contents? If your answer is 'no' or 'I'm not sure,' we invite you to talk with us about replacement cost coverage. If you do ever have a major loss, this coverage will make a huge difference in your financial future. And if, as we all hope, you never have to face that scenario, you'll still have made a great investment in peace of mind.

Topics: home inventory, Jim's Blog, disaster planning, replacement cost, insurance claim, home insurance

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