Ensuring your insured value

We recently received a very distressed late-night call from a client who reported that her house was on fire. Luckily, she had managed to get out with the family and their pets. She sent a video clip from her phone and explained how quickly it had happened. There was nothing we could do but wait for the fire brigade to arrive and quench the blaze.

After the fire comes the claim, and insurers will ask for proof of the items being claimed for. But what happens if all the proof has been burnt in the fire? Think about all the historic valuation certificates, photos, invoices and videos lost in the fire which would assist in quantifying the claim which are now totally destroyed. How do you prove your claim?

We recommend that you consider the following actions that will assist you in the event of a catastrophic, Householders claim:

  1. Create and maintain an inventory of your household items and keep an electronic copy of this, or backup into the Cloud. Whilst this might appear to be an onerous task, it will be worth it in the long run. An inventory is a list that records all your items, serial numbers, when and where you purchased the item and how much it cost. It is recommended that you list your items room by room. Update your inventory annually, to include new household items purchased through the year and to update all the values to current replacement prices. We can refer you to a professional Household Inventory and valuation service if you request.
  2. Keep copies of receipts and invoices for household items purchased. Scan these in and keep them with the inventory.
  3. Take photographs or videos of the different rooms in your home. This may go some way to establishing what was in the rooms and that you were in possession of the items that you are claiming for. It also provides you with a visual memory of the items that were in the different rooms. Close up and good quality photographs which include the make, model and serial numbers may be helpful.
  4. Have your jewellery valued by a jeweller and your valuable carpets and artwork valued by a reputable dealer.

It is also very important to consider your sum insured. This should reflect the current replacement value of everything that you own. If your sum insured is not sufficient, average could be applied in the event of a claim. For example:

You have a claim for R100 000. Your sum insured is R250 000, but it should be R500 000. You are only 50% insured. You will only be entitled to 50% of the claim.

If you have any concerns or queries about your cover, contact your broker for professional assistance.