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Home Insurance Losses and Documentation
We have seen a few lose their homes and everything in it in the last few years. Could anyone share what they do to document all of their belongings and valuables to avoid a major fight with the Insurance companies.
Pictures and videos, I keep a copy at work on a memory stick. Everything!!!! get everything worth anything and make sure your insurance will cover it. I also write down all my serial number on bows, binos, rifles etc... even how many arrows I have. I have extra insurance for my hunting stuff. Not mounts though. Just be thorough. a couple walk throughs with a video camera is a good idea as well. We also have my wife's art collection, that is a whole different animal. Appraisals with records kept away from the house, again some extra insurance. I am just a simple working guy, I could not begin to replace what we have acquired over the years. I have bought some very nice art work for nothing and it is actually quite valuable because people didn't know what they had and neither did I until after I bought it and did a little research.
That's how I do it. I also carry a little extra insurance on my toy hauler. If it burns down and I am hunting, I want my stuff covered!
Most of this insurance is really cheap if you shop around and do some research.
Good luck and God Bless!
Most policies have a limit on coverage of guns, unless you take out an expensive rider listing each gun.
We lost our home in a fire in 2011. One of our biggest losses was my wife's art collection. It is amazingly hard for a homeowner to validate artwork. Each piece must be appraised separately. Appraisers are paid for travel and per diem on top of each piece of art. Each piece of art appraised costs a percentage of its value. All of this means that to get insurance coverage for an art collection, it costs a lot of money just for coverage. Fortunately, I had documentation and photos which did increase the contents coverage.
Content coverage on an insurance policy (at least in Michigan) will increase the same percentage as the coverage of the home. Our daughter helped us connect with an independent appraiser as a buffer between us and our insurance company. Their appraisal was much higher than the insurance company which lead us to arbitration. We were headed towards arbitration which would have delayed settlement and delay of demo and rebuilding when our insurance company increased their settlement offer. We accepted that to be able to rebuild our new home.
One thing I did learn was NOT to accept the insurance company's initial offer. We lost both of our vehicles in the fire and accepted the insurance company's coverage. Had we realized that we could negotiate, we might have gotten more for our vehicles (both had new tires and owner upgrades that were not taken into consideration). Learning that I could negotiate, I was able to increase the coverage to my camper which was also lost in the fire by several thousand dollars.
Sorry to hear about that!!!! It's a crime what insurance companies do to people!
Do you think it is just certain companies? We had a flood at our house and our insurance company was great! No issues and if something else needed to be fixed, the contractor simple submitted a "Change order" I know it's different than what you experienced, but I wonder if it's the company you are dealing with. We use Liberty Mutual.
What are your thoughts?
I have been through the insurance thing more than once. Just a word of caution on the “take pictures of everything “ comment. While it does help with what you have pictures of, they also use that against you, if you take a picture of something on cheap carpet for example, then you replace the carpet, with hardwood or something more expensive, they use the carpet in the picture. Also anything you don’t have a picture of, forget it, if you have pictures of other things. Their thoughts are “we replace what you had pictures of that’s it”. I’ve had losses by fire and theft. Make sure you find out where you’re Insurace adjuster gets their numbers at, and do the numbers yourself. The adjuster isn’t necessarily trying to screw you, it’s just they have 1000 cases to do and they get it done as fast as they can. You do their work for them you are lot better off.
Scar...over all, we did well by our insurance company. Just having the independent adjuster as a buffer gave us time to get a decent settlement. In the end, the independent's values and the insurance company's were far enough apart that the insurance company did increase their initial offer. Also gave us more time to explore the rebuild process.
We ended up with what I call my "wife's new old house"...we were able to incorporate a lot of details that made the house fit well with our antiques (lots of oak trim and doors), custom cabinetry and granite counters; and using the same footprint (basement) created a super floor plan. I had the basement raised a foot and mechanicals moved to one end such that I had a nice 13 yard indoor archery range.
I'm going to miss this house as we are planning on selling. Just purchased a home in WY a little over an hour away from our daughter Carrie, the artist and my son Smith.
Glad to hear it!
Bummer and congratulations on moving, I guess a mixed blessing.
Good Luck and take care!