One of the frustrating things about insurance companies is how complicated they make things. Even otherwise excellent insurance services work as hard as they can to make sure that they don’t pay out anything more than what they must. It makes sense, of course. They are a business. They make more money if they don’t pay the maximum. While there’s no way to guarantee that they will pay, you can make it more likely that they will by taking precautions on your own in how you handle the experts and your insurance claims.
The Insurance Experts
When you file your claim, an insurance expert will typically come out to evaluate the damage. Depending on the kind of damage, he may come out to see what remains or he may examine past evidence that you have acquired. For instance, if your house was flooded, he’ll come out to examine the signs of the flooding and evaluate the damage. But what happens if something was stolen or the flood washed away your insured collection of bone buttons and collector’s edition DVDs? It all depends on the insurance company, but often times, the insurance company is likely to presume that they are worth less than what you claim. After all, it’s in your best interests to state that they are worth more than they are.
Set up an Inventory System in Advance
So while you should cooperate with the insurance expert, you should not rely on him exclusively. One thing that you should do preemptively is to invest in an inventory system. Inventory management systems make demonstrating the value of your belongings so much easier. You have to do it before the damage is done, unfortunately. However, it’s not hard to get started. Asset Panda’s inventory management systems are very easy to use. You can be up and running within a matter of minutes and have your entire home catalogued within a short amount of time. The benefit of the household inventory system is that it is another form of documentation and corroboration. Just make sure that you update it regularly to reflect new purchases and sales.
Hire Your Own Expert
The second thing you should do is hire your own expert. You can do this at two stages. The first is at the beginning when you are preparing your home inventory. This way you can get an expert’s opinion on what your collections and valuables are worth. Just make sure to note the expert’s name and contact information in your asset notes so that you can contact him later if need be. The second time that you will want to bring in an expert is when the property has been damaged and is still there. This expert will come in and make his own analysis and reports.
In both cases, you will want to save your expert’s opinions, contact information, and documentation. These can all be submitted in addition to your inventory reports to prove the validity of your claims. This makes it significantly harder for an insurance company to declare that you are incorrect about your item’s value.
As a side note though, if you have property that regularly increases in value or may increase in value such as precious jewelry and fine art, then you will want to bring an expert in periodically to update the assessed value. You don’t have to bring him in every year, but updating your information is important just to make the insurance claims process a little easier.