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Property and Content Insurance Policies
Bryan G. Embree
Bryan G. Embree
Bryan joined Cobb & Jones LLP in 2005 and practiced law in the areas of civil litigation, including corporate and commercial litigation, employment law and administrative law, and matrimonial litigation from 2005 - 2010.

Most adults have insurance contracts with insurers for coverage of property and/or household contents in case of theft, fire or other loss. Most of us feel that we're "covered" simply because we have purchased a policy from an insurer that we've heard of before, and therefore trust, and assume that we will recover monies or property from our insurer in the face of a loss.

Most people just sign the contract agreement of insurance without reviewing in detail the considerable "fine print" in that contract. This is understandable given the complexity of most of them. But if you experience a loss you may discover, much to your consternation, that the fine print was important as your insurer may attempt to limit its exposure to a claim in ways that you did not expect. It will also come as a surprise that you will be required to prove your loss. So you need to ensure that you are covered for the property that you intend, that that coverage is enough to replace the items, and that you have proof of ownership or possession of the property. Following the three steps below will save you a lot of grief if you should ever need to make a claim for property loss:

a) have a complete discussion with your insurance agent or representative about what you want to be covered, and about the value of that coverage. After having that discussion, write down the contents of the discussion, including the details about what you want covered and for how much, date the document, sign it and mail a copy to your insurer confirming the discussion and the agreement between you. Ask for a letter of confirmation about the terms of the agreement;

b) ask your agent or representative to identify for you any limitations or conditions that could affect a legitimate claim. If there are no limitations or conditions that affect a legitimate claim, then note that in the letter described in paragraph "a", and,

c) video tape in detail all property that is insured, including any building, inside and out, and all contents of that building. Video tape everything systematically -- open every drawer, cupboard and closet and carefully record all of the contents. Store the tape at work or some other safe place. Update the tape every year.

Following these three steps will save you a great deal of grief if you ever need to make a claim against an insurer for a loss of property.

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