If you think you have damage that’s enough to file a claim, we suggest you call us immediately. Remember, an insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. There are rules and procedures that you and your insurer must follow. Read your insurance policy to see what your responsibilities are.

You have a few options to initiate the claim process:

1) Call us (preferred method) and we will report the claim on your behalf. We will also follow-up within 24 hours, to make sure a claim adjuster has been assigned to your case. We will follow-up again in 5 business days to make sure you are happy with your adjuster. Then, we will follow-up again in 30 days to make sure your claim is running smoothly and address those things to keep your claim on track.

2) Call a toll-free number and report your claim to a claims center.

3) File On-line, you may need to log into your insurer's claims page with a user name and password. Or, you might be asked to give your policy number, Social Security number, or some other unique way to identify yourself. In order to complete the claim, present a copy of the police report, and all receipts for repairs to your insurance company.

Here is some advice:

1. If you are the victim of a theft or your home has been vandalized or burglarized, report it to the police. Get a police report and the names of all law enforcement officers that you speak with.

2. Insurance policies place a time limit on filing claims. Find out what the time limit is. Ask questions: Am I covered? Does my claim exceed my deductible? How long will it take to process my claim? Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs to structural damage?

3. Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage. Save receipts for what you spend, and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.

4. We suggest that you open a separate checking account to transact all claim expenses and payments.

5. You are going to need to substantiate your loss. Avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited your home. You should also consider photographing or videotaping the damage. Prepare a home inventory, make a copy for your adjuster and supply him or her with copies of receipts from damaged items.

5. If your home is severely damaged and you need to find other accommodations while repairs are being made, keep records of all additional expenses incurred. Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the “loss of use” of their home. However, many policies do NOT provide coverage for the additional living expense if a mandatory evacuation is ordered and there is no loss to your home.

6. Once your insurance company has been notified of your claim, the company is required to send the necessary claim forms to you by the end of a specified time period.

7. Your insurance company will arrange for the adjuster to come and inspect your home. Cooperate with them as they gather information. The adjuster cannot approve your claim, but the insurance company, in the determination of your claim, often uses their report.

8. If you decide to use an independent public adjuster, BEWARE. Our experience has shown that 90% of the time, they are ineffective and can be adversarial at times. By contracting with a PA, you are assigning all right of negotiation to them, and removing our representation.

Once you and your insurance company agree on the terms of your settlement, state laws require that you be sent payment promptly. In most cases, your claim will be processed quickly. If you have any questions about the claim filing laws in your state, call us.