Why Virtual Home Inventory?
When you signed your insurance policy, your agent suggested you complete a home inventory. But why? You invested in replacement cost coverage, so you’re covered. But are you?
Not exactly. Regardless of type of coverage or severity of disaster, every insurance claim starts with an inventory of what was lost. But the odds are nothing will go wrong . . . until it does.
When the unthinkable happens and you’re left in the aftermath of a windstorm or house fire, scrambling to create a home insurance inventory for your claim after the fact, chances are valuable information will be forgotten. Without sufficient proof of everything you own, you won’t get true replacement cost or a fair settlement.
That’s when you discover that your home insurance is only as good as your home inventory.
Smart homeowners know recovery depends on how successfully you prepared. Complete documentation of your home and valuables is crucial to receiving the settlement you’re owed. VHI is your solution. Your home inventory is built by an industry professional who knows exactly what documentation you need for your insurance claim.
Our expert inventory service gives you a comprehensive, 3D visual record of your entire home providing the proof your insurer requires to deliver on their promise of replacement cost.
The Reality of Risk
Life’s been good so far. But it’s often unpredictable, and at times, turbulence is unavoidable. Successfully weathering the storm requires planning.
VHI protects you from the real risks of fire, flood, earthquakes, storms, and landslides. No matter what life throws your way, a digital copy of your home provides the documentation you need to identify everything that was destroyed or stolen.
You can quickly file a complete claim, get a proper settlement, and get on with living life.
Costliest Threats to Your Home
Losing Your Home Is More Difficult than You’d Expect
Losing your home is “uniquely painful” because “home is our shell, our sense of place, and our sense of identity,” states Psychology Today. The loss is devastating. Just how devastating is hard to fathom unless you’ve experienced it.
In developing this new service, I listened to people who’ve lost their homes and learned the difficulties they faced are worse than you’d imagine. Rather than help them rebuild their lives and recoup everything taken, the claims process was overwhelming.
During one of the most destabilizing times of your life, your insurer will expect you to rack your memory and dig for partial clues to prove what you owned. Why? Because you must have a home inventory to submit your insurance claim.
VHI’s interactive, and easily accessible, visual record relieves you of undue stress after a major property loss, so you won’t forget valuable items and be stuck with an inadequate settlement.
What People Say about the Claims Process
- Your home is destroyed.
- Your insurer requests an inventory of everything you lost as soon as possible to start your claim.
- Your immediate needs are basics like IDs, phones, access to cash, transportation, shelter, and clothing.
- There’s no time to process what’s happened.
- To move forward, you have to file your insurance claim.
- You need an inventory to file an insurance claim.
- You try writing lists to remember everything you had.
- You sift through the ashes of a lifetime in whatever remains of your home.
- You ask friends for photos and search through any of yours that survived.
- You relive your loss repeatedly.
- Your life is on hold.
- You’re on the phone with the insurance company all day.
- It takes months, if not longer, to create your inventory after the fact.
- Despite all your efforts, your home insurance inventory winds up incomplete because you can’t remember it all under this stress.
- You end up settling for significantly less than the true worth of your home and valuables.
- After you’ve settled, you will remember more belongings you lost, but it’s too late to receive compensation.
Filing a Claim Is More Difficult than You'd Expect
The home insurance claims process seems simple. You create a list of everything you lost, a value is determined for each item, and a total is calculated. Then, you receive a check from your insurer for the replacement cost, and you rebuild and recover.
It should be that easy. It’s not. The initial assessments of your property will be surprisingly low and start endless negotiations with the insurance company. Not surprisingly, the top consumer complaint about home insurance is the claims process—specifically, the low valuations, insufficient settlement offers, and insurer-caused delays.
An insurance claim is a business negotiation with the details buried in your policy’s fine print. If you aren’t prepared, you risk being at a serious disadvantage. Insurers promise you a timely and fair settlement, but they’re interested in minimizing payouts, so they aggressively challenge any claims that don’t have adequate documentation.
Without proof of possession, quality, and condition, you will only get the depreciated actual cash value, not the actual replacement cost they promise.
The Claims Process
You Must Provide a Home Inventory
- To start your claim, you must submit an inventory of everything you lost.
