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Our office receives several calls daily from claimants needing insurance claim help for various types of property claims. Some people are ready to hire a public adjuster while others want information on how to settle their homeowner or business insurance claims on their own.

Inquiries pertaining to recoverable depreciation with personal property and content items in the fire insurance claim process are one of the most frequent types of call we receive, and rightfully so. The issue can be confusing and frustrating for people who are unfamiliar with insurance claims.

On Tuesday we received an all-too-familiar- call at our main public adjuster office in Tampa, FL. An electrical fire in February 2015 nearly destroyed the caller’s home in Slidell, LA. After 7 months, she had only been paid a small fraction of her fire claim’s value. She was rightfully upset and confused.

The issue of recoverable depreciation was the main source of contention between the homeowner and her insurance company. Upon first look, our claim adjuster thought her insurance company unfairly applied high depreciation. But equally unfortunate were the avoidable and costly mistakes the claimant made during the early stages of the fire insurance claim process.

What is Recoverable Depreciation in the Insurance Claim Process?

Recoverable depreciation is the term used to explain the dollar amount withheld by an insurance company until the claimant can prove he or she replaced or repaired items associated with a claim.

Since insurance companies use a two-step payment process for issuing settlements, there are ways to get fully compensated for your personal property claim ASAP and avoid delays involving recoverable depreciation.

As public adjusters, we know how to proactively navigate the insurance claim process and how to avoid missteps and mistakes that can lead to claim delays, denials and withheld settlements. Ideally, a claimant should consult with a trusted public adjuster prior to submitting documentation such contents/ personal property inventories, a proof of loss form, or prior to agreeing to anything with the insurance company.

Tips on How to Get Recoverable Depreciation Paid

Here are tips for getting your recoverable depreciation and personal property claim paid as quickly as possible in the event of a near or total loss. You will find these tips helpful for a fire insurance claim as well as all other insured claim types such as a claim for water damage.

  • Request a certified copy of your insurance policy and locate the “Recoverable Depreciation” clause. All homeowner insurance policies contain this provision. This section will explain what documents you need to submit and how recoverable depreciation will be handled.

  • Submit your own personal property inventory to the insurance company. Use a spreadsheet and include the item description, cost paid, age, quantity, brand and a link to a similar item found online. This is perhaps the most important part of a fire insurance claim.

  • **You need to legitimately maximize the dollar amount of your personal property inventory. This means that everything that was damaged or lost needs to be inventoried- from toothpicks and toilet paper to couches and combs.

  • **Most importantly, do not prematurely conclude your inventory once your total meets your policy limits for personal property. In order to avoid having your insurance company “hold back” the depreciated amount or require you to submit additional documentation, the total value of your personal property inventory should exceed your personal property/contents policy limit by 25-30%.

*This is where a trusted and experienced public adjuster can make a significance difference in valuing and documenting a contents claim for fire damage.

Lastly, it’s important to be aware of the laws of your state which pertain to the valuation of personal property. As public adjusters in Florida, we must take into consideration and advantage of the “broad evidence rule.” This rule allows supporting data to be taken from various sources of information to establish the replacement cost value of a damage item.

An experienced public adjuster can make a big difference in valuating and documenting personal property / contents claims. Contact us with questions you have about recoverable depreciation, a fire insurance claim, a water damage insurance claim or anything else pertaining to the insurance claim process. Our public adjusters in Houston, Tampa and many other cities and states are available to talk 24 hours a day by calling (800) 572-7914