Claims 101: What is proof of ownership?

In the event that something happens and you need to make a home insurance claim, your insurer will ask you to provide proof of ownership – in other words, you’ll need to document all of your lost or damaged items. The best way to approach this seemingly huge task? Tackle it before a claim ever happens.

Here’s a breakdown of what proof of ownership is and how you can be prepared should you ever have to file a claim.

What is proof of ownership?

Proof of ownership is any document that provides specific details about an item that was lost or damaged as part of your claim. Why does your insurance company need this? For two reasons. First, it’s used to document that you actually owned the item and second, so that they can properly compensate you for the loss.

How do you show proof of ownership?

There are a number of ways to prove that you owned an item:

  1. Original receipt or electronic copy
  2. Online purchase email receipt
  3. Bank/credit card statement
  4. Certificates, evaluations, appraisals
  5. Photographs of items
  6. Serial numbers
  7. Warranty/guarantee documents
  8. Operating manuals/packaging
Tip: If you’ve lost the receipt, you can try reaching out to the retailer for a copy.

What if something was a gift?

Talk to the gift giver to see if they have the original receipts. You can also document your loss with original owners manuals, repair documents or photographs.

What if you can’t show proof of ownership?

Generally, you’re required to fully document your claim. Do your best to provide as much supporting documentation as possible. Your claims representative will help guide you through the process.

How can you make showing proof of ownership easier?

The last thing you want to think about during the stress of a claim, is digging through bank statements or searching for a receipt from three years ago. Having everything documented ahead of time makes your claim go much smoother and helps ensure you’re accurately compensated. Here’s how:

  1. Conduct a home inventory.
    • Go through your house room-by-room.
    • Document descriptions of your stuff along with how much you paid and where it was purchased.
    • Log serial numbers and make digital copies of receipts or appraisals.
  2. Take photos of your stuff in place in your home.
    • It will be so much easier to remember and prove what was lost or damaged with photograph to reference.
    • Make sure the photos are dated when the photo was taken and detailed enough to show the condition of your things.
  3. Create a digital record.
    • Back up a digital record of your inventory instead of just a paper copy so you’ll always be able to access it.
Tip: Use an app like in-dex Opens in new window to quickly and easily document your inventory!

Creating a home inventory not only helps in the event of a claim, but can also help you determine if you have enough personal belongings coverage since you’ll have an accurate idea of the value of your stuff.

Protect your home and the things you love most.