Fires happen, break-ins occur; that is why we have insurance to protect our assets against loss from fire or theft. So when the unfortunate happens, how do you prove to your insurance company that you really did have a diamond and ruby bracelet that was stolen? How do you prove that your television really was a state-of-the-art flat screen HDTV? Here are two simple tips to make sure that, when tragedy occurs, dealing with the insurance company won’t cause even more heartache.
Making a claim under your insurance policy is not difficult. First, notify your insurance agent as soon as possible of the loss. Then you will likely be asked to fill out a form called a “Proof of Loss Statement” where you will be required to set forth in writing all the items for which you are making a claim. The insurance company is not just going to take your word for it that the watch that was stolen really was a Rolex. So the Proof of Loss Statement will require not only listing your losses, but also providing some proof supporting your claim.
Tip #1: Take Pictures of your Valuables Now
Receipts don’t exist for the emerald ring handed down from grandma. How do you prove how big the stone was? Take a picture of it and all your other fine jewelry. Take a picture of the art on your walls, your sculptures, silver place settings, and other things of value. Put all those pictures on some form of external storage. Keep it in your safe, a safe deposit box, or even in a file at your office, but preferably not at home. If your house burns down or floods, you will have the stored information available to prove the existence of the valuables that you lost.
Tip #2: Don’t Throw Away That Owners’ Manual
TV’s, DVD Players, Digital and Video Cameras, Computers, and pretty much every electronic item of value will come with an owner’s manual. Keep it with your disc of photos or take a picture of the owner’s manual itself for safekeeping. The owner’s manual is not only proof of ownership, but it also can establish the make and model of your TV or Digital Camera so you can prove its value. There is a big difference in value between an entry level 40 inch HDTV and a state-of-the-art 60 inch flat screen HDTV.
You may have had jewelry appraised and specifically listed on your policy as a requirement for coverage, and there may exist other forms of proof such as receipts for other items. But at a minimum, having pictures of your valuables and the owner’s manual that came with your belongings should greatly help in documenting your insurance claim and establishing the value of the loss. Without adequate proof, the insurance company could have a basis to deny your claim. If they can, do you think they will?