A major problem insureds regularly face after suffering a loss of any kind is documenting their contents claim. Most people do not keep receipts or detailed lists of all contents of their homes and proving proof of your lost contents can become very difficult. Even if you keep a list, it is entirely possible that the list was lost along with all of the property.

The standard and most commonly used Homeowner’s Insurance Policy, the H03, has sub-limits that provide a limit on the value of any item of personal property that the insurance company will pay. Often, this sub-limit is insufficient to replace your valuables.

Insureds can protect themselves in a few different ways. The first is getting separate insurance riders for high value items. If you have jewelry or fine art, its good practice to have the items appraised and submitting the appraisals to their carriers and asking that they add a rider to their homeowner’s insurance policy for those items. Adding a rider to your insurance policy will ensure that any loss you unfortunately sustain will be properly paid by the insurance company.

Homeowners should also consider hiring an appraiser to come out and put a value to your property. Homeowners can then add the appraisal to the rider on their insurance policy for full proof and documentation.

Second, some insurance carriers are providing iPhone and Android Apps to assist with the documentation of the contents of your home. For example, Allstate provides their Digital Locker, State Farm has HomeIndex and Liberty Mutual has Home Gallery. Additionally, there are other third party apps which also help you document your home’s contents. Each app works differently but the basics are the same: take photos of each room of your home, list the items in each room, and add receipts. Time consuming, yes, but invaluable if a loss occurs.

If you are having issues with your insurance company, such as they are not paying on a contents claim, make sure you consult an experienced insurance professional.

As always, I’ll leave you with a (mildly) related tune, here’s The Doors with Riders on the Storm: