If you have suffered a total loss, thinking about how much you have really lost can seem like a daunting task that you would rather avoid and put off to keep you from dwelling on what you lost. This is a stressful and time-consuming task that has to be filled out accurately to ensure you get the amount you are owed by your insurance company. These are some tips to help you get through this challenging paperwork.
Make a Diagram
Start by making a diagram of the house and draw in things like your furniture as you go. This can help get you thinking about exactly what you had in each room. It does not need to be to scale or anything, just draw the basic shapes of the rooms and add in details as you go.
Do it One Room at a Time
Focus on a single room at a time; if you try to split up your focus too much, you will get overwhelmed. Pick a corner of the room and start there. Select only a few things at a time and put them on a flat surface, like a table or counter, and take your photos. Make sure everything is clearly visible in the photos. Repeat this until you finish the room; then move onto the next and the next, until you are finished.
This can be one of the most difficult and time-consuming parts of this process. You now have to list off all of your items from the photos, writing down the brand, age, condition, cost, and quantity if you have more than one. Family and friends can help jog your memory about items in your home, things that may not have been recognizable in the damages. They also might have photos from the inside of your home to help prove ownership.
If you saved your receipts from your bigger purchases, you are in luck; you have the exact amount you paid for things and how old they are since the date is on the receipt too. If you are someone who does a lot of online shopping, there are plenty of receipts in your inbox or online accounts to help. Your credit card and bank statements can also help you construct a list of the lost items, what you paid, and when.
If you do not have receipts, you will need to find the value online, of it or similar items. One way you can do this is to go onto a wedding registry tool and finding the items you lost, or ones like it. This can help give you a detailed list to provide to your insurance. Make sure you note the replacement costs for your items too, so your insurance knows what you may need.
For things like books, clothing, movies, and video games, that you may have a ton of, it is hard to pinpoint what you should go off of for your replacement costs.
If Overwhelmed, Ask for Help
If you are feeling overwhelmed by all of this, which is a common response to this kind of situation, hiring a public adjuster can be greatly beneficial for you. A public adjuster can help you organize everything in your loss inventory and make the process a lot smoother overall. Public adjusters are licensed experts who can advocate for your behalf with your insurance company, and make sure you get the maximum amount your insurance carrier owes you.