May 18, 2024

Understanding Personal Property Damage Claims

Personal Property Damage Claims

Filling Out your Property Damage and Loss Claims Forms

Filling Out your Property Claims Forms - Be complete

Personal property damage during an insurance claim can be a significant portion of the loss. This is one example of how hiring an experienced Public Adjuster can be the difference between getting back to your life as it was before your damage event, or keeping your fingers crossed and scrounging.

Most of the time, after an insurance claim is filed, the insurance claim adjuster will come out to your home and spend upwards of a few hours on the building damages; taking measurements and pictures, climbing in the attic and crawlspace, etc.  Very rarely do your personal belongings get the same attention.  Normally, you are handed a few sheets of paper and asked to fill them out and send them back.

These personal property damage claims pages have a few columns that look something like the following when you start filling it out:


Item Description

How much did it cost?


Place Purchased






2 Years

Belks -Raleigh


T Shirt


1 Year

Target – Knightdale




1 Year

Target – Knightdale


Winter Jacket


4 Years

Dick’s Sporting Goods


Rain Coat


3 Years

JC Penny – Raleigh


Filling out your property damage claims forms is easy, isn’t it?

This seems like a very easy list to fill out, without any potentially harmful results, right?  Let’s look a little closer.

Description:  When listing the item’s description, it is easy to start lumping things together like “jeans” or “jackets” into one larger group that is “an average”.  But, what if the 4 pair average $30, but the fifth pair is $100 designer jeans?  You may have just cost yourself $70.  It is important to list the items as accurately as possible to make sure that you are representing the correct values of the items that you own.  It is too easy to group property loss items into convenient groups to save time.  But, remember, you are not being paid for your time.

An American Property Loss Public Adjuster will spend the necessary time to make sure that these items are being identified and recorded as they were prior to the loss to maximize your recovery for your personal property damage claim.

Cost:  The insurance company normally asks what the item cost when you bought it, and may even ask for the receipt.  This is perfectly fine, if the items still costs that amount today.  A great example is if you bought something on sale, or with a coupon, can you buy it for that same amount again?  Is what you paid for it, what is truly costs for a new one?  Many items go up significantly as time goes by.  Would you list what you paid for that living room furniture 15 years ago as the cost of it today?  Making sure that these amounts are correct can take many, many hours.

Hiring an American Property Loss Public Adjuster to handle this valuation of items makes it much easier for you, and lets you deal with getting your life back to normal as quickly as possible.

Age:  Listing the ages as an average again has to be considered.  If 4 pairs of the jean are less than 1 year old, but the fifth pair is 4 years old, what is the correct average age?  This becomes important to you, because when you submit this list the insurance company now fills in the last 2 columns.

Depreciation:  Depreciation is wear and tear on the things that you own.  Every time you wear those jeans, they get a little dirtier around the pockets.  You might get a small tear in the knee.  This depreciation lowers the current value of the item (ACV – see below).  Most items depreciate over time.  There are many acceptable charts that show what items depreciate how much and how quickly.  Those jeans we keep talking about average about 33% depreciation per year.  Does that mean that fifth pair that is 4 years old has no value?

An American Property Loss Public Adjuster will review the ages and depreciation amounts applied by the insurance adjuster to make sure they are fair and appropriate.

ACV:  Actual Cash Value.  This is the amount your item is worth based on the age and condition.  Think of it as the “blue book” value of the item.  We all know that cars are worth less with every passing mile.  Your personal property values are very similar.  When the insurance adjuster determines the ACV of your items, this is the least amount they will pay you for your items.  You may be entitled to recover the depreciation if you have an RCV, replacement cost value, policy, but that’s another discussion.  This ACV is the amount you have to start replacing your personal property.

American Property Loss Gets You Fair Value for Your Property Damage Loss

As we can see now, it is tremendously important to make sure the item is described correctly, with the correct cost and age listed.  Preparing the personal property damage claim with these points in mind will ensure that the bottom line ACV is the best possible valuation of your belongings.  Making sure that the personal property claim is detailed can be the difference between replacing what you lost versus having to make do with what you can afford to replace.

At American Property Loss Services, Inc. we’ll spend the time needed to get this part of the claim right because “Your Recovery is Our Success!”


  1. I’ve put one of these claims together and there is so much information needed. It took more than a week just to list the items and then another week to look up the prices.

    The folks at American Property Loss know how to make this process a whole lot easier!

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