While receipts are becoming more and more obsolete, there are still some scenarios where a pesky piece of paper can make all the difference. While the importance of retaining receipts can apply to nearly any sector of property casualty, here are two of the most pertinent examples:
The first involves contents. There are a wide variety of circumstances that may prompt you to make a contents claim. Incidents that don’t just damage, but eliminate, your personal property make documentation particularly crucial. While an adjuster or appraiser can visibly see ruined goods in the wake of a flood, theft or fire may lead to suspicion that they never existed in the first place. There are two key issues that can arise in elimination situations—you didn’t keep your receipts for your big-ticket purchases, or you did, but they, too, were destroyed in the incident in question. If you did not keep your receipts, delve into your bank records and see if you can obtain copies of the statement documenting the charge. If the receipts were destroyed, matters get more complicated. While you’re obligated to comply with your insurer’s requests, your insurer cannot command you to produce something that doesn’t exist. If you find yourself in this quandary, a property casualty attorney can ensure your policy is being honored, as well as protect your rights if your insurer’s skepticism leads to a formal examination.
Since contents coverage oftentimes comes with a reimbursement process, also retain receipts for replacement goods. Once your insurer has received documentation that your goods were truly lost or stolen, you can submit your new receipts to get the ball rolling towards compensation. While it’s unfortunate to have to front a sum of money to get back the integral tools of household, it’s a necessary evil to make sure insurance funds are being delegated appropriately. This point leads us to the next situation where receipt retention is crucial—claims with a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.
When it comes to claims surrounding the structure of your home, the definition of receipts expands to include estimates, invoices, and checks to contractors. In other words, the scope of documenting these claims requires vigilance at various stages of the repairs process. Estimates, proposals, and work orders place a value that’s appropriate for the level of damage, and bills imply that work is either done or underway. Receipts, cancelled checks, and invoices marked paid serve as proof that you paid for services rendered. However, the scope of compensation has the potential to expand to additional living expenses accrued while repairs are being implemented. If your home was deemed uninhabitable after the incident in question, receipts for temporary lodging and meals out can also be submitted for review.
These documents—along with photos, insurance estimates, and engineers’ reports—are the tools on which property casualty attorneys rely to demand appropriate pay-outs from the insurer. As with all areas of law, when it comes to insurance, there must be evidence. While lawyers can help keep these documents safe and organized, you must do your part in retrieving them to get the best result. While there are plenty of life instances in which declining a receipt is reasonable, a property claim is not one of them.