Claim Reporting & Management
Damage to our properties can occur at anytime and can catch us off guard. There are many scenarios which play out during the minutes, days and weeks that follow a claim. Our emotions run high, our stress-levels increase and urgency takes on a whole new meaning. However, a strong plan of action can offer valuable guidance to those dealing with a recent loss.
1. Assess & Contain the Situation
The insured is responsible for taking necessary measures to prevent additional damage from occurring following a loss. For example, if there is a burst pipe, someone should immediately turn off the water to prevent further water damage. If there is standing water, the services of a commercial company specializing in water extraction and mitigation may be required to prevent excess moisture damage.
If a loss has been sustained, the insured should notify all parties involved with their policy. It is wise to start by contacting your local insurance agent and then the insurance carrier. A claim can take 24 to 48 hours to be assigned, so timely reporting is essential for timely adjusting.
An adjustor may not be available immediately to inspect the damage. You should do what is necessary to prevent additional damage, but nothing more until approval is received. If reasonable expenses arise from preventative measures, be sure to save all copies of receipts and paperwork to submit to the adjustor. A quality photo of the area before, during and after the damage mitigation process is also advisable.
Potential problems can arise when repairs are completed before a claim is reported and/or a formal inspection has been done. Once repaired there is no longer proof that a covered cause of loss may have existed. Do not dispose of damaged items or repair affected areas without quality photos, documentation and carrier approval.
Finally, establish a central source of information for loss procedures. This should be clearly visible and include contact numbers, policy information and step-by-step instructions for those who may need to report a claim.