No one ever thinks tragedy will strike them or their family. Unfortunately, things do happen when we least expect them to. The best way to handle tragedy is to have a plan. We can’t feasibly have a plan for every tragedy that may occur, but for the big ones such as fire, tornado, or theft, having essential tools in place can save you time and headaches.
Dealing with the loss of your personal items to fire or catastrophic storm can be overwhelming. Here are 5 tips to make the process a little easier.
1. Document, document, document. The more information you have about your personal property, the easier it will be to replace the items in the future. Your insurance carrier is going to want to know some important information, such as purchase date, model number, and cost at the time of purchase. The Insurance Information Institute has made the process relatively simple through their free online home inventory software available at https://www.knowyourstuff.org/iii/dashboard.html.
There are also apps you can download to your smartphone. All of the apps below offer the same basic information on recording your property.
Apps for the Apple iPhone include:
• Suresafe Inventory (Free)
• Unisafe Home Inventory (Free)
• Allmythings Home Inventory (Paid)
Android offers many free apps for home inventory and two pay apps. Some of these free apps are:
• MyHome Pro Inventory
• Visual Home Inventory
• The Insurance Information Institute’s mobile app
All iPhone apps can be found in the Apple store, and all Android apps can be found in the Google Play store.
2. Video logging is also a great way to keep accurate records for your insurance carrier. Download the information onto a web page that can be accessed from any computer, or keep the information on an external hard drive in a fire-proof safe. Generally, external hard drives cost in the range of $15 to $100.
3. Keeping receipts of credit card bills is a great way to prove cost on big-ticket items. Insurance carriers are going to want to know when the items were purchased, how much they cost, and what model they are. Keeping important information like this will make the process swift and drama-free when working with your claim adjuster.
4. Know the difference between ACV (actual cash value) and RCV (replacement cost value).
• Actual Cash Value is what you would pay for a similar item at today’s cost minus depreciation.
• Replacement Cost Value is what you would pay for a similar item at today’s cost.
If you do not understand the difference between the two, replacing your items can become a huge headache. Always remember, if you don’t understand something on your Homeowners policy, contact your agent or the claim adjuster to break it down for you.
5. Going room to room and making a complete video log or picture log can ensure that you will get the best results from your Homeowners policy when attempting to replace your personal property. This also gives you an idea of whether you have enough coverage for all of your property.
Finally, any loss can be overwhelming, and with the claim process being unfamiliar, confusion and misinformation can make the process even more tiresome. These tips are just a quick and easy way to document what you have and what you will be replacing should the need ever present itself. I would suggest that after Christmas you update your video logs or picture logs as this is the time of year we tend to acquire new things.
Adjuster - Mt. Vernon Service Office