Fire season is upon us in California and it’s time to be prepared. As a personal property appraiser, I’d like to offer the following tips on protecting your valuable possessions prior to a disaster:
- Photograph and inventory the contents of your home. You can do it yourself or hire a professional home inventory company.
- Check with your insurer to see what your policy covers, whether you have an Actual Cash Value or Replacement Value policy and what might need to be appraised. Many items are not covered on standard insurance policies, such as breakage and earthquake damage. You may need to purchase an extra policy for valuable articles.
- Antiques, collections, art and other high value personal property should be appraised for replacement value.
- Select an independent appraiser from a major appraisal society such as the International Society of Appraisers, who has been designated and tested.
- Keep one copy of the appraisal in a separate location from the home, e.g. safety deposit box, insurance company, relative, on-line storage.
- Have the appraisal updated approximately every five (5) years.
- It’s much better to have your items documented in advance, than to try to deal with a loss claim after the fact.
Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover You If Disaster Hits? , Sandra Block, USA Today
Antique Insurance Coverage: What Antique Collectors Need to Know to SafeGuard Their Treasures, Insurance Information Institute
Is Your Home Fire Safe?, Insurance Information Network of California