Recently, a fire caused substantial damage to my client’s residence and destroyed all of his personal property. This type of loss are the most emotionally difficult to navigate because they are life changing. All my client wants is his life back to normal.

It is always difficult to explain to a client the precautionary steps should have taken before the catastrophe struck. I mean, doesn’t everyone keep all of their receipts? Doesn’t everyone take an annual inventory of what they own and have corresponding photographs?

If you don’t, you need to. One of the most important things every policyholder can do is to take an inventory of their personal property and include costs.

To make your job easier, I have attached a link to a Home Inventory Worksheet provided by United Policyholders. This checklist is easy to complete and will likely improve the adjusting process if disaster strikes. Keep receipts of your major purchases and even attach pictures of your property to your checklist.

Just as important, is verifying that you have enough coverage for your personal property. Again, your Home Inventory Checklist can help ensure that you do. When your policy is up for renewal, take your Home Inventory Checklist to your agent and make sure that sufficient coverage is provided for under your policy. Policyholders should also consider whether they want to pay additional premium for replacement cost value coverage rather than actual cash value coverage. If you opt for replacement cost value coverage, the carrier will not depreciate the value of your personal property in adjusting your claim. It is a wonderful option provided for by carriers to help policyholders put their lives back together after a catastrophic event. For a more thorough discussion of replacement cost coverage, you can read my prior posts, Understanding the Importance of "Replacement Cost Value" Coverage, and Understanding the Importance of "Replacement Cost Value" Coverage, Part Two.

There are many other precautionary steps policyholders can take to help their carriers adjust their claims promptly and fairly. Take the time to consult with a qualified insurance professional now, before a peril strikes.