When shopping for homeowners insurance you would most likely get quotes from different companies that have different dwelling replacement cost. They use publicly available information about the home and your answers to questions they ask. The idea is that if the house is completely destroyed you can get enough money to get it rebuilt to what is was. Usually you can get 50% on top of the replacement cost to account for inflations, etc. Or you can have "guaranteed replacement cost"

While these questions and answers are used to figure out the replacement cost they are not documented in the policy to my knowledge. In the event the house is destroyed, how they know what to build? For example, how do you prove you had custom kitchen with expensive granite countertops, etc. if this is not documented in the policy?

1 Answer 1


I'm not an insurance adjuster but have been through the process (not a complete home loss though).

How do you prove what you had? Any way you can.

  1. Even though your house is destroyed, there is likely evidence of what you owned (e.g. your granite countertops, though broken are still going to be present). They can send pieces out to determine the value.
  2. Pictures. Even if the item is in the background it is still evidence of what you had.
  3. Receipts. With online shopping this becomes much simpler. Though having pictures of it in your home definitely help (e.g. proving that it wasn't a gift you bought for someone else).
  4. Registration. You know how manufacturers always want you to register with them that you bought their widget? That can work as well.
  5. Any item specific identification method
    • Your phone is registered to you via your carrier
    • Firearms have their own registration
    • Most electronic devices these days have some way to tie them to you and your house.

If you don't have proof of what you claimed you lost AND it's reasonable that you might have actually owned it, they will assign a value to it. For example if you lost your 70" TV. They will give you some calculated amount for a 70" TV...it will be a low value. However if you lost this "specific" 70" TV and here is an amazon receipt for it. You will get that actual value of your item. If it's something obscure, they might not believe you without proof.

I've often heard the suggestion that you should periodically take picture of everything in you house, for this very purpose.

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