How Do I File a Claim?
One of the paradoxes of renters insurance (along with basically all types of personal insurance policies) is that as a policy holder, one of your goals is to never have to file a claim. Most of us do what we can to avoid claims at any cost, for fear of seeing an increase in our rates. Yet it is good to know how claims work and what it takes to file a claim if need be. The purpose of renters insurance to protection, and you ought to have a basic idea of the claim process so that you can work efficiently if you need to open a claim on your policy. Here is a basic rundown of how to file a claim.
1. As soon as the loss occurs, contact your agent or renters insurance provider. Most of these companies have 24 hour claims service, so you do not have to worry about waiting for ordinary business hours to make the call. If any criminal activity was involved in the claim event (such as a burglary), contact the police first to report the crime, and then get into touch with your provider. Be sure to file a police report to follow up if a crime was committed.
2. While you are in the process of opening your claim, get information on how long it will take for the claim to be processes. You might not get an exact answer, but even just an estimate can be helpful, especially if the loss involved essential living items. Knowing your time frame right away can help you make arrangements for getting through that period until you get things restored back to normal at your home.
3. Find out about any requirements that might exist for getting repair estimates. There may be specific forms you need to use, or a minimum number of estimates you need to gather for the repair work if property was damaged.
4. When you are filing a claim report, include a detailed listing of any lost or damaged property included in the claim. The more detail you can provide, the better. Having a thorough property inventory on hand ahead of time is extremely helpful in these cases.
5. Find out whether the reimbursement for your loss will be based on replacement or ACV calculation, if you do not know already.
6. Find out if your policy covers additional expenses you might bear during the period for which you might be forced out of your rental home while repairs or investigations are being done. Your hotel and restaurant bills may be reimbursable under the terms of your policy.
7. Once the claim has been settled, it should not be long before you receive payment from the renters insurance provider for your loss. Take care to follow these basic steps and make sure to keep in contact with your provider at all times so that you are apprised of progress and available to answer questions.