Do I Need Receipts For Everything In My Home If I Have A Total Loss?

Jul 26, 2022 | Personal Insurance

Not everyone saves their receipts when they purchase things. Others lose or misplace them. But are they needed when you file home insurance claims, especially for Total Loss? Also, what if I don’t have receipts for the insurance claim?

What is a total loss, and what if I don’t have receipts for the insurance claim? 

An actual total loss is when an insured house is destroyed or damaged. This is a qualified peril because the house can no longer be habitable. And it needs to be rebuilt all over again from the ground. In this case, more often than not, having a totaled house will give your insurance company the maximum settlement based on your insurance policy. 

In the event of a total loss, do you need receipts for everything in your house to present to your insurance company during a claim? 

The answer is YES! 

Generally, basic homeowners policy requires the insured party to inventory damaged personal property. This includes the actual cash value, amount of loss, descriptions, and quantity and the bills, receipts, documents, and proofs to back up the presented inventory.

Moreover, the insured person’s duties include cooperation with the insurance company’s investigation of the total loss claim. If the insured fails to cooperate, that can be considered a breach of duty to cooperate and can lead to denial of the claim. 

What happens if you lose all the receipts?

Having a Total Loss is mostly, more often than not, caused by severe perils like fire and flood. If such perils happened, all your receipts and documents would probably be gone together with your house. But you don’t need to worry. Generally, there is no rule in the homeowners’ insurance policy that a claim will automatically be denied if you cannot present the receipts. However, the process may take longer, including investigation and examination under oath. 

If ever your insurance provider is still demanding, you must provide documents. Or, for records that you cannot produce, you can ask for assistance. Talk to a qualified insurance attorney to know your rights to the situation.

Tips That Are Proven Helpful 

Keeping receipts and records is quite a tedious job to do. Who would still keep receipts and documents of small stuff they bought, right? But these old-school suggestions still work in keeping your home insurance claims smooth sailing in case you file one. That being said, here are some tips that will help you organize your records: 

Always keep your receipts!

I was also guilty of throwing my receipts when the cashier handed them to me. It is like a natural reflex of my hand every time I shop! But we all need to kick this habit. Receipts can make our life easier when it comes to filing claims.

That small strip of paper has detailed information about your purchases. This includes the store’s name, the date and time, and most significantly, the amount paid for the items. It will also save you a lot of effort. Losing the receipts will require you to research how much the amount of the specific stuff you are insuring.

That is why keeping receipts every time you shop is necessary. Having an extra wallet or pocketbook is wise to keep all the receipts. We all know that getting them mixed up with the other contents of your wallet looks very messy. And having a messy wallet causes us to throw random receipts and forget to keep them.

Do a DIY Inventory

Think of the days you are reviewing for your exams back in school. You can memorize better if you are the one who writes the notes than just borrowing your friend’s notebook, right? It is just the same when it comes to documenting your personal possessions. You will easily remember if you are the one who does the inventory.

Doing your own inventory will require a lot of patience and time because it will take a while before you finish listing all the items in your home. If you need a template, we have one available here that you can print out for yourself to use.

The first thing you need to do is to go into each room. For example, you go in first to your kitchen. Make a checklist of everything you see in there, from the most significant items to the smallest ones. Be meticulous in writing all the details, like your refrigerator. List the model number, attach the receipts if you have one, and take pictures. Don’t leave your utensils, blender, and even the hand towels and mats unlisted.

Many homeowners think they do not need to include the small stuff because it will not cost much. But that is not exactly correct!

DIY Inventory

Believe me, those small things you think are less valuable can save you a lot of money. Like your kitchenware and bath towels, those are necessities you use daily. They are just small stuff, but in case of a total loss, imagine you need to buy all those stuff again because you need them in your everyday life.

Once you calculate the amount of those small things, you will be surprised at how much it will cost to buy them again. 

Once done with the kitchen, go to the second room, like the living area, and do the same thing. Once you finish the manual listing of all the items in your house, you can transfer the list to a more organized document. And remember that every time you will buy new things at your house, keep the receipts, and update your list. 

Record everything in a digital Home Inventory Spreadsheet

Yes! Putting all the information in a spreadsheet can save you when filing a claim. It may sound too techy, especially to not-computer-savvy people, but this trick is neat and organized and safe. You can use our template and make your own digital copy/file to keep. Just click here for the template.

Keeping the records on your computer or transferring them to a hard drive are the safest ways to ensure that all your records will not be lost. Also, you don’t need to worry anymore that your documents might get wet or burned since it is saved in the software.

Another good thing about this trick is that you can edit and make changes anytime without worrying about making it untidy and having corrections like a list in a paper looks like when you make some changes.

You can also add and attach copies of receipts to the spreadsheet. You can list and save much info in as many hard drives as possible. It is best to make copies for yourself and your spouse, for example, or your parents for safekeeping. By doing this, you can ensure that the documentation is safer. Also, if you lost your hard drive, you still have spare ones that you can get. Hence doing this is indeed a lifesaver.

Search on the Internet.

It is true that almost everything now can be searched online. It is now the most convenient way to look for things and information you want. Many people now do their groceries, shopping sprees, and food deliveries online. That being said, looking for information about specific stuff you want to know is easy. For example, you forgot how much is the oven that you purchased in 

2018, you can search for the model of your oven using your phone or laptop and the internet. Just look at the back of the oven and search for the model number, type it in on Google, and that’s it! Make sure to document, take some pictures or screenshots of the items you are looking for, and keep the records on your email or personal hard drive.

Ask your relatives and friends for help.

After you have done all the necessary things to gather information about your stuff documentation, you can also ask your relatives and friends for help. This is also proven effective in knowing the things that you forgot.

Other members of your family or even your friends might still remember the things you have at home, and even better if they have pictures of you in your house, that can serve as proof.

Also, some of your stuff might be gifts from your relatives and friends from Christmas, your wedding, or your birthday. You can ask them about the specific things you forgot, or maybe you don’t know the exact amount since it was a gift. It will be a great help to let your family and friends know about your situation and ask them to send you all the information to help you determine the right amount of your things and proof to back up your claim. 

Be Prepared

Being in a situation of total loss is a hard situation to be in. That is why being prepared is your best option to avoid losing your biggest investment. Your house is where your family is, and insurance is a must. Your homeowners’ insurance can save you in times of total loss.

Contact us today!

We hope you learned much about total loss and what if you don’t have receipts for your insurance claim. Know all your options to get the best policy that suits your needs. Let our team help you in securing your property and investments! Contact us here at Team AIS in Denver, CO, for inquiries, and we’ll get back to you immediately. We’d love to hear from you!

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