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Why did my insurance refuse to pay replacement cost for everything I lost?

Homeowner policies have "dollar limits" on certain types of belongings. Generally, these limits are on silverware, guns, jewelry, watches, furs, and computers. You need to talk to your insurance agent about increasing limits for these items.

Claim Tips

  • Check with your agent to see if the company would prefer to send an adjuster to your home or to send you a claim form ("proof of loss" form) to complete first. Even if the adjuster comes first, the more information you can provide — descriptions of damaged items, photographs of the undamaged items, dates of purchase, replacement costs, etc. — the faster your claim can be processed.
  • Take photographs of the damaged items if possible. Write down brand names and model numbers of appliances and electronic equipment. If your home suffered extensive damage and you do not have an inventory of contents, sit down and list the different things of value that were in different rooms.
  • Examine your property: Structural damage may include garages, tool sheds or swimming pools. Make a list of things to show the adjuster when he/she visits. It might include cracks in the walls, damage to ceilings, missing roof tiles.
  • Do not try to pass off previous damage as something that just occurred. Adjusters can tell the difference. But if you are not certain, point it out and make it clear that you had NOT noticed it before.
  • Your homeowner/tenant policy does not cover flood damage, which includes runoff and seepage. But it does cover some other kinds of water damage. Rain that enters the home through a broken window or hole in the roof caused by a covered peril (wind or falling tree limbs) is covered. Check with your agent if you have questions.