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Personal Property Spreadsheet / Tips / Depreciation

Information below for all insureds regardless of carrier.  But first:  State Farm insureds, State Farm has said that they will now accept category inventories, for those of you who are willing to do inventories.  Below are a sample blank inventory and a sample completed inventory.

If you are not willing to do an inventory, below is a link to a sample waiver request letter from United Policyholders, and here is a Waiver Request Sample Letter

Info from the United Policyholders contents workshop held November 15, 2017. 

Below are generalizations as provided in the meeting. Everyone’s policy is a little bit different. Also there are comments below regarding depreciation. I believe the United Policyholders website as well as other resources have guidelines for depreciation.
  • Uphelp home inventory app
  • this app may or may not be working right now. It is a free resource, so we all do the best we can.
  • If you haven’t already, if you walk into Costco, you can request that they email you a history of your in-store purchases. I did this right after the fire, but have not heard anything. I need to go back and check with Costco.
  • One of the advantages of doing a complete and detailed inventory rather than grouping by category apparently is that some losses can be noted in your tax returns and there is some sort of tax advantage to that. This is a question for a tax professional.
  • Look in the yellow book or on or other sources to make sure you understand what items are NOT depreciable.
  • When calculating value, use today’s replacement cost at today’s retail value, not on sale prices or on the price you paid initially. Then you take into account condition and appreciation.
  • Include Sales tax on full value, using the tax rate in the zip code where your house was.
  • For most policies, insurers provide replacement value if you in fact make a replacement purchase within the two years. If you do not intend on replacing an item, you should still put it on your inventory, and they will generally give you a depreciated value for that item; however, some items such as antiques do not depreciate. So you should always calculate what the value is with that in mind.
  • Value your depreciable items based on condition, not on age. Even if you have to include both descriptors in your inventory. 
  • Do not let the insurance carrier do the initial valuing. The policy holder should do the initial valuation, status of condition, age, depreciation. With respect to age, do the best you can. And also age starts at the point at which you acquire the item, not the age it was when you  acquired it.
  • Clock for dwelling is 2 years from date of loss. Clock for contents is either initial submission of inventory or initial payment of inventory but definitely not from date of loss.
  • Rely on your friends and family to help you recall your items. Also to Provide emotional support. You can also sit down with other fire survivors to inventory together or commiserate together or both.
  • Walk through your most common stores to help you remember your items, for example, walking through a Bed Bath & Beyond or Home Depot. Also take advantage of the gift registry scan functions so that you can scan your items and have a printout of all your items with a current today’s price. You could also go through a friend’s house to help jog your memory of things you might have. You can also go to a friend’s house or store to help remember things, for example, if you remember you had about 2 ft of closet space devoted to dress shirts, you can go to a store or friend’s closet and count how many dress shirts are in about two feet of closet space.
And remember, don’t ever feel rushed.


Below are great links, including a spreadsheet, which looks a lot like the State Farm one but filled out.  I think the depreciation info below and the UP Personal Property Workshop on 11/15/18 will help folks to figure out a lot of this stuff.  Please remember, some things DON’T depreciate. 

Contents / Personal Property
Samples of Damage and Proof of Loss Documentation
Survivors Speak: Strategies for preparing your home inventory
10 tips for settling the contents portion of your claim
Sample Letter Asking for a Personal Property Claim Settlement
Sample Letter Asking for a Waiver of the Contents Itemization Requirement
Depreciation Basics

Contents/Personal Property

Inventory/Personal Property Claim Worksheets (Excel doc) – United Policyholders Home Inventory Worksheets for you to complete and save on your computer or recovery flash drive
Example of a completed home inventory – 2003 Cedar Fire Survivor and Disaster Recovery Mentor, Julie Robinson, has donated her contents claim form to United Policyholders


Consumer-oriented Guides

Industry Guides

Neighbors Together SR does not provide any advice or endorse any service provider or agency. 

October 2017 Northern California Firestorm: Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa: Coffey Park; Fountaingrove (Hidden Valley Estates (HVE) is lumped with FG); Larkfield-Wikiup-Mark West-Riebli; Rincon Valley-Deer Trail-Calistoga Rd; Bennett Ridge (Nuns/Annadel Fire) . . . See more . . . »

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