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Tips for simplifying your claim and preventing fire

Last update: October 4, 2016, at 04:25 pm

By Mélanie Larouche

Taking a home inventory will make your life easier in the event of a claim. Where do you begin? We’ll also give you some tips on how to prevent fire in the first place.

Watch our video and read our guidelines on how to take an inventory of your belongings. Next, we’ll give you some tips on how to choose an ethanol fireplace and portable fire extinguisher for your home.


Take a home inventory

How to prepare for a major insurance claim

[Context : An expert from Desjardins Insurance explains how to prepare in case you need to file an insurance claim.]

[On-screen action: A woman is sitting on a couch and is smiling.]

Hi. My name is Stacey Fobear.

[On-screen text: Stacey Fobear, Property Claims Manager.]

When a disaster strike, your home can be heavily damaged or even destroyed, and it can be a very traumatic time. You can prepare yourself by having a list of your belongings and proof of ownership prepared before you need to file a major insurance claim. That way everything goes much more smoothly.

[On-screen text: Take photos.]

Today’s technology makes it easy to take photos or videos of your home. You can capture items that are in cabinets, on shelves—all of your special or most valuable belonging. You can even take photos of your receipts and your personal inventory.

[On-screen text: Prepare an inventory.]

You don’t have to list all the items in your home. Focus on the major items that are more valuable or rare.

The advisor assigned to your claim will assist you in completing a list of property affected by the loss used to evaluate your claim. For larger items such as furniture, electronics or major appliances, list all the information that you will need to use to replace them. This could include the value, the make, model, any particular specifications.

You may consider storing that information on a cloud service or on a flash drive or a list that you keep somewhere else other than your home.

[On-screen text: Keep proofs of purchase.]

To simplify things, keep your receipts for major purchases and also attach them to your inventory or scan them onto a computer file. Vendors also keep receipts for an extended period of time; this may help you document your bigger items. User manuals and photos can also be used as proof of purchase.

We never like it when anybody has to file an insurance claim, but we are happy when clients have taken precautions and do have a list of their possessions.

Whether or not you have an inventory, your insurer is there to help you through this trying time. However, having an inventory, photos and proofs of ownership can help you get your life back to normal and help your insurance claim go more smoothly.

So let’s get prepared—nobody knows what the future holds.

[On-screen text: Desjardins Insurance logo.]

[On-screen text: Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and Certas Direct Insurance Company in Ontario and Alberta.]

[On-screen text: The information and advice in this video are provided for information purposes only. Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for any damages that may arise or result from any reliance upon the information or advice provided.]

4 steps to taking an inventory of your belongings

1. Make a list of your most valuable items

Start by compiling an inventory of your belongings. You don’t need to include everything you own, only the most valuable items, like furniture, jewellery, electronics, computers, household appliances and antiques.

2. Take pictures in every room

A quick and easy way to keep a record of your belongings is to take pictures of items in every room. That way, you’ll be less likely to forget anything. Also, remember to take pictures of storage areas, closets and shelves. You can even take pictures of your receipts and keep them with your inventory.

3. Keep your receipts

Keep receipts and user manuals with your inventory. If you’ve misplaced a receipt, ask the retailer if they can send you a copy because they often keep client receipts on file. Having proofs of purchase for valuable items can really simplify the claim process.

4. Save a copy of your inventory—but not at home

If you can, make a digital copy of your inventory, photographs and proofs of purchase and keep it somewhere safe. For obvious reasons, it’s best to keep it outside your home, like with a friend or family member.  


Choosing the right ethanol fireplace

Ethanol fireplaces are becoming increasingly popular because they make your home feel warm and inviting. If you’re thinking about getting one, first make sure it’s ULC certified—otherwise you might be buying a serious fire hazard.

What’s more, non-certified models can pollute ambient air, cause serious burns, fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Regardless of the brand or certification, ethanol fireplaces can be dangerous. So always use caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Fire caused by ethanol fireplaces are more often due to negligence than faulty products. Very few insurance companies charge additional premiums for ethanol fireplaces, but you should still tell your insurer if you have one installed.

Get more tips on fire prevention


What type of fire extinguisher do I need?

Having a fire extinguisher is just as important as having an evacuation plan in the event of a fire. There’s no doubt that it’s one of the best ways to minimize fire damage. But make sure you have the right fire extinguisher.

For households, we recommend choosing a 5- or 10-pound ABC multipurpose fire extinguisher. These are designed to put out 3 types of fires.

  • Class A fires involve wood, textiles, paper, cardboard and plastic
  • Class B fires are caused by flammable liquid or gases like solvents, gasoline, alcohol and oil
  • Class C fires are electrical fires. The extinguishing agent doesn’t conduct electricity, so class C fire extinguishers can be used safely on live electrical systems.

Get more tips on fire prevention

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