What do I do after a loss? A complete guide to filing an insurance claim.

Mar 3, 2016 4 minute read

What do I do after a loss? A complete guide to fil...

Has your home been impacted by water damage? Or have you been in a collision?

In the event of an incident, you may not know what to do next. At BrokerLink, our knowledgeable insurance experts will help you navigate the claims process so that you feel confident every step of the way.

Below, we provide a step-by-step guide to the claims process.

1. Gather as many details as possible.

  • Property Loss: Make a list of any lost or damaged items in your home, take photos or videos of the damage and try to find receipts and owners’ manuals for any big-ticket items. Download and print our Home Inventory Checklist to keep a record of your belongings.
  • Collisions: Get the other driver’s information and details of the incident, as well as witness statements and police reports for any damage. Download and print the Collision Checklist for step-by-step instructions on what to do following a collision.

REMEMBER: Collisions in Ontario with damage greater than $2,000 should be reported to the Collision Reporting Centre while in Alberta, damage greater than $2,000 should be reported to the police.

2. Report the claim to your insurance company within one business day.

Also be sure to speak to your BrokerLink broker. Your broker will:

  • Confirm your coverage,
  • Review the details of the incident,
  • Advise you of any paperwork to be completed and
  • Report the claim to the insurance company on your behalf, or can assist you in reporting it yourself.

3. Contact your claims adjuster.

Once the insurance company has received your claim report, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your file. A claims adjuster will get in touch to:

  • Confirm details of the loss and review your coverage,
  • Conduct an in-person visit to inspect the damage
  • Provide paperwork to be completed and to facilitate any repairs to be done.

At this stage, your adjuster will be your main contact person for your claim. Your BrokerLink broker can be an advocate on your behalf throughout the process to ensure a smooth and efficient resolution to your claim and answer any questions you may have.

Does your claim involve injuries?

If you or someone else sustains any injuries, whether due to a car accident or property damage, you will be assigned a specialist claims adjuster. This adjuster will have special knowledge of any medical benefits available and any additional forms to be completed. If other parties were injured, it is important to cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation to ensure a fair and timely resolution.

4. Inspecting and reviewing the loss.

Your claims adjuster will likely require a third party to inspect the loss and provide an estimate for repair or replacement cost.

  • Appraisal report: An appraisal report is written by an appraiser that estimates the value of a property or vehicle and details the extent of damage and cost to repair. Your insurance company will have a preferred appraiser who you may choose to use. Be sure to get a copy of the report for your own files, as well as providing a copy to the insurance company.
  • Property Loss: If you have experienced loss or damage to items in your home, a Proof of Loss form must be completed and returned within 30 days, including a list of lost or damaged items.

5. How much will my insurance cover?

Your claims adjuster will review the estimated cost of repairs and decide what is covered.

  • Repairs: You will be advised of the options for your repairs, including preferred suppliers by the insurer or whether you can use a mechanic or contractor of your choice. Repairs done by preferred vendors will be guaranteed by the insurance company to meet their standards, but you may need to wait for service.
  • Deductible: At this point you will also be responsible for paying any deductible applicable to your claim.
  • Additional services: Your policy and coverage will determine whether to provide additional services, such as a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop or additional living expenses while your home is being repaired.

6. Paying for services and repairs.

Once repairs have been completed or items have been replaced, your insurance company will pay any invoices on your behalf (except the deductible, which you will have already paid). Keep in mind you have two years from the date of loss to finalize your claim.

BrokerLink tip: Filing an insurance claim for your business is different than filing a claim personally. Check out our step-by-step guide to filing a business claim here.

The foundation of insurance is based on good faith. Insurance policies are governed by special provisions called Statutory Conditions, which allows the insurer to void the contract in its entirety if these conditions are breached. Misrepresentation refers to providing false or misleading statement(s) or non-disclosure of material or important facts. This prevents the insurer from making informed decisions on whether or not they wish to accept a risk and if accepted, charge the appropriate rates. In addition, you are required to report a Material Change in Risk, which is something that was true at the time of the application, but conditions changed throughout the policy term. Failure to report changes to the insurance company may also result in a voided contract and denied claim.

If you have questions about what insurance coverage you have in place, contact your BrokerLink broker today. They can help make sure your property, car and belongings are properly covered to their full value. Then you can rest easy knowing the things you value are protected.