How Your Phone’s Camera Can Save You a Headache With Your Insurer

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Take a video of your home's possessions
Image Credit: Dreamstime

If something ever gets lost, stolen or burned at your home, how do you prove it to your insurance company? The answer may be sitting right there in your pocket!

This article is going to show you an easy way to protect yourself in case you need to file a claim against your homeowners insurance to recoup your losses.

These steps are part of a strategy money expert Clark Howard uses once a year as a way to help his case if and when he has to deal with his insurance company.

Follow These 2 Steps to Help Ensure Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

“Once a year we do a walk-and-talk video of all our possessions, so if we have a fire or a burglary or whatever, we are able to remember what we had,” Clark says.

If by chance you suffer a catastrophic loss, either due to stress or just a faulty memory, Clark says “you may not remember every little thing you have or when you bought it.”

A recorded walk-and-talk also serves to help the insurance adjuster, who may assume you’re trying to pull something over on them — even if you’re not. Videotaping your belongings on your phone or using a standalone video camera helps you prove what you say you’ve lost.

Here’s how to do your annual video walk-and-talk — just like Clark and his wife Lane:

1. Go Room to Room Listing Items That You Own

“So if Lane’s got a new lamp, she’ll say, ‘I got this lamp last March and I think I paid blah blah blah for it. And we have this TV over here or whatever,'” Clark says.

2. Store Your Video for Safekeeping

When it comes to storing your video, you have two options that will work just fine:

Store your video in the cloud: Clark chooses to store his walk-and-talk video in Google Photos (available for Android or iPhone) because it has unlimited storage, but of course, you can choose a cloud-based alternative if you like.

“Once you’ve taken your smartphone and walked around and shot the video, it’s stored forever with Google and you’ve got it,” he says.

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And Google’s not the only game in town for consumer cloud storage: Click here to learn more.

Store a hard copy of your video offsite: If you don’t trust the cloud for storing that video and want a hard copy of your recording, video cameras can be had for less than $100 these days. That purchase could save you thousands of dollars if your house were to ever catch fire.

The good thing is that the videotape becomes an insurance policy for your insurance policy. Just be sure to store it off-site or in a fire-proof safe.

Buy an Additional Insurance Rider for These Items

Some things you own may not be covered under the standard language of your homeowners insurance. For those items, you’ll need an additional rider. Such items include:

  • Professional camera equipment
  • China
  • Silver
  • Crystal
  • Collectibles
  • Fine art
  • Furs
  • Jewelry
  • Musical instruments
  • Sports memorabilia

If you’re planning to buy a rider, you might need to get an appraisal of some items first. That’s very common when you’re talking about collectibles and jewelry.

More Insurance Resources From Clark.com:

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