There are hundreds of cases and articles addressing how to assess damage to real and personal property. Using highly calculated formulas, the discussion typically focuses on how to determine market value of real property. Though beneficial to assess real property, these discussions fall short when they fail to address how to assess damage to personal property. This discussion begs the question. How can I assess damage to personal property that has sentimental value?

How can I assess damage to personal property that has sentimental value?

We will address assessing damage to personal property when dealing with the following scenarios:

  • Personal property that is sentimental to the insured;
  • Personal property that isn’t easily assigned a market value; and
  • Personal property that has little to no market value.

For a more elaborate definition, Ohio Revised Code 5701.03 defines personal property.

In arriving at a value for personal property without a readily obtainable market value, the test can be summarized as the reasonable value of the article, to the owner, at the time of loss. Ohio juries can consider factors, such as the original cost of the item, the uses of the personal property by the Plaintiff, the value to the Plaintiff, and of course, the cost of replacement. This test has often been applied to the conversion or damage to wearable items such as clothing. Considering the above scenarios, you may assess damage to personal property as the reasonable value of the article, to the owner, at the time of loss.