We had a huge hailstorm this weekend and water came through the ceiling and damaged a lot of personal property. Many expensive electronic items in family room are beyond repair. The insurance agent says “I need supporting documentation such as receipts cancelled check, etc. showing ownership. I need identification on these items, what kind of desktop, stereo boom box, etc. Where and when purchased? How many and what kind of books?” It is a pain to deal with these questions when you want to get on with your life.
Insurance companies are rightfully wary about excess fraud in claims. It is appropriate for them to demand proof of ownership before they pay. The extent they would seek such documentation depends on the amount of damage, type of items being claimed, previous claims history and also how aggressively the company wants to limit their losses. Your responsibility while filing a claim includes demonstration of proof of ownership.
Sometimes insurance companies use very aggressive tactics. One customer got a call from the ”special investigative unit” of his insurance company. The investigator took the statement and recorded it. During the interrogation they demanded to know the source money for the items bought with cash even though he had sales receipts.
It is in your best interest to fully cooperate with the insurance adjuster and give them all the information you have. Immediately after the damage secure the area and take pictures. Keep the damaged goods in your possession until they are inspected by the insurance company. Possession is 90% of ownership.
The issue is tricky when the loss is due to theft or you don’t have possession of goods. If you bought the items using credit card then it is much easier to check the purchase. If you don’t have the receipts then showing them the warranty papers, registration documents will be a start.
If you have pictures of your living areas prior to the loss from different family events that show the damaged/lost items in daily use then you can use those to establish the ownership. If you show a stereo always in the corner at multiple parties in your home then the insurance company can not dispute the ownership in good faith.
Please visit http://www.ReClaimsInc.com/can-reclaims-help-you for an excellent free tool that helps you find out whether you got full settlement in 5 minutes of less. You will also find additional insights into home insurance claims. You can also ask an expert any questions about your home insurance claim.