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Your Guide to Property Claims

Your Guide to Property Claims

We hope it never happens to you, but property claims do happen. Whether it is a break-in, a tornado, or a fire, we’ve got you covered.  If it’s your first claim, you may not know what to do. Luckily your policy gives you a good idea of what your next steps should be, in a section usually titled “Duties In The Event Of Loss Or Damage”.

First Things First

The first question you need to ask yourself is: “Was a law broken?”  If so, you should immediately contact the police. Whether this was a burglary or a robbery, the police should always be the first call.

If no law has been broken, you can move on to the next step.

Timing Is Everything

As per the Building and Personal Property Coverage Form (CP 00 10):

Property damage may be compounded over time due to weather and other factors, so reporting damage in a timely fashion is important. As soon as you are aware of loss or damage to your building or contents, you should notify your broker or your insurance company.

The company will need a description of the damage, including how and when it occurred to be sure that the damaged property is covered under your policy. Failure to report property damage or loss in a timely manner could result in reduced claim payments.

Then What?

Once you have reported the damage or loss to the insurance company, your duties are still not over. The policy states that upon reporting you must:

You must protect the property from further damage or loss. Be sure to keep records of what you spend to do this, so that you can possibly be reimbursed by the insurance company. Note that the company “will not pay for any subsequent loss or damage” resulting from another cause of loss not covered by the policy.

Cooperate, Cooperate, Cooperate

The company will expect your cooperation with matters regarding the claim. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Inventory lists of lost or damaged property.
  2. Access to the damaged areas for inspection.
  3. Access to damaged property for inspection and testing.
  4. Completion of forms and affidavits provided by the company.
  5. Your cooperation with regard to investigation and settlement of the claim.

It is very important that you cooperate with the insurance company in both the investigation of and the defense of the claim. Failure to do so may relieve the insurance company of any responsibility to pay the claim.

How To File A Claim

Should you find yourself in the position of needing to file a claim, the process is usually very simple:

  1. If you have an insurance broker, contact your broker by phone, mail or email as soon as possible with details of the claim as outlined above. If your broker is Hayes Brokers, you may call them at 800-869-8643.
  2. If you deal directly with an insurance company, the claim hotline number will appear on your policy, or on the company website. Calling your broker may delay the claims process.

Knowing what your insurance company expects from you in the event of a claim is a good way to make sure things go smoothly. If you think you may have a claim, call Hayes Brokers today to find out how to handle it properly.

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