Contents inventory United Policyholders Staff asked 3 years ago
Contents inventory

How do we list personal photos, they have a value for us, especially old replaceable ones.

1 Answers
Jacques Lord Jacques Lord Expert answered 3 years ago

Your question is the heart of the cherished items issue with insurance companies. They are not willing to place a value on cherished items (in our recovery experience). My wife was prepared and we got all our photo albums out, BUT…..we forgot about the photos on the walls and the paintings by family members (some were almost 100 years old). When it came to claiming the photos on the walls they had almost no value as far as content replacement value (Our insurer was and is USAA). Frames only. SO we got pricing from Michael’s on similar-sized high end frames and nice matting, and the adjuster was OK with something he could document. The paintings we could show replacement value if there were other paintings by the same artist for sale. When they weren’t available in the current market, we put together as much internet info we could find on the artist and made the case it was similar to Mr. XYZ, who sells paintings for $XXX. Family photos and other “cherished” items had no significant replacement value that the insurance CO would agree to in our situation. So we found other (appropriate and applicable) ways to get the content $$ number up. IT was a LOT of work, it was ethical and ultimately successful. For every object that we could purchase online we searched for a fair price that was on the high side of average. We did this for furniture, clothing, rugs, jewelry, my mineral collection, my tools EVERYTHING. IF we had video or any evidence from friends’ photos or neighbors’ photos (landscaping, patio furniture, bikes, anything) We had to do the homework (it was exhausting) but we got little to no argument from USAA. The adjuster can take documentation to his boss and say “This is what they had and the total value was $XXX” The adjuster cannot get any $$$ out of his company for sentimental value. We also learned that the $$$ we estimated off the top of our head rather than eBAY was almost always too low.It stinks but we learned to play the game by their rules in order to get close to what we felt was due us. Once you detach yourself from wanting to be compensated for the cherished items and simply do what you can do within reason to get compensated in the total amount, you will make progress towards getting this recovery process behind you, and THAT is the real goal. To get back to “normal” life. We are almost 98% thereafter 5 years. I hope this helps, God bless and stay strong, Jacques