I am often asked and mostly after the fact. What do I do to prove my claim. Step one you can keep all your receipts. Well that does not happen in my house at any time, maybe for work on the house that we can use as a deduction when we sell. So the real step one is photos or a video. If you are taking still photos, make sure that you get all angles so that everything in the room is visible. Drawers open or closed, I say open because I want to be reminded what we had in there. A photo can jog your memory about items in drawers you may not use often. If you are going to use video, then you can do a monologue about what is in the picture. For example an antique can be described with who made it and when and what you paid for it.. Same principle applies be sure to get everything and open the drawers and cabinets.
What next, We be sure to store you documentation outside of the house. Put it in your safe deposit box, give it to a trusted friend or relative, or I have even held them for clients. With the documentation if you have a loss you have something to give to the adjuster to support your claim. One of the hardest thing to do is to make a list if everything is gone. This even holds true in a theft where they ransack the house. You clean up and put things back but did you remember everything? I had a theft claim where they did not realize the garage door opener had been taken. They were busy making changes in the house and were not parking in the garage. When everything was done and they went to open the door, Surprise.
The adjusters I have worked with have tried very hard to help with property claims and get them correctly processed. Your photo project not only helps you, it helps them to settle the claim quicker. If you don't have pictures or receipts, the adjuster is going to ask people that have been in your house if the list looks accurate. After all if it is ashes it is hard to prove.
One last thing to remember, your policy is probably replacement cost. Your adjuster will more than likely settle the claim initially as actual cash value or a depreciated cost. One part of the replacement cost language is the company will pay to replace the items and that is what will need to happen. When the items are purchased the adjuster will give additional checks to make you whole. Why you might ask is it done this way? It is to prevent claims from being filed where the insured just walks away with cash, after all the insurance company doesn't want to encourage fraudulent claims. If you have four televisions and you only replace three, you still get replacement cost on the three and a check for the fourth is at actual depreciated value.
So I guess that being said it is time for me to redo all my pictures. It has been a couple of years and there are new things in the house and things that have gone away. Nothing stays the same in a house things are always coming and going so keep that in mind and keep your photos up to date. If you have a questions call me at 805-238-1818. Thanks