Pictures & Insurance Policies

If you are ever in the unfortunate position to have to make a claim against your insurance, how will you prove to the insurance company that you really did have that wide-screen TV? Or that brand new set of skis? Or that beautiful new china set?

Well, nothing works as well as a picture.

If you want to be sure that you can collect on your policy when you need to, you should be taking pictures of everything you own. If you own your home and it's structure as well, don't forget to include that in the photos! You arent doing this for aesthetic value. You are doing this to have a visual documentation of your belongings and your home, so that it doesn't become a matter of your word against your insurance company.

While you are documenting your home, please don't forget your basement. The basement is full of hidden treasures that we all tend to forget about. Frankly, the pictures of your basement are not necessarily going to be pretty (especially if it looks anything like mine), but you want a clear record of all your belongings and not just those that you are willing to show off to the world.

Keep in mind that most policies are only going to provide you with actual cost value as opposed to replacement value for any of the contents. This means that you will get a depreciated amount for your belongings and not the full amount required to replace them. However, if you happen to have replacement value insurance, it's even more important to fully document what you own. Why? Because even those forgotten items in the basement are part of your full insurance claim and including them can mean thousands more (assuming that your policy coverage limit's are not exceeded).

If you arent one for taking photos, how about video? A video recording can also provide an excellent record of your home and contents. Be sure to go into closets and film from ceiling to floor. After all, sometimes things are left on the floor, or are tucked away on high shelves away from the hands of your children.

If you've got expensive light fixtures or fans on the ceiling, don't forget those! These items are also part of your home and it's contents.

One final and important word: Once you have your home and belongings catalogued on film, whether print or video, be sure to keep a copy of the record in a fireproof safe or even off premises. A safety deposit box at your local bank can be a great location to keep this valuable film. Why? Because if your home is completely destroyed, you want to be able to retrieve your pictures or video as a first step in completing a claim.

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