Have you ever videotaped the inside of your house? How about your garage? If not, you should DO IT NOW! I am Of Counsel with Merlin Law Group and have been involved with several insurance cases. I have come to the big realization that insurance companies will do anything and everything they can to pay you nothing or as little as possible.
Let’s say that there was a burglary in your home or that there was a fire. If you have insurance on your home you likely expect the insurance company will cover that loss and give you back enough money to replace your things, or contents. After all, you did not burglarize your own home or ask that a fire burn it down. Well, I am here to tell you that it is not that easy.
< First, you would be required to give an itemized list of the contents that were damaged or destroyed in the fire or stolen or damaged in the burglary. Insurance companies want you to be as specific as possible. Then, you will be required to list the value of those items. You may remember what you paid for something 10 years ago, but what is its replacement value now? There are companies that can help with this but it still have to start with your itemized list.
After you give that itemized list to the insurance company it will likely refuse numerous items or ask for financial proof that you actually had it or that you could afford the items. So, be prepared to hand over your tax records and other financial documents.
This all takes a lot of time and is emotionally draining and frustrating.
The best thing you can do to protect and prepare yourself is to FIRST – have a replacement policy that would cover the value of the contents in your home; and SECOND – VIDEOTAPE every room, every cabinet, every closet and every nook and cranny in your home and garage (remember the outside also). Then keep that in a safe place like a safe deposit box. You can contact your agent to let them know this was done and to offer a copy for safe keeping (although most will not want a copy.) You can then use this to create the list and to show that yes, you did in fact have it.
This might not solve all the issues you will face when dealing with an insurance company, but it will make it a lot easier!