Take, for example, the expensive pair of earrings given to you by your parents, what happens if you lose them? You may think that you will just claim on your home insurance, but can you supply a receipt or other proof of purchase to the insurance company? Hopefully, you will have a receipt for those earrings or a photo of you wearing them; however, now cast your mind to all the other valuable items that you own and how you would prove to an insurance company that yes, you did own them and no, you're not making a fraudulent claim!
In terms of insurance, proof of ownership can be anything that provides evidence an item belonged to you before it was lost, stolen, or damaged.
It is always prudent to check with your insurance company first to ascertain what they accept as proof of ownership however generally speaking the following items are a safe bet;
Either electronic or paper receipts are the first document many people will reach to prove ownership as they are proof the item was purchased, the time/date it was purchased, and the cost of the item, and if you’re lucky enough, prove that it was you who bought it.
As the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Photos are fantastic documents to prove ownership. Taken correctly, you can use photos to show you in possession of an item in your home along with the condition of the item and any specific details such as make, model, and serial number. It is also possible to include the receipt in a photo adding further data to prove ownership.
Like a receipt, financial statements can show the amount spent at a given time and place however, unlike a receipt, they don’t itemise the specific detail of the item. While this is sometimes accepted as proof of ownership by insurance companies, it is more likely to support other evidence in a claim.
Hoarding those boxes in the attic or basement can often prove worthwhile. The contents of the item's packaging can often prove your ownership. Take a computer, for example, usually within the box you will find several documents, including a warranty and a manual, both of which you can present to insurers as proof of ownership along with the box itself; this can be compelling evidence as to why else would you own these items?
Where receipts are not available for example family heirlooms or antiques valuation appraisals or certificates can be obtained from experts. These documents may be used as proof of ownership but will more likely need supporting evidence such as photographs.
Smartwatches, tablets, mobile phones, and other devices are all registered online and linked to your profile which is a great proof of ownership.
Make sure to record the serial numbers of valuable items as this can sometimes be used as proof of evidence.
Without proof of ownership, there is no guarantee that a fraudulent claim isn’t being made. Insurance fraud, whether it is deliberate (premeditated damage or faking theft) or exaggerated claims, is a common crime that can sometimes tempt even the most well-behaved law-abiding person. The cost to the industry is huge and is inevitably passed on to the customer by means of higher premiums, increased levels of excess and more things that insurers won’t cover. It is for this reason that if you can’t prove ownership then your claim won’t succeed and you will suffer financial loss.
We all know that sinking feeling when you lose something important, insurance is there to back you up during these times, but it can be easy to get caught short, as we have already discussed. The act of simply purchasing insurance against loss or damage isn’t enough. You have to prepare for the eventuality that you need to claim and provide proof of ownership. Taking time to document your valuables in detail by several means will help your claim progress smoothly and make sure that you receive proper compensation.
Walk through your house room by room and make a record of your valuable items taking note of how much you paid, when and where you bought it, and any identifying characteristics such as make, model, serial number, or unique factors.
Get your camera out and take photos of the items on your inventory in-situ. As explained earlier, it’s even better to place receipts next to the items in the image. Review your photos to make sure they are focused correctly and evidence the data you have listed on your inventory, such as make and model.
Creating a digital form of your inventory and backing it up to cloud storage will mean that you can access it at any time and protect against the loss of a paper copy.
Blockchain technology provides an extremely effective method for proving ownership and condition of insured items. When you take a photo or video and store the data on blockchain a single immutable source of truth is created and here's how;
This sounds like something a drug trafficker might be interested in however it is in fact a complicated process of data encryption using mathematical algorithms. Without getting into the finer details of hashing it suffices to say once your data has been hashed the chances of decrypting it are infinitesimal. Equally as amazing is the fact that an alteration to even a single point of data in the file that is being hashed will result in a completely different hash value. In plain english? it's impossible to change the data that you secured, creating an incredibly strong piece of evidence.
The strings of characters known as a hash are stored within a block, when each block reaches its data capacity it is verified by a miner and given a timestamp. The timestamp forms a header along with a hash value which is obtained from the entire data in that block and the hash value of the block before. The result of this system of creating headers is that each block is set firmly in its place and the chain becomes unbreakable. For a proof of ownership, this means that it's veriefable exactly when the proof was created.
Unlike conventional cloud storage where data is uploaded to a central server blockchain is decentralised. This means that it is made up of a vast network of computers located worldwide and owned by many different parties. Each computer is referred to as a node and each node holds the entire transaction history of the blockchain. In order to alter the data held within the blockchain a majority consensus has to be reached by the nodes.
So how does this all work together? Let's take a hypothetical look at what would happen if an attempt was made to change even the smallest amount of data on a blockchain.
For a majority consensus, 51% or more nodes would need to verify the change, in a decentralised network of thousands of nodes, this would be extremely difficult and as close to impossible as might be imagined.
At LifeHash we provide solutions for companies in several industries, including the insurance industry. We offer on-demand development services and have a fully customizable blockchain-enabled claims solution. Would you like to learn more about how LifeHash can help you with creating secure and transparent proof of ownership? Book a meeting with us.
We will also release an app that will help you manage proof of ownership and help you safely secure and store other data. Follow us on social media to be notified when we release the solution.
Ask the person who gave the gift if they have the receipt or if any appraisal has ever been conducted on the item. Consider providing manuals, photos, warranties or other documents to substantiate your claim.
Unfortunately, due to the prevalence of fraud, insurance claims will be unsuccessful without proof of ownership and will inevitably leave you out of pocket.
Proof of purchase is a little more specific than proof of ownership and is most commonly some form of receipt obtained at the time of purchase.
Vehicle registration papers are the best proof of ownership of a car.