What to Do If You Have A Property Claim

How to maximize your recovery and ensure a smooth claim process:

  1. Take photos of the damage
  2. Protect your property from further damage – this may entail some temporary repairs
  3. Do not allow the disposal of any damaged property until the claim is settled
  4. You, the insured, control who can do temp repairs or mitigate cleaning. You have the right to approve anyone who works on your property
  5. Can you still occupy the premises? If not make arrangements for temporary accommodations
  6. List and inventory the damaged items – remember it is your responsibility to prove your claim
  7. Identify items damaged by Make or Model # if available – if possible use an Excel spreadsheet
  8. Pricing of the items can be found on the internet – remember we want the current replacement cost value of the item
  9. Remember you are paid on the replacement cost value only if you replace the item, otherwise you only receive the depreciated actual cash value
  10. Document every phone call, email or contact with the insurance company and adjuster
  11. Do not sign any documents that state it is final payment of the claim
  12. Consider hiring a public adjuster if the claim is too large or complicated. The public adjuster represents your interests
  13. You have the right to request a new adjuster or any expert the insurance carrier sends out if you are not comfortable with the level of expertise
  14. Always be in attendance when the adjuster visits
  15. Always get permissions granted by the insurance adjuster in writing
  16. Request a copy of the adjuster’s report to the insurance company
  17. Always insist on the level of quality and tradesmen who built the house or certain parts of it. You are not required to accept lesser quality.
  18. If you feel you are getting the runaround, seek out the department of insurance and or local attorney who specializes in property insurance claims



Question: What is Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost?

Actual Cash Value is a method of valuation that recognizes the reduction of value of property as it gets older and becomes subject to wear and tear. Actual Cash Value is calculated by taking the current replacement cost and subtracting depreciation.

Replacement cost is the cost to replace damaged property with like kind and quality at today’s price, without any deduction for depreciation. Following a loss, it may provide the insured a settlement in excess of the property’s actual cash value.

Here is a quick claim scenario: You have a fire in your home and you made a claim to your insurance company and your deductible has been paid. You are now replacing your damaged furnishings, including the $1000 sofa your purchased 5 years ago. If you have actual cash value, the company might give you $500 because that is the actual cost of that particular sofa today. If you have replacement cost coverage, the company will pay $1,200 because that is what it would cost to buy a similar sofa today.

What kind of coverage do you have on your South Carolina Home Insurance?