No matter what, having a loss is never easy. Know that your insurance company is there to get you back to where you were before the loss happened. Here are a few things to help you understand the claims process (coverage may depend on your individual policy or loss).
- Contact Your Agent: Your agent will help get the process started and will ask for a few details such as the best daytime phone number.
- Adjuster: When the insurance company assigns an adjuster (either company employed or independent third party claims adjuster), they will contact you as soon as possible to set up an appointment for inspection of your claim. This could be a few days after the claim is submitted. You should do whatever precautions are necessary to avoid further damage (Take lots of photos and keep receipts). Depending on the severity of your claim or other claims happening simultaneously, contact times may vary
- Inspection: The adjuster will determine the scope of the necessary repairs to be able to prepare an estimate for the covered damages. If you have a contractor, ask that they be present during this process. It makes everything go a little smoother.
- Estimate of Damages: The adjuster completes their file by writing an estimate for the covered damages. Once the file is reviewed and approved, it is released to the insurance company for approval.
- Payment(s) Issued*: Reimbursement for repair or replacement of your damages may be made in two payments. You will receive a copy of the estimate of damages which details the following payments:
- 1st payment/Actual Cash Value (ACV): ACV is the cost to either replace an item with a like kind and quality, less depreciation or repair an item, less your deductible. Depreciation is a decrease in the value of that item due to its age and condition.
- Repairing your property: Contact a contractor of your choice and provide them a copy of the estimate done by the insurance company. Review this estimate with the contractor to ensure that the scope of damages and repairs process is completely understood.
- 2nd payment/Replacement Cost (RC): If your policy has replacement cost coverage, you are entitled up to the full amount shown on the estimate you received with your first payment or the actual cost to repair/replace. To receive this payment, you will need to submit final invoices to receive the full payment.
Understanding how a claim works will ease some stress and make the whole process better. So what’s the big picture? It’s good news, things will get repaired and brighter days are ahead.
* Claim payment check(s) are made payable to named insured on the policy & first mortgagee (if any). It is the responsibility of the named insured to get mortgagee endorsement on the claim check. Be sure to keep your mortgage on your policy up to date.