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

Jan 16, 2021 | Personal Insurance

Not everyone saves their receipts when they purchase things. Others lose or misplace them but are they needed when you need to file for home insurance claims, especially for Total Loss?

What is a Total Loss? 

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

Now the question is, 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 make an inventory of damaged personal property that includes the actual cash value, amount of loss, descriptions, and quantity. That and together with the bills, receipts, documents, and proofs to back up the inventory that was presented.

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

What happens if you lost 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 even documents will most probably be gone together with your house. But you don’t need to worry. Generally, there is no rule in homeowners’ insurance policy that a claim will automatically be denied if you cannot present the receipts. However, the process may take longer than usual including investigation and examination under oath. 

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

Tips That Are Proven Helpful 

Keeping receipts and records is really 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 in smooth sailing in case you file one in the future. That being said, here are some tips that will help you organize your records: 

  • Always keep your receipts!

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

That small strip of paper has detailed information about your purchases, such as the name of the store, the date and time, and most especially the amount paid for the items. It will also save you a lot of effort. Losing the receipts will require you to do some research on how much is the amount of the specific stuff you are insuring.

That is why keeping the receipts every time you shop is necessary. It is smart to have an extra wallet or pocketbook where you can 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, most of the time, causes us to throw random receipts and forget to keep it at all.

  • Do a DIY Inventory

Think of the days when 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 the notebook of your friend 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.

Now, 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 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 biggest 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 of it. Don’t leave anything unlisted, your utensils, blender, and even the hand towels and mats.

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

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

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

Now, once done with the kitchen, go to the second room like the living area, and do the same thing. Once you are done with the manual listing of all the items in your house, you can now 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 in times of filing a claim. It may sound too techy especially to not-computer-savvy people but this trick is not only neat and organized but safe as well. You can use the template we have and make your own digital copy/file to keep, just click here for the template.

Keeping the records on your computer or transferring them into 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 do some changes.

You can also add and attach copies of receipts to the spreadsheet. You can list much info and save it in as many hard drives that you have. It is best if you can make copies for you 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 that you want to know. Many people now even do their groceries, shopping spree, and food deliveries online as well. That being said, looking for information about specific stuff that you want to know is so easy to do. For example, you forgot how much is the oven that you purchased in 

2018, using your phone or laptop and the internet, you can search for the model of your oven. 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 for 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 to know the things that you forgot.

Other members of your family or even your friends might still remember the things that you have at home and even better if they have pictures of you with them 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 that you already 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 that can help you determine the right amount of your things as well as 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 at and having insurance to protect it is a must. Your homeowners’ insurance can save you in time of a total loss.

Contact us today!

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 for inquiries and we’ll get back to you right away. We’d love to hear from you!