It happens. Suddenly you’re in a serious auto accident or your home is devastated when a tornado tears through your town: What do you do? Every claim situation is unique, this is generally how it should be handled.
- Care for the people. If you or anyone else is injured, take care of them. If it even might be serious, call emergency services.
- Care for the property. If there is a hole in the roof and you can cover it, cover it. If you have property to pull off the road, do it. If you need to call a contractor to fix a window so the rain doesn’t pour in, call the contractor.
- Contact your agent. Your agent should be able to answer any questions you may have and advise you about what to do next. If you purchased your insurance online, you may not have an agent but you should have a phone number for the claims department. At this point, the claim is often simply turned over to a company adjuster.
The adjuster is going to be working directly with you to settle the claim. They will explain what is needed and what to expect from them. They ultimately make the decisions regarding payments etc. Most companies will allow 24-48 hours for the adjuster to make first contact. In the meantime, if you can get an estimate for damages this will expedite the process as it will be needed.
Preferred Clients (pun intended) get a little more attention
- We instruct you about how to document the damage with photos, report numbers, contact information and anything else related to the situation. We then call the company with that information, though a few companies require the client to call them directly
- We explain what you should expect from the company and when to expect it. Often we can tell you who the adjuster is and give you their direct phone number and email address.
- We then stay involved throughout the claim process. We usually call in a few days to make sure the adjuster has contacted you and to make sure you don’t have any questions or concerns and we will continue to call back as long as it takes to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. We never want our clients to hesitate to call us if they are concerned
Once the adjuster has obtained all documentation they will then issue reimbursement based on the findings. It is important to know that just because an offer is presented to you does not mean you are required to accept. If the loss is more than what is offered and you can provide evidence to support your claim. Negotiations are a common aspect of claim settlements, and at Preferred we are there to help and advise.
Ultimately, your insurance policy is designed to work for you and protect you from unexpected damages or loss – especially when you need it the most!