As insurance professionals, we're in the business to pay claims. After all, that is why individuals, families and business owners invest money each year - to manage the risks that face them. An insurance policy is called a "conditional contract". This means that if the insured does X , the insurer will do Y (protect and indemnify the insured for a covered loss according to the terms of the contract).
So when that time comes that you need to file a claim, what should you do? FIRST, make sure no one is injured and the correct authorities and/or emergency response crews are notified. Then, my opinion is to act as though you didn't have any insurance at all. This means trying to protect the property from further damage, contacting contractors for estimates, etc.
Most insurance policies require that the Insured's Duties After Loss are:
To us insurance nerds this is called "mitigating the loss". This basically means that you're taking the necessary steps to keep the severity of the loss from increasing. It is intended to keep the loss from increasing unnecessarily which will also increase costs to the insurance company and insured.
However, this does not mean that permanent repairs are immediately required. Examples of this would be putting a tarp over a damaged roof to keep rain water out, preserving perishable goods by freezing them, or turn off the water supply to a broken pipe.
It is also your duty to promptly report the loss to the insurance company. Be sure to gather as much information as you can and give your agent a call to provide notice of the claim. Things to include are location, description of what happened, what appears damaged or missing, and details of any expenses you've incurred to prevent further loss.
During this process, you must cooperate with the claims investigation. The claims adjuster will ask for copies of invoices, accident reports, financials, etc. They will use this to not only help get the claim paid in a timely manner but to also defend you against any possible liability claim or suit.
It is important to stay active in getting estimates and repairs scheduled. You're able to use the qualified contractor or company of your choice. Insurance companies and adjusters do not do this for you but they may have approved vendors they work with.
NOTE: Only the Claims Adjuster can authorize payment of a claim. As your insurance solution provider, we cannot issue payment or authorize repairs without the approval from the adjuster. However, we are available to help guide you through this process and represent you to the insurance company.
This should really go before step 1 and before the loss occurs. We suggest having a Disaster Plan ready so you are prepared to respond in the event of a loss. Have an emergency plan for your family and how you can be ready for a potential loss.
For business owners, you should put a detailed plan together that should include:
We represent you, the insured, and always want a claim settled fairly and efficiently. That means that we want to get you back to where you were before the loss. Since every claim scenario is different, there may be challenges along the way. This is why you work with Top O' Michigan Insurance to go to bat for you to apply the coverage to the claim scenario. We want to see that the company pays exactly what is owed to the insured: not a penny less or penny more.
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