If you have a house fire that causes a lot of damage to your home, you'll need to make a personal property claim to recover from your losses. A good home insurance policy is going to give you two options: to replace the item with no out-of-pocket cost or to take a depreciated cash value of the item if you do not replace it. Here are some tips for making your personal property claim after a house fire.
Visualize The Rooms
If you are in a position where you cannot go through the home, your only option may be to visualize the rooms with your family. Everything you want to claim must be listed on a personal property claim form, and you'll need to think together as a group to write those items down.
You'll want to visualize the room as a group. Start on the north wall and work your way around the room together, listing everything in the room that you can think of. Start to visualize together what was in each drawer so that you do not leave everything out. You would be surprised at what you'll remember when you have others to jog your memory.
Take Photos Of Items
If you are able to go through the home, it will help to take a camera with you rather than a pen and paper. Snap photos of items that are damaged that you need to claim. This allows you to quickly document items and then go back later and write them down when you are at a computer. The photos will also act as proof when you go to file your personal property claim with the insurance adjuster. If there is any doubt as to whether you actually owned a damaged item you are claiming, then you have the photo to back it up.
With your list of items ready to go, you'll need to list what the item's value is. The best way to do this is some simple online searching. You are looking for the depreciated value of what it costs to buy that item today if you were to replace it, not what it costs to buy that at the time it was purchased. If there is no suitable item sold these days, then you need to find the price of a similar item that would replace it.
This gets tricky when it comes to old technology that is not sold today. For example, if you had an old standard-definition TV that was damaged in a house fire, you won't be able to buy the exact same model today. You may need to ask your fire damage insurance claims adjuster what would be the equivalent of that same type of TV today and what it could be replaced with.