Preparing Yourself for a Property Insurance Claim

The last thing we like to think about – or prepare for – is a catastrophic event that could result in a home insurance claim. But the reality is that theft, fires, and other not-so-nice events do happen on a regular basis, as you probably know from family and friends who have experienced them. If you have home insurance, you may be covered, but a successful claim requires a bit of work on your part.


Home Inventory

We all keep receipts from large purchases and have a good idea of the valuables we have in our home. But in order to process an insurance claim, your insurance company will need proof of your ownership of these valuables. If you don’t have a detailed home inventory, it may affect your ability to process the claim.

You can take advantage of a free online tool set up by the Insurance Information Institute at or visit our website’s Resource section for printable forms, to obtain a copy of a property inventory list.  If you’re uncomfortable sharing this information with a third party website, you can also set up an Excel file that catalogues the contents of each room of your house, along with pictures and receipts for each item.

Upload your spreadsheet and pictures to DropBox, Google Drive, or any one of the free cloud storage options available. This ensures that your information is accessible even in the event of a fire that could destroy your precious receipts. Contact your insurance broker before setting this up to see if your insurance company places more weight on specific pieces of information, and ask questions like if they need to have original copies of receipts. If they do, you may want to invest in a safety deposit box at your bank or a fire safe.

Taking videos of each room of your home is easy to do with a smart-phone. If it’s possible to insert a time-stamp into each video, do it. Store the videos alongside all of your receipts and photos online so you just need to pull everything from one place in the event of a claim.

A claim requires you to put together this information for the claims adjuster anyway, so doing it before the fact while purchases are still fresh and receipts are present is a much better idea.


Replacement Cost Better Than Actual Cash Value

There are two settlement options available for the contents of your home; Actual Cash Value or Replacement Cost. Actual Cash Value covers the depreciated cash value of what you own. Replacement Cost allows you to buy an equivalent item at retail. Be sure to ask your broker to explain your policy in detail so you can make an informed decision.


Know your limits

Property policies carry limits for certain categories, such as jewellery, electronics, fine arts and sporting goods. After putting together your home inventory, consider the values of the items that may put you over the limit in one of these categories. You should contact your broker to discuss these special limits and available options to increase.

Insurance brokers can be of great assistance if you do need to make a claim. They’ll provide professional advice and are always there to help if you have any questions about your insurance. Contact Drayden today to get an Alberta insurance broker on your side.


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