Has there been a loss occurrence such as fire, theft or water damage at your place of business? Here are 5 steps to follow, once the police, fire or Public Works department has the situation under control.
In the first few hours:
1. Contact your insurer's claims department
You'll be asked to describe the circumstances of the loss to the best of your knowledge. Some insurers offer the option to report the loss online through their website.
2. Secure the premises to avoid further damage
If emergency work is required, a claims adjuster will recommend a certified service provider (e.g., emergency cleanup company, construction contractor). Don't attempt any permanent repairs before you talk to your claims adjuster.
Within your ability and if it's possible, there are certain things you can do to minimize damage following certain types of losses:
- If you haven't already done so, turn off the main water supply and the electricity in all rooms affected by the damage.
- If you can, take photos or videos to document the damage.
- Remove and mop up as much water as possible.
- Wipe off wet surfaces and dry out fabrics such as rugs.
- Take photos of anything you throw away.
- Move dry items to a safe place.
- Secure the premises, as needed (e.g., board up windows, change the locks).
- Don't enter the premises until authorized by the appropriate authorities.
- Secure the premises as needed (e.g., shutting off the power to avoid further damage) but don't take any risks.
- For minor damage, air out smoky rooms.
In the next few days:
3. Damage assessment
The claims adjuster will tell you what documents are needed to assess the damage:
- A list of the items that were lost, damaged or destroyed
- A police report, if there was a theft at your place of business
- Photos of the damaged property (e.g., filing cabinets, furniture, etc.)
Your claims adjuster will help you choose a contractor to assess the damage to your building.
4. Authorization of work
The contractor will send your claims adjuster an estimate accompanied by photos of the damage.
The work can be started once you receive authorization from your claims adjuster.
5. Assessment and settlement of your claim
Once the requested information and documents have been received, the claims adjuster will assess your claim file.
They will then contact you to inform you of your settlement based on the terms and conditions of your insurance policy.
These five steps are just guidelines that could vary based on the nature of the loss. If you need to file a claim for your business, your claims adjuster will assist you through the entire process.