How do insurance companies determine the value of an item damaged by water?

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How do insurance companies determine the value of an item damaged by water?

The water pipes in the apartment above me busted when it was cold and flooded my apartment. I have

numerous items damaged to include a TV, couch, laptops, phones, and lots of medical books. Do they only give you a set amount per item despite the brand or the amount you paid for it? And what happens if you don’t have proof of what you paid for the item?

Asked on February 8, 2017 under Insurance Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

There is no set or single methodology, but basically, they try to determine what those things would sell for now--not the cost to replace with a new item, but what (to oversimplify) someone else would have paid to buy *that* TV from you, given its size, make, model, age, etc. They can use "depreciation tables"--rules accountants have come up with for how much value different categories of goods lose each year as they age. 
Or they can do research and see what like items, given brand, model, age, etc. do actually sell for--that's basically what is done with cars, for example, to determine the value of a used car.
The goal though is the same: to find out what a certain thing is worth now, given its age, type, condition, etc.


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