Insurance Appraisal Preparations and Guidelines

What is covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy varies from company to company. Generally, limits are placed on antiques (defined as anything over 100 years old), fine art, silver, jewelry and other collectibles. Your policy may state that you have 100k coverage of your personal property; however upon examination of the fine print, unless it is scheduled it is not covered. Scheduling items on an insurance policy involves providing your insurance company with a professionally prepared appraisal of those items you wish to be covered. The company, after reviewing the report will charge an additional fee to add those items to your policy. If you suffer a loss, the company will pay, generally without question, the replacement value of that item. Eldridge Appraisals Inc. recommends that you discuss this with your agent so that you have a clear understanding of your insurance policy and the limits that it contains. Think of it as knowing what color your parachute is before you jump out of an airplane. An appraisal for insurance purposes is a simple way to protect your treasured possessions.

Collect and assemble

Collect and assemble as much background information as possible on each piece of property, including sales receipts, details of how you acquired each piece and the provenance or history, if available.

Make Sure

Make sure you schedule an appraisal consultation with an accredited appraiser who is a member of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Appraisers Association of America (AAA) and avoid instant on-line appraisals, despite their on-line claims as appraising implies physical inspection and many insurance companies will simply not pay a claim based upon an on-line appraisal.

Eldridge Appraisals Inc. appraisers will

Eldridge Appraisals Inc. appraisers will provide a report that exceeds the standards as required by ASA, RICS, AAA and USPAP2014-15.  This comprehensive report includes a complete description of your property with attached color photographs of your collection.  With this comes peace of mind at no extra charge.

Review your property with the appraiser

Review your property with the appraiser. Together you can decide what property should be included in the appraisal report.

Keep your appraisal report with your legal and other documents.

Keep your appraisal report with your legal and other documents.  Appraisal reports are recognized by the courts as reliable testimony to the worth of your possessions.  They should combine in one place the documentation, identification (including photographs) and current value of your possessions that can be invaluable to you.  Eldridge Appraisals Inc. recommends that your documents be kept in plastic zip type food storage bags to keep out any moisture before placing them in a secure area or safe deposit box.

A rule of thumb is to have your appraisal updated about every four years

A rule of thumb is to have your appraisal updated about every four years.  An appraisal is an unbiased opinion of value at the time the report is done.   Because market conditions change, an appraisal update, which usually costs less than the original report, will verify the condition of your collection and keep values current.

Monitor market conditions

Monitor market conditions that might affect the value of your collection.  A sudden surge in popularity of a particular period (e.g., Victoriana) or the death of an artist or rising interest in a particular classic or muscle car   could cause certain values to increase rapidly and might merit appraisal updates at more frequent intervals.

Discuss with the appraiser

Discuss with the appraiser appropriate care of your collection to maintain maximum value.   Eldridge Appraisals Inc. appraisers are personal property experts who can provide you with advice on ways to protect your collections.

Hire only accredited appraisers

Hire only accredited appraisers like those from the American Society of Appraisers or Appraisers Association of America who abide by a code of ethics and the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).

Make sure you hire only an appraiser who charges an hourly rate or a flat fee.

Make sure you hire only an appraiser who charges an hourly rate or a flat fee.  Reputable professional appraisers will not offer to sell your items for you or base fees on a percentage of an item’s worth.