- Immediately report property damage to your agent and insurance company.
- Get claim forms from your agent. Find out if you can file the claim by phone.
- Your insurance company will issue a claim number. You will need this number to obtain claim status.
- Your agent will arrange for an insurance adjuster to visit your property to assess the damage. Types of adjusters include:
- Company Adjusters: Are employees of insurance companies
- Independent Adjusters: Are normally employed by independent adjusting firms that contract with insurance companies to handle claims
- Public Adjusters: They do not work for insurance companies or independent adjusting firms. Most public adjusters work for themselves by representing the insured on their claim. A public adjuster is paid a percentage of the claims settlement by the policy holder. Therefore, you must share part of your settlement when you use a public adjuster.
No matter what type of adjuster you use, make sure you find a licensed one. Ask to see identification, and if still uncertain, call the Department of Insurance toll-free at 800-342-2762.
- Make emergency repairs and document them. These repairs might be required by your policy to prevent further damage to your home or its contents. Keep all receipts and take photographs of the damage, before and after the repair, to submit with your claim.
- Take precautions if damage requires you to leave your home. Take these steps before you leave:
- Secure your property and remove any valuables
- Lock all windows and doors
- Contact your agent and leave a phone number and address where the agent can reach you
Take the same precautions if you receive notice to evacuate before a storm.
- Beware of unscrupulous repair businesses.
- Hire only licensed and reputable service people, preferably from your community
- Call the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at 1-800-342-7940 to find out if a contractor is licensed.
Updated March 2012