What Proof of Tool Ownership is Required for an Insurance Claim?

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Forum topic by knotscott posted 01-09-2015 04:43 PM 2407 views 0 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8055 posts in 3398 days

01-09-2015 04:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource

Fortunately I’m not in a situation where I need to make a claim….just wondering what the insurance companies require in the event of a fire, burglary or other disaster, and I needed to replace my tools. I currently have pics and descriptions online here of most my tools, plus have a spreadsheet of the tool description, brand/model, and approximate replacement cost, but doubt I could find original receipts for everything. What’s required, what do others do as proof?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

32 replies so far

View JayT's profile


5669 posts in 2234 days

#1 posted 01-09-2015 04:49 PM

For my insurance, I just have a rider for a certain amount for the tools. If the shop burns down or gets cleaned out in a robbery, I get the insured amount (minus deductible, of course). It is my responsibility to keep the amount on the policy at the proper level.

I probably need to review the amount again this year.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View GrandpaLen's profile


1650 posts in 2295 days

#2 posted 01-09-2015 05:23 PM

My homeowners policy covers up to $5K (minus the deductible) and I have a rider on the policy for an additional $20K.
Pics and a spreadsheet with serial numbers are a great asset for theft report to Police.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View MrRon's profile


4793 posts in 3266 days

#3 posted 01-09-2015 05:26 PM

It’s a good idea to keep a detailed list of the tools and photographs. Small tools usually won’t be questioned, but if you have say thousands of dollars worth of precision measuring tools, it would be prudent to record them and provide the insurer with a copy. Large machinery especially can raise insurance flags. Naturally the more value you place on your tools, the higher the insurance premium will be. Normally, household contents are covered by 10% of the real property value. If you home is insured for $200K then the contents would be covered up to 20K. As long as everything including tools fall within that $20K, you are covered automatically.

View MAKZ06's profile


69 posts in 1827 days

#4 posted 01-09-2015 05:31 PM

Here’s the way it worked for me quite a few years ago when I had a pipe burst and cause a lot of damage. I was with State Farm at the time. They asked for a list of the items and they then had their “expert” send back an estimate for replacement costs for each item based on their findings. Most of my tools were older models no longer available so they looked at suitable replacements of same type quality. A lot of my damage was to home-built jigs, tables, etc so they estimated based on commercial replacements. Some numbers were high and some low. I can’t remember the exact process but I seem to remember getting a check to cover the damage to the building but it didn’t cover everything for some reason or another. What they had me do was provide receipts for the replacement items I purchased and then they reimbursed me for those items.
I was happy with the process. At the beginning I was afraid that they would not replace my Craftsman contractor table saw for instance because it was still running. It had severe rust and who knows what kind of long term damage would eventually show up in the motor. I initially figured they would tell me to sand the rust off and replace the extension tables, etc. They reimbursed me for the cost of a new comparable Contractor table saw but allowed to apply that toward a new Powermatic PM2000. It seems like I had a year to make my replacements and would get reimbursed each time I would send them a list of the latest replacements with receipts. Some items if higher than their estimate but of comparable value were reimbursed fully if I made the case. Some other items I actually upgraded and paid the difference.
At the time I did not have all my stuff documents and with photos. I was luck it was damage and everything was still there sho I had proof of ownership/ damage. I have since then gone through and tried to get good photos of all my stuff in case of another incident or theft.
Definitely need to check like Jay says above to see how much your policy covers for “tools” or different categories and be sure you have enough to cover replacements. I know I carry a separate rider for my firearms because the standard policy only covers up to a certain amount. I need to review that for my woodworking and automotive stuff now that it has come up… I have a lot more than I used to.

View rjcooke's profile


3 posts in 1373 days

#5 posted 01-09-2015 05:33 PM

A few years ago I was out of town. Someone needed my tools more then I did. I had pics and the model numbers and serial numbers of all of them. No problem with my insurer at all. The police said they wished everyone did that.

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3398 days

#6 posted 01-09-2015 05:38 PM

Thanks for the replies. It sounds like at the very least I should check with my insurance company, and maybe look into a rider. $20K wouldn’t go far for a shop full of tools plus furniture, appliances, other belongings in the house in the event of a fire that burned the whole house to the ground. Recording the serial #s on the tools is a great idea.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View johnstoneb's profile


2932 posts in 2195 days

#7 posted 01-09-2015 05:54 PM

just met with my agent (State Farm) and he did recommend pictures of all rooms. Primarily to cover the smaller items that you might forget when filing a claim.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3254 days

#8 posted 01-09-2015 06:03 PM

When I was shooting sports photography, I had a $15K rider for my camera equipment. I don’t think that would have covered everything I had. Those cameras and lenses add up quick. Luckily, I didn’t need to make any claims.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2392 days

#9 posted 01-09-2015 06:09 PM

A few years ago I was out of town. Someone needed my tools more then I did.
- rjcooke

Well when you put it like that, it sounds innocent enough…

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View BigYin's profile


418 posts in 2439 days

#10 posted 01-09-2015 06:23 PM

Thought ... dont store the details and pictures only at home, if it burns down you lose everything. keep a copy with friends, family etc. along with the policy details.

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 1984 days

#11 posted 01-09-2015 06:33 PM

Definitely check with your insurer and it’s a good idea to email them that way you have it in writing. If you talk to them they’ll often say something reassuring that’s not always as specific as what your policy requires.

Pictures and serial numbers would really make things easy on you like rjcooke said. But even though I know that I haven’t gotten updated pictures recently.

View NoThanks's profile


798 posts in 1552 days

#12 posted 01-09-2015 06:44 PM

I like, JayT, carry a ryder for a certain amount. The premium is based on that.
Something you may also want to check into,
If you underestimate that amount of coverage you need, they may give you less than your insured for if something happens.
For example: Your covered for 20K, something happens and they find out that you have 40K in tools. they may take the percentage difference and deduct it from the amount of coverage you have as a penalty for undervaluing the amount. Not really sure how that works, but something to look into.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18285 posts in 3699 days

#13 posted 01-09-2015 07:29 PM

Sounds like the insurance issues are pretty well covered. Using an engraver to mark your tools with your drivers license number can help in identification should the police ever recover any of them. Also helps in convicting a thief too ;-) Do not be surprised if the thief returns to get the insurance replacements while out on bail awaiting trial on the first theft. ;-( Do not delay marking your new tools.

edit: ID marking example ~ WA DL # for Washington Drivers License number followed by the number.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3983 days

#14 posted 01-09-2015 09:03 PM

Don’t beat up on the insurers. Document, identify, price, qualify.
All the info you can present will help.


View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2030 days

#15 posted 01-09-2015 09:12 PM

Back when I was a mechanic I worked with guys that used to engrave their tools with “hash marks” with a grinder. Bill used 2 marks, Jeff used 3. The Shop hired a new guy and the guys told him to use 4 marks. Fast forward a few months and several of them started missing some tools. Turns out it was the “New guy” who was just adding the additional marks to their tools and claiming them for his own. Took them a few days to figure out what was going on but by then the new guy had quit and skipped town.

My stuff? Nope I never lost a wrench. How so? you ask?
Because I engraved all my tools with ”STOLEN FROM JOE DURNING”. And pretty much every tool in my big set is STILL marked this way :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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