Get smart on contents claims
Think about everything you have in your home—from your TV to that antique roll-top desk, to all of the clothing and shoes and accessories for you and everyone else in the home—then figure out how much it’s all worth. Sound daunting? It is—and it’s something a policyholder shouldn’t have to deal with in a time of strife, but all too often they do.
Consider this: According to Insurance Services Office’s Property Claim Services unit and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. endured 28 catastrophes in 2009. The losses for these catastrophes totaled $10.6 billion. For your clients, getting back the contents of their home after a loss is one of the most important aspects of picking up the pieces and putting their lives back together. Most people don’t think to prepare for the unthinkable, but Insurance Plus can arm our clients with tips and shortcuts so they will be ready should the unthinkable ever occur, whether it’s a catastrophic loss or a few inches of water in the basement of their new home.
Take photos of every room in your house, including the basement. Capture clear images of furniture, appliances and electronics. When photographing the basement, get images of the water heater, heating and air conditioning systems. This is an easy yet important step for both homeowners and renters to be optimally prepared.
Insureds can even go the extra mile by taking photos of specific items that are sentimental, particularly valuable or unique. Then they can upload all these photos to Insurance Plus agency file or onto a Web-based photo sharing site, such as Shutterfly.com, where they can be housed for safekeeping. By providing clear, photographic evidence of all your insured belongings, much of the guesswork will be taken out of the inventory process in the event of a loss.
For small losses, there are self-service websites where the you can simply enter a list of missing or damaged items and quickly receive valuation assessment for replacing the lost items. For larger losses, some carriers offer services to dispatch contents field agents who go directly to the property and work closely with the insured, walking them through the creation of a detailed inventory of the missing or damaged items. This promotes accurate valuation and swift replacement so people can get back to their lives as quickly as possible. Some carriers even offer services and field experts for handling fine art, collectibles and unique items that are hard to value and can tie up the entire claims process.
Here’s a checklist for homeowners to keep in mind on contents:
1. Take photos of:
- Water heater
- Heating/air conditioning systems
- Sentimental items
- Valuable items - Jewelry, furs
- Unique items - guns, Antiques, colletibles
2. Upload photos to Insurance Plus agency file or web-based sharing site (ie: shutterfly.com)
3. Get smart: Do IT now! Write down serial numbers
4. We can provide clients with contents claims resources.