Proving Ownership for Insurance Coverage
If you make an insurance claim, you will need to tell your insurance company what was lost. During the process, after coverage is confirmed in your insurance policy, you will be asked to detail the items.
If your mountain bike was stolen, it might be a simple case of finding the invoice for purchasing the bike. Then sending the invoice to a Claims Examiner as proof and replacing the bike.
Showing proof of ownership becomes more complicated when you are dealing with a significant loss, like a kitchen fire. The emotional toll of a big loss can be heavy. It may even seem like a burden to list items and show ownership for them. Although some work is necessary, your insurer will need detail to make fair payment.
Defining Proof of Ownership
Proof of ownership means any document that shows you owned an item. It could include specific details about the item such as price and description.
What Does Proof of Ownership Look Like
You can show proof of ownership in many ways. If you have experienced a total loss, you may not have any physical proof like receipts, but digital proof including emails and photos can also be presented. Read on for a list of common ways to show you own an item.
Receipts and Invoices
One of the most common ways to show proof of ownership is to provide a receipt or invoice. It can be a printed piece of paper from a retail shop, an email attachment, or a download from an online store.
Bank and Credit Card Statements
Review your banking and credit card statements to confirm the value of items you own.
Many shipping notices will include exact details of products in the shipment. If there is a product name, description, and price, you can submit a shipping notice to your insurer.
High price items like jewellery and antiques may be appraised to confirm their value. An appraisal is a very helpful document to submit for your insurance claim.
Any photo, whether digital or printed, can help prove ownership. Scan your social media profiles, photo albums, and cloud storage to find proof of your property.
Warranty and Product Manuals
Home appliances, tools, electronics, beauty tools, and other products may come with a warranty or a product manual. Either can be used as proof of ownership.
If you received an item as a gift, you could document it with original manuals or photos. If possible, you can also ask the giver for the original receipt.
Why You Have to Provide Proof
Proof will help the Claims Examiner determine a fair payment for the item you lost. It also confirms you owned the item.
Some items are harder to verify than others, especially when that item was purchased five, ten, or 25 years ago. Insurance companies use common sense and take many factors into consideration during the claim process.
Think Ahead, Make a Home or Farm Inventory
Consider making an inventory to keep record of the stuff on your home or farm. If a loss happens to you, there will be a list already drafted to help you make a claim. A home inventory can also help you and your insurance broker choose the right limits for your insurance needs!
While everyone can benefit from making an inventory list, it can be invaluable in the event of a loss if you are a:
- Hobbyist with special items like paints and tools for miniatures and models
- Tool enthusiast with a shop, barn, and garage full hand tools, pneumatic tools, and power tools
- At-home chef with top-of-the-line cookware and appliances like a pizza oven, sub-zero fridge, and stand mixer.
Write a List
It doesn’t need to be complicated, use a pen and notebook or open the notes app on your phone. Choose one room and write down all the items and estimated value of each one.
If writing doesn’t work for you, film the room using your smartphone and narrate the items and estimated value.
Once a year, take photos of your property. Your photo checklist should include:
- Each room of your home, you can also photograph opened drawers or closets storing your property
- Any garage, tool shed, or detached private structure
- Any farm machinery or structures like barns or bins
Make a Copy
If you have a paper inventory, make sure you have a digital record of your inventory and photos.
Both paper and digital inventory lists should be backed up on your preferred cloud storage solution. You can also make a copy on an external hard drive.