Part II: Recovering What You’re Entitled To

Good Morning Relaxing Retirement Member,

In my Retirement Coach Strategy of the Week two weeks ago, we talked about the misery of coming home from vacation to find that your home has been robbed and vandalized.

One of the best ways to insure that you receive everything you’re entitled to under your homeowner’s insurance policy is to hire your own public insurance adjuster.

One of the challenges, however, is that even with the best public insurance adjuster, you’ll never receive what you’re entitled to if you can’t recall everything you owned that was destroyed or vandalized.

In other words, after living in a home for 30+ years, and under the duress of a catastrophe to your home, and the trauma of dealing with the loss, the last thing you’re going to want to do is sit down and try to remember every little detail about your home and its contents.

It’s right up there on the list with having your appendix removed without anesthesia!

The chances of you being able to remember everything in your home, the date you purchased it, and the current value, etc. are slim to none.

Since the amount of your claim that you’re entitled to is dependent on you being able to do this perfectly, what should you do?

Step One

My recommendation for years has always been to film your home with a video camera. If you don’t have one, either rent or borrow one. In today’s day and age with iPhone cameras, this should be quite easy!

With the video camera, film the outside of your home from all directions. While you’re doing this, talk into the camera and explain it as you’re filming it, especially anything out of the ordinary.

Then, film the contents of each room and closet in the house talking your way through everything.

Lastly, take a white sheet and spread it out on your dining room table.

On the table, place any valuables you have. Specifically, items you have scheduled on your policy: jewelry, china, silver, furs, etc… And, then film what you’ve laid out, again talking into the camera and describing what you’re filming.

Most Important Step

Assuming for a moment that you filmed this with a traditional video camera, don’t keep the video tape in your home when you’re finished filming. If the house burns down, the tape will burn along with it!

Instead, keep it in a fire proof safe, or in a safe deposit box at the bank.

If you filmed your home using an iPhone or like device, make sure to back up the videos in your Cloud account or somewhere other than in your physical home. Again, if you do so on the hard drive of your computer, it will burn in a fire as well and your great work will be lost.

Insurance Claim Time

When you have an insurance claim, you simply retrieve your video and hand a copy to your public insurance adjuster and insurance company. (Keep a copy for yourself.)

There will be no confusion whatsoever as to what you’re entitled to.

Would it be better if you also had receipts for every purchase you’ve made over the years? Yes. That would help tremendously.

However, most people have not saved all of their receipts, so if you fall into that category, don’t sweat it. Just go ahead and film everything right now.

Your insurance company won’t be very happy with you, but if you ever have a claim, you’ll be very happy you took this step.

Committed To Your Relaxing Retirement,

Jack Phelps

The Retirement Coach

P.S.: WHO do you know who could benefit from receiving my Retirement Coach “Strategy of the Week”? Please simply provide their name and email address to us at Or they can subscribe at

I appreciate the trust you place in me. Thank you! (The content of this letter does not constitute a tax opinion. Always consult with a competent tax professional service provider for advice on tax matters specific to your situation.)