Fire season is officially upon us here in Southern California. With thoughts of fire season, come thoughts of insurance and whether we have the appropriate coverage to cover our belongings. Most insurance policies require that you provide an inventory when you file a claim. Your inventory will need to include proofs of purchase such as receipts and often insurance companies will also ask for pictures of the items that have been lost.
Photographical inventories are regarded as the most exhaustive and reliable form to evidence the condition of the items before the loss. Insurance agents will often advise that a color photograph is take, in good lighting and labeled. A good way to ensure that you receive appropriate coverage is to include a purchase price and date with the photo and sometimes even a family member or other person to validate that it is an actual photo taken by you. Include items in and around your home and take care to include items in vaults, safes and safe deposit boxes.
It is not enough to make the inventory, but also to have several copies of it (both electronically and in paper), should you need to provide it to insurance agents.
Finally, make sure to keep this inventory list up to date and include new purchases or gifts as you get them.
While sentimental value can not be replaced by insurance, taking these steps should ensure that you receive meaningful compensation for the physical items you have lost.