- Your insurer wants all the details you can provide such as brand, style, composition, and serial numbers of every item.
- The more comprehensive your home inventory list, the better your settlement.
- To get replacement cost at the same level of quality, you must provide visual proof of both make and condition.
- You need to prove ownership of top-of-the line cookware, dishware, appliances, electronics, and audiovisual systems.
- You must show you purchased custom-made furniture, high-end window treatments, designer shoes and clothing, and luxury linens.
- You need to account for possession of all your collectibles and artwork.
- Households contain tens of thousands of items.
- After the loss of your home and under stress, you will forget more items than you’d think.
- There is no reimbursement for belongings not listed in the claim.
The Insurance Company Determines Value
- Your insurance company will assess and challenge every item in your claim.
- Artwork, jewelry, and collectibles are subject to limitations in your policy. Unless you purchased additional insurance, you will only be compensated up to the typical limit.
- Without documented proof of possession, you will only receive actual cash value, not full replacement cost.
- Without proof of quality, insurers will choose inferior items and use those to determine replacement cost.
- Proof of condition is considered unsubstantiated without visual documentation.
- Insurers will aggressively depreciate your valuables to determine their actual cash value.
- Insurance companies don’t place the same value on your belongings that you do, especially sentimental items.
- Without a VHI, your settlement will be far below the worth of your possessions.
Your House Is a Separate Settlement
- The negotiation for your house is separate from your personal property settlement.
- Insurers value your home based on how much it will cost to rebuild it exactly as it was and in the same location.
- The more details you can provide about fixtures, finishes, and build quality, the more accurate your settlement.
- Your insurance company must have proof of top-of-the-line and custom cabinetry, flooring, countertops, woodwork, tilework, and masonry.
- Visual documentation is considered substantial proof of quality and condition.
- Without a detailed inventory, you may not get the appropriate replacement cost for the value of your home.
- VHI is a comprehensive, 3D visual record of your entire house and your valuables providing the proof your insurer requires.
Your Life Is on Hold
- The claims process is more drawn-out and stressful than most people anticipate.
- Reaching a settlement can take one to two years of your life, not just a few months.
- The settlements for your property and your house don’t necessarily happen at the same time, and each can take a year or more.
- The first check you receive will be for actual cash value only, not the full replacement cost.
- As you replace your belongings, you submit receipts as proof, and only then will your insurance company issue checks for the remaining replacement cost.
- Your insurer will place time limits on you, and if their deadlines aren’t met, they may no longer be obligated to pay full replacement cost.
- The insurer’s claim process often creates time conflicts and delays with the expectation of patience put on the insured.
- It’s likely you will replace your belongings before your home can be rebuilt, so you will need to find temporary storage.
- A VHI expedites the home insurance claims process, releasing you from living in limbo, so you can get on with your life.
One of our clients said it was her experience with the claims process that made her realize she is “the one responsible for taking care our valuables, and having an inventory fulfills that responsibility.”
Coming prepared with a VHI puts you in a position of control because complete documentation is key to rebuilding your life. With VHI’s thorough record, your adjustor can accurately assess the value of your home and belongings to move ahead with settling your claim fairly.
You’ll get true replacement cost for your property and get what it’s worth.
The Most Effective Way to Document Your Home and Valuables Is Our Virtual Home Inventory Service
Every insurance claim starts with an inventory. Forbes Advisor lists “not having a home inventory” as one of “The Worst Home Insurance Claim Mistakes” because “if you have to work from memory, you’re likely to forget some items and fail to include them in your claim.”
VHI delivers an interactive visual record that is securely stored, backed up, accessible from any device, and sharable with anyone you choose—a complete solution.
Your VHI helps you file your claim quickly because you have critical proof of possession, quality, and condition. With clickable Info Tags, your home’s necessary details and documentation are embedded directly into your VHI, so everything is in one place.
Your full home inventory can be conveniently shared with your insurance adjuster, wealth manager, or estate attorney whenever you need to make a claim or verify your assets. The result is a proper settlement in less time with less hassle.
Be prepared for life’s uncertainties. Our thorough and systematic service provides the required proof and minimizes your risk, so you’re covered. Simple.
When it comes to protecting it all, you shouldn’t have to settle for anything less.