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The recent Alabama tornadoes bring to mind a situation most of us are not well prepared for. If all of your personal property is blown away by a tornado or reduced to ashes by a fire, your homeowner’s insurance policy promises to pay for it. That’s the good news.

The bad news is you have to make a list of everything you lost…..everything from the big stuff like your refrigerator and flat screen TV, down to your toothbrush and the half empty bottle of ketchup in the refrigerator. It’s easy to write down the major items, but could you remember how many pairs of socks were in the sock drawer or what exactly was in the fishing tackle box?

You probably have hundreds, maybe thousands, of individual items in your home. How would you even remember what you lost?  We suggest pictures. Walking around with a camera that takes either still photos or a video will provide you with pictures to jog your memory. They will also help convince any doubting claims adjuster that you actually owned what you are claiming.

People often ask if they need to keep and show receipts or other documentation for everything. Lack of receipts is almost never a problem for ordinary property most people would be expected to have. But we do suggest taking extra steps to document unusual or high value items. And of course, those pictures and other records should be kept somewhere where the fire or tornado won’t destroy them too.  

Posted 8:06 AM  View Comments

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