When something goes wrong, panic can set in. You may not always know what to do, what not to do, or who to call. And when it comes to your home, you want to do whatever you can to avoid having those moments.
The Law Offices of Jonathan Wheeler are here to help. Here is a short guide to things you can do so you are prepared when something goes wrong.*
1. Inventory Your Home With Photographs
If you were to have a fire at your home right now, how many of your items do you think you could remember from memory? 50%? 75%? I can tell you this after seeing thousands of claims: you will not remember as much as you think.
When an insurance company gets involved, they are going to ask you to make a detailed list of the contents you had. They will ask you for a lot of information; the more you are able to give, the better.
It’s important to note that just because you don’t remember everything about an item (where you bought it, how long you have had it, how much it cost, etc.) doesn’t mean the insurance company owes you nothing for it.
We recently worked on a case where the insurance company arbitrarily decided items that were worth over $400 needed documentation to prove you owned them. Do you have proof of every purchase you have made over $400? Most people don’t. We fought the insurance company to get our client the money they deserved for their property.
Naturally, the point is to avoid this hassle from the get-go. So, once a year, walk around your home and take photos of each room. Save them on your computer and hope you never need to use them.
2. Install Home Sensors
Technology is really amazing. Who would have imagined that the average person could afford their own personal drone to take HD video, or a cell phone that can double as virtual reality goggles?
Advancements in technology go far beyond the “toys” that we buy today. Home monitoring tech is just as impressive…and much more important to own.
There are actually water sensors that can be placed in a basement, below a sink, or under a dishwasher. If the sensor detects a leak, you get a notification on your phone. Pair that with an automatic shutoff valve, and voila! You have a “smart home” that can detect a leak the moment it happens, and automatically shut off the water supply, protecting your home from a flood without the need to even lift a finger.
Spend an afternoon doing a bit of research into home sensors or other smart tech that can help you protect your home from things that you otherwise wouldn’t notice. Stop the problem before it starts, and you’ll practically eliminate your chances of ever getting in a fight over damages with your insurance company.
3. Know Your Insurance Policy
Keep an eye on our blog in the coming weeks. I will be writing a number of posts about the importance of understanding your insurance policy.
In those posts, I’ll discuss endorsements that may help protect you, endorsements that may hurt you, the difference between Replacement Cost Value and Actual Cash Value, and much more.
For now, the best thing I can advise you to do is to make yourself aware that not everything is covered under your policy. Having insurance doesn’t mean that you’ll get a payout for every single thing that happens to your home. This is why it’s important to read through your policy if you can.
We understand that insurance policies can be overwhelming to read, and it’s often quite difficult to understand the language used in them. This is done intentionally, so that the average person can’t fully understand what they’re covered for and what they aren’t.
If you have questions, want to know how to better protect yourself, or just need help understanding your coverage under your policy, give us a call. We’ve seen almost every policy out there…we can help.
*Disclaimer*: Most people do not know to take these steps. But don’t worry, just because you haven’t done these things doesn’t mean your insurance company can deny your claim.