How do I make an insurance claim? IT’S TIME TO GET ORGANIZED! What about a loss that isn’t your fault like a car accident? It’s not too late to organize!
Start a File
After your loss, you must immediately create a new file. You can buy a cardboard folder that looks like an accordion and store lots of paperwork. You can store everything in a cardboard box even if it has a lid. It doesn’t matter how fancy you are, just keep it all in one place. You must also be able to access your file from anywhere, so you can’t use a cabinet at home.
The following information should be included in your file during the recovery process:
A. current copy of your policy. Call your agent immediately if you do not have a copy of your policy.
B.Copies of all written correspondences (don’t forget emails) between you and ANYONE regarding your claim.
C. Telephone, fax, and email addresses records for all parties to the claim.
D. Photographs you have taken of damage…and repairs. These include videotapes and still photos taken immediately after the loss.
E. A cassette tape containing your recorded account of how the loss occurred. (See Chapter Twenty Five Recorded Statements.
F. A cassette tape recorder with batteries and spare tapes to record EVERY conversation you have with an adjuster, claims examiner or appraiser, engineer (or attorney) about this claim.
G. Receipt envelope. All receipts related to this loss must be placed in the envelope. Never give your original receipts to the insurance company. They should have copies.
H. Expense log: Emergency services, living expenses and mileage… ANYTHING you need to pay that is related to this loss.
I. Written requirements for the City, County, or State Building Codes
J. See the Appendix to see a list all 50 state insurance departments and their telephone numbers. This information is also available on my website.
K. Waiver form of Lien (See Chapter Thirty and Settling Your Claim). These forms can also be downloaded from the website.
L. Worker’s list. This is a list of all the people who work in your home. It includes their names, where they work, and what they do. It would also be great to take their picture. Why? There could be many people working in your home. Do you allow strangers into your home?
M. Professional reports such as an Engineer Report, Cause and Origin Report, Fire or Police Report, etc.
N. Copy all estimates.
O. SIGNED CONTRACTS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL WORK. Contractors may discover hidden damages that require additional repair costs. These costs are your responsibility, even if the insurance company agrees. Your house is not the property of the insurance company. It is yours. SEND IT BY EMAIL.
P. Copies of any advance payments checks you receive from your insurance company
Q. Without insurance, there is no work. Period. You cannot afford to allow a worker to be hurt on your premises.
Keep a Journal
You can either buy a journal book or use a standard-sized legal pad to keep track of your claims. You should record everything that happens in your case. Every phone conversation should be recorded: Date, time and phone number. Also, note who you spoke to, and what they said. Note every meeting: Date, time and length of the meeting, attendees, what was discussed.
It is important to note it when it happens. Do not rely on your memories for a few more days. It will be a mistake.
There is no downside to handling your claim professionally. Consider this: Do you allow your employer to send you weekly payroll checks for any amount he wants? You’d question your employer’s paycheck if it was incorrect. You’d challenge the check that your favorite restaurant handed you if it was $20.00 over. These numbers are nothing compared to the thousands of dollars you’d be paying for insurance.
Accept the settlement offered by your insurance company without verifying it is correct. All money that you are entitled to in your insurance claim should be collected!