Being 'claim smart' takes preparation
September 25, 2013
In the first article on the claims process, we learned about the importance of being able to read and understand the inventory before you sign it.
The claims process is about documentation (being able to read and understand the inventory and substantiation). In this article, we will learn about substantiation in the claims process.
Substantiation in the claims process is establishing the value of the item or items and establishing the age of the item. We, the claims personnel, hear claimants say, "I don't keep receipts."
If an item costs over $100, you should always keep the receipt.
Why? Because, a receipt states three important things:
(1) The receipt states how much the item costs.
(2) It states where the item was purchased.
(3) And it states the month and year it was purchased.
Also helpful are the statements and invoices from the store where the items were purchased. Always keep your receipts.
In addition to retaining your receipts, you should make a video or take pictures of the items.
Make sure the video / pictures are dated. In response to a claim, carriers often say the claimant only had the claimed item at some point in time, which is a way of avoiding liability.
This is a way of avoiding blame and thus not having to pay for items that were lost or damaged during shipping.
The date on the video or picture is proof for when the claimant had the item.
Finally, if you have an item of sentimental value, such as a picture of your grandma, Annie, you should get it appraised.
The appraisal will put a dollar amount on that item. The carrier will only recognize the dollar value, but will not pay for sentimental value of any items.
In summary, keep your receipts for items that cost over $100. Obtain appraisal and any other documents to show proof of ownership, value and the age of the item.
For items that go missing, the photos, receipts and manuals you saved could be helpful when settling the claim.
For questions pertaining to claim policies, contact claims personnel at the Rose Barracks Law Center, Building 245, or call DSN 476-2240/3439; on Tower Barracks, Building 106, or call DSN 475-8428/6540.