Filing a homeowners insurance claim after being robbed on vacation
October 19, 2004 5:06 PM   Subscribe

Okay, on a recent trip to Costa Rica, I got robbed. The bastards got my all my camera equipment. Now, I'm filing a claim through my homeowners insurance. Does anyone have any experience with this? (mi)

So, I basically got taken for 2 camera bodies, 4 lenses, memory cards, batteries, the bag, etc... All together around $5k worth of gear. Does anyone have any idea how the insurance company will evaluate the worth of my equipment. I mean one piece was a digital SLR that cost me around $2000 about 2 years ago. Now it's probably worth around $900. Will I get the original purchase price? Same goes for memory cards, the older film camera body, etc... Are there any other potential pitfalls that you can help me avoid. Thanks in advance mefites.
posted by trbrts to Grab Bag (6 answers total)
Did you dig up your actual policy and look at it? They tend to be very specific on things like this -- usually to your detriment.
posted by smackfu at 5:50 PM on October 19, 2004

I had my camera stolen from my car and they paid current replacement value. So I got the value of what it currently cost (three years later, still on the market).

They took my list of what was taken, my research on what it was worth, and sent me a check. They took a list from a reputable camera store, Camera World's retail shop, on company letterhead as proof. One of my lenses was no longer available so they paid the cost of what I would have to spend for a similar lens.
posted by karmaville at 6:58 PM on October 19, 2004

In 2001, State Farm gave me full replacement value on a number of items stolen from me including a laptops, PDA, cameras, a camcorder and a telescope, all based on valuations I found and printed out from various websites, including Amazon and I only had to prove ownership and show one price (and in some cases no price at all) and they were willing to accept that for every item I claimed for a total claim of nearly $15k. Some items, like my PDA, were no longer manufactured so they accepted the cost to purchase something comparable.

Depending on the company it might be a piece of cake or it might be devastatingly difficult. Ask your agent to offer as much assistance as s/he is willing to, in the interests of keeping your business. (Of course, depending on the company, they may not want your business after this, drat them all.) If nothing else, ask them to look over the claim package before you send it in to make sure that it's sufficiently completed to avoid needless delays caused by a lack of dot on an i or cross on a t.
posted by Dreama at 8:53 PM on October 19, 2004

I had a similar experience (non-electronic) a few years ago. Got my pants, and everything in them, stolen from a locked gym locker. Among the stolen items were a nice watch, a full Metrocard (for the NYC subway), my keys and $300 in cash, as I had just gone to the ATM for an outsized withdrawal.

A few even-tempered calls to the police and the insurance company later, all was sorted. I put in a claim for everything I'd lost--including the cash and $100 for new locks on my doors--and got full reimbursement, less my deductible and a cap on a cash claim.

Call your insurance agency, then the insurance company, and ask for friendly assistance. I had a local police claim to back me up, but your homeowner's should cover you pretty well.
posted by werty at 8:46 AM on October 20, 2004

In the UK, they use plain language for insurance coverage. What you want, in their terms, is "New for Old", meaning, they replace what was stolen with new items, not some second-hand crap allegedly as good as what you lost.

I never had to make a claim, but coverage and paying claims is not always equal when it comes to insurance. Beware of off-shore insurance companies, and the agents that sell them without warning you! (bad experience in California)
posted by Goofyy at 9:21 AM on October 20, 2004

I had ~C$3500 of camera equipment stolen with my car about 12 years ago. After eleven months, during which I was investigated for insurance fraud, the insurance company wrote me a check for the new replacement value of the equipment. This despite the fact all of my bodies, lenses and flashes were bought used.

To determine value they had me make a list of the missing equipment and have a camera store give me a quote to replace it. The store charged me $75 which the insurance company did not pay for but was well worth it as they were trying to find comparable items for equipment that was 10-15yrs old and they erred on the side of caution.

If the insurance company is trying to bend you over it will be worth it to hire your own adjuster. When my truck got stolen and writ off this spring a private adjuster got me $1200 more for a cost of $250 on a total value of $7000.

Not much help now but since then I've been compusive about recording my gear. I now take six pictures of everything vaguely valueable plus a close up of the serial number plate with my digital and store the photos off site.
posted by Mitheral at 11:45 AM on October 20, 2004

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