Proving Perished Possessions
JEFFREY GOULD: You are the only one who knows what you lost, you are the only one who knows what was in your property.
DAVID PISANIC: It is your job to tell the insurance company everything that you had and to prove that you had it.
JEFFREY GOULD: You need to list for the insurance company and provide how old every single item is in your house that you can tell is damaged, that could be clothing, furniture, linens, collectables, books, it could be everything down to a toothbrush.
Frequently in a fire such as this, there is a lot of debris that is thrown outside the windows and on the yards and pick through or taken away by local authorities and you have to recreate what the interior of the house looked like.
JEFFREY GOULD: The easiest thing that everybody can do is just go to a department store and walk the aisles and look at what is in the shelves and that would jog your memory as to I had that, I had that.
DAVID PISANIC: The insurance company might say that we do not believe that you had all that and you are going have to prove it to them that you had it.
JEFFREY GOULD: If you put down something that costs in most cases more than $100, they are going to ask you to document where you got your price and in many cases prove that you owned it.
DAVID PISANIC: And do not be afraid about that and you might have to go and sit in your lawyer's office and you might have to account for, did you actually buy that merchandise? Where are your receipts?
JEFFREY GOULD: Most people do not keep their original receipts, which is a favorite technique of insurance companies to say where are your receipts.
JEFFREY GOULD: If you do not have any receipts, if you cannot prove you brought any of this stuff, then we are gong to attempt to not believe any of it.
JEFFREY GOULD: The best way to document a loss is to actually document it before you have the loss.
DAVID PISANIC: One of the best things to do is to go around with a video camera around your house and tape everything and look at all the items and pull them out of drawers, so if there is a question as to whether or not you actually did have that fancy silver or it was just a cheap whatever, you can pull the pictures out to show them exactly what was there.
JEJEFFREY GOULD: And you do not have to test your memory, you can just look at the photographs.
DAVID PISANIC: As much as you can do before hand to catalogue the things that are valuable and important to you, you should do that in advance.