Personal Property Losses

When you suffer from a loss usually some personal property or belongings are damaged. Generally the insured is required to create a list of all the damaged items affected by the loss. When you send this list to your insurance company they will create their own list complete with depreciation. Here is a worst case scenario that could happen with just one item.

We’ll use a bookshelf for an example. Perhaps you spent $500 on this piece of furniture 5 years ago. One of the first and easily missed problems is a MISSING ITEM. With thousands of items on a normal contents inventory it is easy for your adjuster to “miss” an item. At Lucas Professional Advocates we will not only create a contents inventory for you, we will check over each item your adjuster lists in his/her contents inventory to ensure it matches ours. When an item comes up “missing” we make sure it is added to the list.

Another issue often seen is the insurer cleaning items which are NOT ABLE TO BE FIXED BY CLEANING. Many people are fooled into thinking that a simple wipe down will fix plastics, fabrics, electronics and other types of items. Though it may appear to be “clean”, many of the items are not. Smoke is corrosive to electronic components and plastics are porous, which will always hold the smell of smoke. This is one of the many reasons you should call Lucas Professional Advocates; to make sure your personal property is taken care of appropriately. The bookcase we are using as an example has been discolored by the smoke. Simply cleaning the bookcase will not fix this problem. It must be replaced. Property Adjuster Associates will get this done for you.

Now that the bookcase has been agreed upon for replacement it is added to the contents inventory from your adjuster. The next problem we often see is items being UNDER VALUED. Though you paid $500 dollars for this bookcase, insurance policies often offer REPLACEMENT COST. This means you will receive the value of what it costs to replace (or purchase the item today), and not what you paid for it 5 years ago. Often your adjuster will try to find items that appear to match your item, but at a substantially lower cost. Let’s take a look at our example. It would be easy to find another bookcase for around $200; however the quality would not match. This $500 bookcase will by no means be equivalent to a $200 bookcase in terms of quality, but this is often done by adjusters claiming to have found an item that matches the item lost. At Lucas Professional Advocates we research each item to find an appropriate replacement for your items. This helps you get the money you deserve.
Once an agreement is made on the value of the items, the next problem is often EXCESS DEPRECIATION. Because you have the right to replace or not replace each item, the insurance company protects itself a bit. By giving you a portion of the money to replace each item the insurance company will try to limit the amount paid to a client. You must replace each item to receive the holdback for that item. This leads to factoring depreciation into your contents inventory. To explain this lets look back to our example. Let’s say that we have agreed with the adjuster on a value of $500 to replace the bookcase. This is known as RCV, or replacement cost. When you receive a check for your bookcase the amount is going to be lower than RCV. The adjuster has depreciated your bookcase due to age. This value is known as ACV, or actual cash value. Though the adjuster is entitled to do this, often times the depreciation is in excess. Let’s look at our bookcase example again. The ACV offered by the adjuster is $250. This is 50% of the value. This bookcase is 5 years old and still has decades before it is worn to 50% of its replacement cost. Lucas Professional Advocates will take care of this as well. We are well versed in the proper depreciation of items and will not let you get ripped off.

Another major problem we see is HOLDBACK ISSUES. When you go out to purchase this bookcase, keep your receipt. Let’s say you found two replacement possibilities. One bookcase is being sold for $450 and another for $600. After solving our previous problems the adjuster has agreed to an ACV of $400. Here you would have 3 choices. Your first choice would be to walk away with $400. In this case you would never see your holdback, but you would have $400 to spend where you see fit. Another choice is to buy the $450 bookcase. Once you send in your receipt you will get a check for $50, the difference between the cost and your ACV. Your third option would be to purchase the $600 bookcase. In this situation you would receive $100 after submitting your receipt to the insurance company. The reason you would not be reimbursed the full amount is because the RCV was only $500. When submitting your receipts it is easy to lose track of the amount you should receive for holdback reimbursement when you are replacing hundreds of items. It is easy to get items mixed up or missed altogether when dealing with this portion of your claim. Property Adjuster Associates will take care of all of your holdback reimbursement issues. Just give us the receipts and we will match them to the proper items on your contents inventory to ensure you get every penny you deserve.

Though this example is a worst case scenario, any number of these issues can happen to you. Make sure you protect yourself throughout your insurance claim. You’ve already suffered one loss. Don’t lose twice. Contact us to see how we can help you.


To set up a consultation, call us today at (800) 852-8041.

“Ryan and his team increased the amount offered by the insurance company substantially!” – Kim, (Manchester, NH)