Filing an insurance claim is not an easy process. Apart from having to deal with uncooperative representatives of your insurance company, you would most likely be bothered by physical, psychological and emotional problems too brought about by the calamity or accident you suffered. Your insurance company might not be exactly helpful in addressing your concerns on how the procedure for making an insurance claim goes.
Here are some common steps you would most likely encounter when you file that claim:
Report to the Police
While most insurance claims involve calamities and accidents, some insurance policies also cover incidents caused by man, such as burglary, vandalism or theft. When this happens, you should immediately report the incident to the police who will prepare an official report. Get a copy of this report which you can attach to your insurance claim.
List all of the items you lost and those that were damaged. Take pictures of damaged properties. An inventory of your properties before the calamity or accident occurred will also come in handy. Avoid cleaning up or repairing things before your property is inspected by an insurance adjuster. If you really need to do so, make sure to consult your insurance agent first as this might affect the strength of your claim.
File Your Claim
You should immediately file your claim with your insurance company. For instance, if you are a victim of the recent Colorado fires, you should file your claim with your fire insurer. Make sure to mind the deadlines for filing claims. These can vary depending on the type of insurance claim you are filing. You would not want to lose your right over your insurance proceeds simply because the deadline for filing your claim has lapsed.
After filing your claim, an insurance adjuster should get in touch with you with the contact numbers you provided when you filed your claim. You will agree on a schedule for the inspection of the damaged property.
The insurance adjuster will inspect the damaged property.
Temporary Repairs and Relocation
While waiting for the insurance adjuster to inspect your damaged property, you can make temporary repairs to avoid further damage on your property. Note, however, that the repairs should be within reason and with the knowledge or consent of your insurance agent. Otherwise, you might be precluded from claiming under your policy. You can also relocate if the situation calls for it. Make sure to keep receipts for the temporary repairs you undertook and the expenses for your alternative accommodation. These receipts will be examined by the insurance adjuster and he will determine if these are eligible for reimbursement under your policy.
After inspecting the damaged property, the insurance adjuster will estimate the costs for repairing the same. He will also evaluate your claim vis-à-vis the damage incurred at the property.
Once an agreement has been reached on the evaluation and estimates made by the insurance adjuster, you will be issued payment for the repairs that are covered by your policy. If you are not comfortable with the payment (i.e. you feel like it is not enough, or that the calculations don't add up) get in touch with a qualified policyholder attorney to help sort things out.