|Step by step: what to do when a loss occurs||Step by step: what to do when a loss occurs||http://chad.ca/en/consumers/making-a-claim/the-claimants-handbook/382/step-by-step-what-to-do-when-a-loss-occurs||
THE FIRST HOURS
Notify your insurer
Contact your broker or insurer and describe to him to the
best of your ability the circumstances surrounding the loss.
Limit the damage
It is your responsibility to take steps to limit the damage
or stop the situation from deteriorating, but do not make
any permanent repairs before speaking to your insurer. If
you are able to do so, document the loss (with pictures
or videos). If water damage has occurred, dry everything
as quickly as possible to avoid mold developing. If you
throw out water soaked items, make sure to take a picture
and describe them for the purposes of settling the claim.
In case of fire, do not enter the building before receiving
permission from the competent authorities.
Authorize emergency work
In order to avoid further damage occurring, emergency
work may be necessary. You can retain the services of
a disaster restoration professional or your insurer can
suggest one and even dispatch the company to the site,
but make sure you properly understand what they are
doing and how much it will cost before giving them
authorization to proceed.
Meet with the claims adjuster in charge of your file
The insurer will designate a claims adjuster to settle your
claim. He will guide you through the claims process.
He will investigate the cause of the loss, estimate the
damages and negotiate the settlement with you.
Handy tips and advice
Check with your insurer to make sure the emergency
measures taken are covered by your contract.
Analyse the situation before authorizing the
demolition or replacement of certain materials, and
keep a sample of what is to be replaced.
Refuse to have any of your property moved before
taking an inventory and documenting the state of the
items (salvageable or a total loss).
Review your options before signing an assignment
of claim. Read our advice on the text box below " Should I sign the
assignment of claim or not? ".
Monitor the work done by the disaster restoration
professionals: for example, after a fire, the service
provider might take away all your clothing for
cleaning even though it may be more advantageous
and less expensive to replace certain outdated
pieces of clothing or clean them yourself. If your
contract includes certain coverage limits (for
instance, a $15,000 maximum for water backup
in the basement), you might have to make
certain decisions on how you use the insurance
compensation to which you are entitled. Get a
quote before the disaster restoration professionals
do their work, and tell the claims adjuster what
your plans are in order to avoid having a large chunk
of your compensation used up on cleaning old
clothes or restoring furniture of little value.
Write on your checklist the name of the team leader
and the number of workers on-site, how many hours
they worked and what kind of emergency work was
Monitor the work. After all, it’s your home.
Verify how much coverage you have with the help of the claims adjuster
The claims adjuster will explain to you the coverage your
insurance contract provides and, if necessary, how to go
about obtaining additional living expenses (for example,
if you have to leave your home). Keep all your receipts for
expenses incurred in the wake of the loss since they may
Furthermore, if you need to have your furniture stored,
carefully choose the personal effects that you want to keep
with you, as it may be difficult to access the storage space
or find a specific item amongst all the boxes.
THE CLAIMS SETTLEMENT PROCESS
Identifying the cause of the loss
This is the responsibility of the claims adjuster. He will
confirm the damage, verify your initial statement and,
if necessary, consult with specialists. At his request, you will
have to provide him with certain information or documents
to help him identify the cause of the loss. Depending on
the results, he will confirm whether your claim is admissible
or not under the terms of your insurance contract.
Estimating the damages
The claims adjuster must also estimate the amount of
damages and decide on how much compensation the
insurer will offer to pay you. He will sometimes be assisted
by an appraiser or other specialists. However, it is your
responsibility to properly document and justify your
claim, and, in particular, to prepare an inventory of
damaged, destroyed or stolen property with as much
proof of ownership as possible (invoices, pictures, etc.).
For each item, indicate whether you wish to salvage it by
having it cleaned or whether you feel it is unsalvageable.
Ultimately though, it is the claims adjuster who is
responsible for declaring an item a total loss.
The faster you submit your inventory, the faster your claim
will be processed. Be aware that the insurer could refuse to
pay if you make a claim for more than you actually own or
overestimate the value of your property.
Choosing the contractor
You are free to choose the contractor who will do the repairs
or you can do them yourself. Insurers can also suggest service
providers with whom they already have a business relationship.
No matter what, the decision is always up to you. Discuss your
decision with the claims adjuster in charge of your file and come
to an agreement on the terms and conditions of the settlement,
since they may differ if you do the work yourself.
Authorizing the work
Review the quotes for the work, taking care to verify the
proposed costs for each step of the process—for instance,
rebuilding and storage; or cleaning, repairing and replacing
personal property—as well as timelines. Confirm it all
with the claims adjuster and verify whether your insurance
contract provides lump sum compensation or breaks down
the compensation into fixed “line items.” If there is a limit
on the amount of insurance, you may have to prioritize
between repairs to your home and replacing damaged
Should I sign the assignment of claim or not?
The disaster restoration professional, the contractor
or the service provider may ask you to sign an
assignment of claim that will allow the insurer to pay
him directly for the work he does at your home. You
have no obligation to sign this document. Be aware
that although this procedure simplifies payment
to service providers, it may make it hard to control
In order to maintain some control over your total
compensation, you can ask that the maximum cost
of the work be specified in the assignment of claim;
require a signed letter of satisfaction before the final
cheque is sent; or ask the insurer to make out the
contractor’s final cheque in both your names. These
actions enable you to avoid “signing a blank cheque”
when you make an assignment of claim, and also allow
you to confirm that the work was done to your full
satisfaction before making the final payment.
Negotiating the settlement
Once the claims adjuster has received the inventory of
damaged personal property (with the items’ origin and
replacement value as of today’s date), he can calculate
the settlement offer using the information in your contract
concerning coverage, limits and exclusions, and, in
particular, replacement cost or depreciated value.
If you have replacement cost insurance, your property
will be repaired or replaced by new items of the same
nature and quality, even if replacing them costs more than
what was originally paid. If you decide, however, not to
have certain items repaired or replaced, the insurer will
compensate you for the value of the damaged goods
on the day the loss occurred, in other words, at their
Before any of your property is repaired, cleaned or
replaced, make sure to carefully review the settlement
offer and confirm that it is acceptable. If not, there is
always room to negotiate.
Paying compensation and the deductible
Depending on the extent of the damages, payments are
made throughout the settlement process, as the service
providers submit their invoices. Make sure you have told
your insurer whether or not you are satisfied with the
work that was done before the insurer pays the service
provider. If damages do not exceed the limit of insurance,
your deductible will be deducted from the compensation
or the insurer will ask you to pay this amount directly to
the service provider.
Claiming the amount of the deductible from a liable third party
If a third party is liable for the damages you suffered,
you can claim reimbursement from this party for both your
deductible and damages that your insurer did not
reimburse. Do not forget that there are limitation periods
for taking legal action. Be careful! Ask your claims adjuster
for more information and consult a lawyer, if necessary.
A model letter is available at chad.ca.
Did you know?
The insurer not only has the obligation to return your
property to the same condition it was in before the
loss, but it is also obliged to compensate you within
60 days of having received your notice of claim,
or the relevant information and additional supporting
documents that it requested you provide.
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