Making Sure You Get Reimbursed by Your Renter's Insurance Company
Your Renter's Insurance Personal Property List
Renter's Insurance is a great way to keep your items protected. I have to admit, when I rented I did not buy renter's insurance because I did not think I needed it. That was before I became a licensed insurance agent and learned about the risks I was taking.
Renter's Insurance Protects More than You May Think
Besides protecting the items in my apartment from theft, vandalism, fire and other damage, I would have also had liability protection which is invaluable. If someone would have gotten hurt in my apartment, I would have been liable and there was no way I would have been able to afford to pay large amounts of medical bills or even court costs.
Now that hopefully I have talked you into getting renter's insurance or at least contacting an insurance company for a renter's insurance quote, if you don't already have it (you smart people out there that do have it already... way to go!), let me help you make sure that if you have a loss you get your items reimbursed by your renter's insurance.
Documentation = Getting Reimbursed by Your Renter's Insurance Company
You can't get reimbursed by your renter's insurance company for things you can't remember or things that had more value than the insurance company thinks it had. The solution is documentation. Documentation is a two step process: Written and Video.
In today's world of cheap camcorders there is no reason why everyone should not have video documentation of their apartment and everything in it. If you don't own your own camcorder, I am sure you know of someone who does and can borrow it for a few hours. Written documentation needs to be done in addition to your video documentation. The insurance company will use your written documentation to reimburse you and your video for proof of items if needed. So, here is how to do your renter's insurance documentation:
The 2 Step Documentation Process:
1. First, make a written list of everything you own.
It is easiest to do this by writing each room's name (dining room, bedroom, etc.) at the top of a sheet of paper. Put all of your "room papers" on a clipboard and then go to each room and start writing down everything that you would want to be reimbursed for. If something in a room has a particular value, note more information about it (such as an old ring from your grandma). Write down how much you paid for each item because if you have a replacement cost policy (which you should have), you will get reimbursed for what you paid for the item. Attach receipts if you still have them. Also, if you have some items that are worth a lot, check to make sure that they are currently covered on your renter's insurance policy. Some items, such as jewelry, firearms, and business equipment, have coverage limits but you can check with your insurance company about adding additional coverages.
2. Next, you need to take the camcorder and go over all the things you put on the list.
I know this sounds so boring but you will thank yourself in the event of a total loss. Just talk through the video as if you were taking someone through your apartment for the first time and they wanted to see everything you had... or better yet, pretend like you are taking the insurance company through your apartment to prove to them everything you had (that might give you more incentive). When you are done it is best to make another copy of the room papers and video and keep one in your car and one set at a friend's or relative's house. Don't forget to update your list and video regularly when you purchase new items. Now the fun part (what, you didn't think there was a fun part?), when you are all done go buy yourself a treat since you just made it through one of the most boring, but productive, times of your life (hey, when it comes to insurance you have to add your own fun!).