How to Write Damage Estimates

The time to evaluate your belongings is before you need to file a claim for damages.
i Martin Poole/Lifesize/Getty Images

Writing damage estimates is your insurance adjuster’s job. However, you need to know the value of your items to get a fair assessment of repair and replacement costs. The time to evaluate your house, car and other possessions is before damage occurs. But if you’re already facing losses, it’s not too late to start taking inventory and pricing your damaged items.

Step 1

Photograph all your damaged possessions. Photos can be backup documentation for filing your claim.

Step 2

Read your insurance policies. Know what your home (or apartment) and automobile insurance covers and how much. Replacement-cost coverage pays 100 percent of your item’s retail value, while other claim payouts are based on depreciated costs.

Step 3

Call your insurer for an inventory checklist. This document lets you record major household possessions. It also helps you recall any damaged items you might have overlooked.

Step 4

List damaged items with descriptions and retail prices. Here’s an example of a detailed description of an item: “The flat-screen TV has automatic brightness control.” A detailed description of damages might read: “The screen has a 2-inch by 15-inch gash.” Look through receipts, checkbook ledgers, and credit card and bank statements for prices. Use a calculator to total figures.

Step 5

Submit your claim to your insurer. The adjuster also submits his estimates. The insurer okays all documentation before paying your claim.

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