What to Do When You Have a Homeowner Claim
In the event you have you a bungalow disaster, review the six steps below and then call your agent. Alternatively, fill out our first notice e-claim form to begin the process.
We are here to help you and guide you. That is what we do best.
1. Help the injured, call the fire department or police.
Be sure you, your family, and your guests are all OK. The Homeowners policy has some medical coverage for your guests. You purchased a Workers Compensation policy for your trusty guide and daycare worker. And you have a great family medical plan purchased separately for you and your family.
2. Preserve your property from further damage.
Whether you have had a tree fall through your roof, a washing machine water pipe break, or a furnace soot puff-back, call a professional disaster cleanup company (see our links page). They have 24 hour service and they know what to do. You need a professional and your policy will pay for it, subject to your deductible. If your home is uninhabitable because of this loss, rent a local room for the night and sort things out later. Be sure your home is secured before you leave.
3. CALL US.
We want to help and get things rolling for you. If it is an emergency, the insurance companies we represent have emergency 24 hour claims numbers listed below. If you do call the emergency number, be sure to call us too. Most claims can be handled better by the staff in our office during regular business hours. We will set up the claim for you and notify the insurance company. The insurance company will contact you and explain what you need to do for them. Depending upon the severity of the loss they will call you or send a loss adjuster who will contact you or even be there within an hour or two. Because loss handling is what insurance companies do, there is a natural flow of action. The Wilde & Son Insurance Agency will be here to answer any questions you have.
4. Do the paperwork.
Make a list of the damaged personal property giving a description, quantity, value (or the price you paid for it), and date of acquisition. You will want to collect any invoices or receipts as further documentation. Hold on to the damaged property until the company adjuster can see it, or take a photo of it. In the case of theft, your old family photos or videos may contain a pitcher of the item in question. We recommend you video tape your whole house once a year. Open up all closets, bureau drawers, cabinets, and tape the contents. Don’t forget that stuff under the bed. Put the video tape in a safe place. Our office has a Video camera which we lend out to clients to do the yearly tape, usually after the holidays.
5. The Homeowners policy is a contract and you have specific duties in reporting your loss.
This information is found in the Section 1, conditions section for the policy. For Property losses they are:
- Give prompt notice to us or our agent;
- Notify the police in case of loss by theft;
- Notify the credit card or fund transfer card company in case of loss under Credit Card or Fund Transfer Card coverage;
- Protect the property from further damage. If repairs to the property are required, you must:
- Make reasonable and necessary repairs to protect the property; and
- Keep an accurate record of repair expenses;
- Prepare an inventory of damaged personal property showing the quantity, description, actual cash value and amount of loss. Attach all bills, receipts and related documents that justify the figures in the inventory;
- As often as we reasonably require:
- Show the damaged property;
- Provide us with records and documents we request and permit us to make copies and
- Submit to examination under oath, while not in the presence of any other “insured” and sign the same;
- Send to us, within 60 days after our request, your signed, sworn proof of loss which sets forth, to the best of your knowledge and belief:
- The time and cause of loss;
- The interest of the “insured” and all others in the property involved and all liens on the property;
- Other insurance which may cover the loss;
- Changes in the title or occupancy of the property during the term of the policy;
- Specifications of damaged buildings and detailed repair estimates;
- The inventory of damaged personal property described in 2.a. above;
- Receipts for additional living expenses incurred and records that support the fair rental value loss; and
- Evidence or affidavit that supports a claim under the Credit Card, Fund Transfer Card, Forgery and Counterfeit Money coverage, stating the amount and cause of loss.
6. If you had a major fire you will be contacted by public adjusters.
They do not work for insurance companies, just for themselves. We recommend waiting a week or more before considering their services. They can slow down the claims process and take 10% of your claims payout. Your agent or your insurance company will assign adjusters who will be there as soon as they hear about the loss. They are a much better interface. The companies we represent pay promptly and fairly. The company and the agency are there to help you. Once you sign with a public adjuster the agency cannot even talk with you about your loss because you now have given your rights to the public adjuster.