In a catastrophic event like Hurricane Matthew, often insurance adjusters are spread thin with a large number of claims and time pressures to close claims. The insurance adjuster that comes to your home or business will likely not have the time to give your claim the attention it deserves. Even worse, personal property and business personal property claims are often time consuming and will likely receive even less attention.
How do you make sure you get a full recovery for your personal property or business personal property claim? Do the insurance adjuster’s job for him or her! Click here to download a sample personal property inventory form. Complete this form and submit to your insurance adjuster.
Here are some tips for each of the categories on the inventory form:
• Description: Include the brand, color, size, material, etc. The more detailed the better. For example, if my couch was damaged I would state, “Pottery Barn 84” white upholstered couch.” If the damaged item is an electronic make sure to include the serial number.
• Quantity: Include here how many of each type of item was damaged. I have two of the Pottery Barn white couches in my living room. If both were damaged, rather than listing them in two line items I would simply include 2 under the quantity column.
• RCV: This stands for replacement cost value. This is the value it would cost to replace the personal property today. Don’t guess!!! I can’t stress how important this is. Try your best to find a current cost for the same or very similar item. If you can’t, then state that you are unable to find an exact match but the price you are providing is for a similar item. Explain why it is similar. When in doubt, over explain. You don’t ever want to be accused of misrepresenting the cost of your personal property.
• Subtotal: Simply multiply the quantity of items by the RCV.
• % Depr.: This is the percentage of depreciation. This can become very technical and if you are uncomfortable estimating the percentage of wear and tear or depreciation on the item then I would suggest leaving this section blank. The adjuster can complete this section for you based upon the condition of the item, which is best shown through photographs of your items.
• Depreciation: This is calculated by multiplying the % Depr. by the subtotal. Again, if you are uncomfortable estimating the percentage of wear and tear or depreciation on the item, I would suggest leaving this section blank. The adjuster can complete this section for you based upon the condition of the item, which is best shown through photographs of your items.
• ACV: This is the actual cash value. This is calculated by subtracting the depreciation from the subtotal. Again, if you are uncomfortable estimating the percentage of wear and tear or depreciation on the item, I would suggest leaving this section blank. The adjuster can complete this section for you based upon the condition of the item, which is best shown through photographs of your items.
• Age: The age of the item. Being as accurate as possible is incredibly important. Again, if you are uncertain and are guessing or estimating the age, tell the adjuster!
• Source: Include a link to a website with your item. Preferably the website or store you purchased the item from, although Amazon has nearly everything these days. This makes the adjuster’s job very easy because he or she can simply click on the link to verify the price.
Finish your personal property inventory by subtotaling all the columns and make sure to include sales tax and shipping costs!
In addition to completing an inventory such as the example here, you should also provide photographs of the personal property that correlate with each of the entries.
Also, search high and low for receipts. The insurance adjuster will likely ask you for receipts and if you can’t locate them it doesn’t mean you can’t recover. But providing receipts, especially for high dollar items, is another way to make your personal property claim go smoothly.
This process seems incredibly time consuming, but giving this detailed inventory, photographs and receipts to the adjuster from the beginning of the claim will certainly result in a quicker and higher contents payment.