In the event that a claimable property loss occurs the first thing you have to determine is what the cause of the loss was. If the loss was due to the actions of a third party you may be better off by going against that party and their insurer, rather than by submitting the claim to your own insurer. That is because your recovery against a third party is not subject to the limitations, occurrences and deductibles that apply to your own insurance.
For more on this subject please review the IC section on Third Party Claims.
Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Decide how to respond to the loss and file a general notice of the claim promptly.
If the loss was the result of a crime (e.g. arson, burglary), contact the police and file a formal police report. Be sure to retain a copy of the police report for your records.
Is the loss covered?
Review the language of your insurance policy to verify whether the loss is covered. Obtain a consultation with an experienced insurance attorney if the loss was significant and if there is any doubt as to coverage).
Prepare a comprehensive list.
- Prepare a detailed list of the physical damage to any structures or personal or business property that was damaged or destroyed.
- Obtain bids – actual bids to repair, not just estimates – from a general contractor of your choice, to repair or replace any damaged physical structures to a standard of “like kind and quality” of what was destroyed.
- Give a copy of the bid and a copy of the inventory of personal and business property to your insurer, along with copies of any receipts or records that can verify the value of damaged property.
- Take detailed photos and/or video of any damage being claimed.
- Provide this to your insurer in support of the claim.
Next: Filing a Claim