Valuing Your Property

Valuing Your Property
You will certainly find that there will be differing viewpoints on the value of your property while working with your insurance company or in claiming loss on your federal income tax. Below is some information and terms that will assist you:

Personal Valuation
Your loss of personal property through fire may be difficult for you to measure. These personal items may have a tremendous sentimental value to you; however, it is objective measures of value that you, the insurer, and the Internal Revenue Service will use as a common ground for discussion. Some of these objective measures are discussed below.

Cost When Purchased
This is an important element in establishing an item's final value. Receipts will help verify the price that you initially paid for an item.

Fair Market Value Before the Fire
This concept is also expressed as the actual cash value for an item.This is what you could have received for the item if you had sold it the day before the fire. The price would reflect its cost at purchase minus the wear it had sustained since purchase. Depreciation is the formal term used to express the amount of value an item loses over a period of time.

Value After the Fire
This is sometimes called the item's salvage value.

Restoration Services
There are companies that specialize in the restoration of fire damaged structures. It is important that you contact your insurance company prior to contracting with this type of service so that it will be clear who will pay. Be sure to request an estimate of cost for the work. Before any company is hired, check their references. These companies provide a range of services that may include some or all of the following:
  • Securing the site against further damage
  • Estimating structural damage
  • Repairing structural damage
  • Estimating the cost to repair or renew items of personal property
  • Packing, transportation, and storage of household items
  • Securing appropriate cleaning or repair subcontractors
  • Storing repaired items until needed