MOORE — Sometimes it helps to see things spelled out in black and white to “get it.”
John Whitson of Brown O'Haver Public Adjusters spelled it out Thursday night at an insurance seminar at Community Christian Church in Moore. What it is is just how much stuff we have in our houses. The question is, is it all documented in case of a tornado or other disaster?
Here are some notes from his presentation:
Inventory, inventory, inventory — there are over 2,500 items in a typical house (I might have that many books alone).
High-value areas that are often overlooked include:
• Toiletries and makeup.
• Food and spices. Think about those little containers of spices, and how much each cost — and how we don't notice because we buy them infrequently over time.
• Garage tools. Same deal as with spices. How many $20 or more runs to the hardware store or auto parts house have you made over the years?
• Books, CDs and other media. Again, it adds up so slowly it's hard to estimate.
How to jog your memory:
• Friends' and family pictures and video.
• Facebook photos.
When it comes to pack up, cleaning and storage (directly from John):
• You have choices.
• You should receive a written estimate for pack out, cleaning, storage and pack in before you do anything.
• If your items have already been removed you need to ask for a current invoice and an estimate for future services.
• You do not have to have anything done; you can choose to be paid directly.
• You can use any company you want. If you want the service, get competitive bids.
• When the adjuster or service provider says the insurance company is paying for it, remember that means you are paying for it from your settlement.
Additional living expenses (ALE) include (also directly from John):
• Rent for temporary location.
• Additional meal expense over and above normal spending when temporary location does not have a kitchen.
• Mileage over and above normal driving (distance to work or school).
• Increased utility expense.
• Animal boarding.
• Lawn care.
• If you are still living in your home but were affected most of these items may apply for a shorter time.
Practical tips to maximize additional living expenses (thanks again, John):
• Get rental invoices from family and friends if you had to stay with them.
• Track your mileage.
• Track your meals.
• Every receipt goes in a 1-gallon zippered bag.
• You do not need to use a housing company, especially if you have low limits on ALE; you can find your own place and set up your own leases.
• Nonrefundable pet deposits are ALE items.
• Remember that ALE is typically cost incurred; you have to spend it to get it.