Fair compensation from insurance company for lost personal property...

by Eddie
(Philadelphia, PA)

My accident claim has been all but paid out except for 2 items the insurance company is giving me a hard time with. I replaced a laptop through private purchase and did enough due diligence to know I need a signed receipt from the seller as proof of purchase.

I sent this to the insurance company to recover depreciation held back, and the following was their reply:

"The documents you sent for the previous items were accepted as proof of existence and ownership, not validation of amount paid. We have both discussed with you, what is needed to recover the depreciation. The replacement cost we allowed was based on retail prices.

If you chose to purchase the items from another source for whatever amount, that was your choice. We still need a legitimate receipt, copy of a cancelled check or credit card statement to verify the amount that was paid to replace the items."

They are refusing to acknowledge the receipt and refuse to even validate it by calling the seller, as they had done to verify the existence of a couple items in the beginning of the claim.

Also, a hard drive was lost and the contents has a limit that hasn't been reached. One of the contents was a cookbook I did a lot of work for and they initially paid out only on data entry when I submitted the request. The amount was less than what was requested.

I stated I did more than just data entry and resubmitted the affidavit with a clearer description of my activities involved, and they said that too will not suffice even though it did earlier!

"We will not be paying any additional monies for the cookbook you were compiling as what we paid was a fair price for unsupported time. Also for the computer we need a legitimate receipt, copy of a cancelled check or credit card statement. The notarized piece of paper is not a receipt for recoverable depreciation."

The receipt was only signed not notarized but the affidavit was. What can I do? How can I get them to pay what these items are rightfully worth? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Fair compensation from insurance company for lost personal property...":

Eddie (Philadelphia, PA):

The insurance company is not bound by federal or state laws compelling them to accept a specific form of proof of ownership, payments made, or receipt of payment. Such decisions are proprietary and internally regulated by the insurance company.

If the insurance company requires validation of amount paid, you are compelled to provide that information. If you don't, the company may legitimately deny the amounts you are requesting. Additionally, the company's decision not to accept a notarized piece of paper is part of their internal regulations.

While no one would doubt the amount of time and effort you spent in building your cookbook, there is no way of compelling them to pay you the amount you are requesting.

The next consideration is filing a lawsuit. However, because the matter involves a property damage claim and not a personal injury claim, an attorney will very likely only agree to represent you on an hourly basis.

From the facts you present, the amount in controversy is less than the likely attorney's fees you would have to pay.

You can continue to negotiate. Unfortunately, unless you can change the insurance company's position, you will likely have to take what they offer. It's also highly recommended you consult with a local attorney.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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