Making an insurance claim can be a stressful time, especially if the incident or damage is very disruptive. You might have questions about insurance claims, what your policy covers, and what to do next.
First Things First
Be prepared – information is your friend in the claims process. Photos or video of your home and belongings is a great resource in the event of a claim, and in particular, in the event of a total loss. Retain receipts, manuals, a list of serial numbers, year, make, models, or even complete a room-by-room detailed inventory.
For any loss, be sure that you document as much of the damage as possible by taking photos and notes before any repairs begin. For some incidents, emergency work will be required, which will entail removing belongings to a secure location, protecting damaged property, and securing the incident site.
After the loss, you will be asked to complete a form called a “schedule of loss or proof of loss.” This document itemizes every possession that was damaged or destroyed in the incident, along with its cost, where it was purchased and when, a description of the item, and where it was located on the property. The more information you have, the quicker things will progress.
Choosing a Contractor
At the onset of the emergency, a call to a restoration company will likely be the best option to mitigate the damage. However, once things are secure, you can take the time to consider who you will hire for the full scope of repair. Most companies require that any contracting work is done under their policy be completed by a preferred contractor to ensure adequate levels of service, and that checks and balances in the claims process are adhered to.
However, the contact for the scope of repairs is between the insured and the contactor in the end. Stay on top of timelines and trades, hold the trades accountable, document any interactions, and keep your adjuster informed of progress and any problems so they can manage payments and accountability from their end as well.
The insurance company will assign an insurance claims examiner or adjuster to oversee your claim. They may also assign an independent adjuster to be your direct contact whom you will work with you throughout the process. The adjuster(s) will assess the damages to your home against their insurance policy wordings and exclusions to determine where coverage will lie.
Once they determine how much of the loss is covered by the policy, they will calculate the cost of these replacements and repairs based on local market prices for materials and labour, and the amount of work needed to return the property to its pre-claim condition. They will then pay the costs associated for the repairs either to the contractor directly, the insureds, or a combination of both. Your adjuster(s) will assist in making sure the flow of the claim repairs stay on track and will also deal directly with the contractor should any possible issues arise.
Claims management is an important broker service. Your broker will assist you in assessing whether or not the damages are severe enough to warrant submitting a claim, as frequent insurance claims can affect a customer’s premiums and rating, and in some cases may prevent renewals being offered at all.
With MacDonald-Gill Insurance, your agent will help you through the entire process, from reporting the claim, navigating coverage and limitations, assisting with the dealings with the adjuster and company, and helping manage your coverage after the claim.