Your home has been damaged and now you’re literally picking up the pieces after a disaster. Don’t panic. The easiest way to make the process as efficient as possible is to make a simple inventory and damages list for your claims adjuster. If you’ve never had to deal with inventory damage, your insurance claim can seem like a mystery. To make your first (and hopefully last) time taking inventory of damaged property easy, make sure you follow these tips.
Learn the money lingo
When you talk to your insurance adjuster about money it can seem like they’re speaking a different language. To make things easier, familiarize yourself with these three terms.
Depreciation: The loss in value from all causes, which can include age, wear, and tear.
Actual Cash Value (ACV): The price of an item after depreciation.
Replacement cost: The price of what it would cost to repair or replace an item that has been damaged or destroyed.
Just say “no” to padding
It isn’t uncommon for some people to believe that they won’t get a fair settlement if their inventory list is too short or inexpensive. Innocent mistakes are common and wouldn’t get you penalized, but intentionally inflating the cost or quantity of your items can lead to serious consequences. Claiming that a $500 laptop was $1,000, or that you had multiple copies of an expensive book, isn’t a small lie. Intentional misrepresentation on your inventory is insurance fraud, and that could be a felony offense. If your adjuster or company believes that you’re misrepresenting the inventory damage on your insurance claim, your path to settlement will be long and filled with delays. Don’t risk a drawn out claim process or a criminal charge for the sake of a little extra money, it’s never worth it.
Go through your social media
Nothing will beat serial numbers, purchase dates, and receipts when you establish proof of ownership, but other evidence of ownership can help. If you want to strengthen your case, check to see if you have any photos or videos of the damaged property you’re claiming. Your social media accounts can be inadvertent insurance goldmines. Do you remember taking a few pictures of your new jewelry to post on Instagram? Is there a video of your family unwrapping and enjoying a big screen TV for Christmas on Facebook? They may just be memories to you, but they could help strengthen your case of ownership.