Missing Stuff? How to Handle Making a Renters Insurance Claim

By Kaitlin Hurtado on November 10, 2020

This article is brought to you by GradGuard. We protect college students and their families from the financial risks of college life, like providing a refund for tuition or replacing a stolen backpack when your school may not. When the unexpected happens, GradGuard’s tuition insurance and renters insurance can help you get back on track.

No one can anticipate finding themselves missing important personal property, whether it be the laptop they depend on for schoolwork to other household electronics. However, you can help yourself prepare for the unfortunate situation by signing up for a renter’s insurance policy.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you are missing some of your personal property, renters insurance can help you out in a major way. Keep reading to learn more about renters insurance and how to handle making a renters insurance claim.

What is Renters Insurance? 

Renters insurance, also often referred to as tenant insurance, is recommended for people who rent their homes rather than own it. In most situations, it is highly recommended that any renter sign up for a renter’s insurance policy to ensure that their belongings are covered in case of a burglary, fire, or unexpected disaster.

Your personal property is covered in two ways by your policy: Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value. If you choose to have ACV in your policy, your insurance company will cover the cost to replace your item minus the depreciation based on its age and other facts. The Replacement Cost will cover the exact cost it takes to replace the missing item but typically comes with a higher monthly premium.

If your laptop or other valuables (bike, cellphone) are stolen, your school or landlord isn’t responsible for replacing them. If you have renter’s insurance, you will be able to file a renters insurance claim to help you replace your missing property.

making a renters insurance claim

Photo: Pexels

Take Inventory 

Signing up for a renters insurance policy is not the only preventative measure you can take to protect yourself. Once you sign up for a renters insurance policy, make sure you take inventory of your personal property.

A home inventory is just what it sounds like — a list, pictures, or video of everything in your living space. Walk through your property and take account of your belongings with video or photos. Make sure you get the full capture — walls, inside cabinets and drawers, and so on.

Once you have the videos and photos, try to make a list/spreadsheet of all your belongings. This way, you can easily glimpse through your belongings rather than sift through videos or photos in a time crunch.

Make sure to upload the photos, videos, and list somewhere that you can access from every device. Relying on your phone or laptop may not be the best idea, especially if said item is the missing property you are going to be filing a claim for.

Consider scanning receipts of big-ticket items like TVs or laptops for safekeeping. Taking photos of the serial number and model number for electronics is also helpful so you’ll be able to easily identify the exact model you had.

Taking proper inventory of your belongings will make filing a renters insurance claim easier when the time comes.

How to Handle Making a Renters Insurance Claim 

Insurance companies typically place a deadline of 48 to 72 hours after the damage or loss happened for clients to file a renters insurance claim. When you sit down to file your renter’s insurance claim, be ready to offer your policy number, details on the loss (when it happened, what was lost), and your contact information.

Gather the information that is relevant to your missing property, your home inventory, receipts, serial numbers, and so on in order to file your claim.

When filing a renters insurance claim, tell the renter’s insurance company exactly what you lost and how much it was worth. You can submit pictures and videos of the items to show what state they were in, which is especially helpful if you have ACV coverage.

Once filed, you will likely deal with someone who is known as a claims adjuster, who assesses damages and the claim to determine how much you’re eligible to receive in reimbursement if any at all. The claims adjuster will make sure your claim is valid and covered by your renter’s insurance policy.

The claims adjuster will authorize a claim. In some cases, they may find your claim is fraudulent, denying you reimbursement and possibly prosecuted for insurance fraud. Lying about the items you lost (whether they’re lost at all, or claiming a newer model), can be considered insurance fraud. Make sure that you are being honest about personal property loss.

The more detailed you are about the items lost, the more likely you are to get more reimbursement when filing a renters insurance claim. Otherwise, your insurance company may just satisfy the bare minimum of reimbursing you for the item by finding a cheaper or lower-quality model than what you had because you can’t share any specific characteristics or features that may net you better results.

However, providing more details to describe the item such as where you bought it, how much it actually cost, the specific features if offered, the name brand of the appliance, can help you get a more accurate reimbursement. For things like a laptop or desktop computer you have made expensive modifications for, being able to be as detailed as possible can help you immensely.

Filing a renters insurance claim may be the last thing on your mind in the case that you find yourself missing personal property, but can be your life-saver in an unfortunate situation.

It’s no secret that college costs a lot of money. Make sure your investment in higher education is protected with GradGuard. Our affordable tuition insurance and renters insurance plans are specifically designed for college students. Customizable plans make it easy to protect your tuition, room and board, laptop, bike, and so much more.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin. I studied Literary Journalism and Film & Media Studies at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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