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Making a Claim on your Homeowner’s Insurance

We hope you never have to go through an experience that means you need to file a claim, but if you do, here’s what you should know:

  • Make a complete list of all damaged, destroyed or stolen items. If possible, attach proofs of purchase, receipts, police reports, owner’s manuals and warranties for lost or damaged items. Take photos of damaged items and attach those as well. Keep ruined items, unless they are dangerous or otherwise pose a health hazard. It’s best to create a home inventory list and update it accordingly before you experience a loss.
  • Call your insurer as soon as you can. You are required to do this. Be as detailed as possible regarding the circumstances and subsequent damage. Most insurance companies have a 24-hour claims service. Keep your insurer’s contact information handy at all times.
  • In the event your home is unfit to live in, ask your insurer about what expenses you’re entitled to and for what period of time. Keep all receipts and invoices for additional living expenses following your loss.
  • A claims specialist or adjuster will contact you to investigate the circumstance of the loss, examine all the documents you provide and explain the next steps in the process.
  • Your insurance company will ask you to complete a “proof of loss”. This is a form that lists what property and/or items have been damaged or lost, with the value or cost of the damage or loss. You must sign and swear that the statements you make in the proof of loss are true. If any of the statements are untrue, your insurance may be voided. Usually, the proof of loss must be completed and returned to your insurance company within 30 days.
  • Review your policy carefully to ensure you are familiar with specified deductibles, coverage limits and replacement values. Insurance companies generally offer three options for your damaged or stolen items: repair, replace or reimburse. Your policy requires that you take steps to limit further damage.
  • Discuss with your insurer whether you can use a contractor or supplier of your choice to do any repairs, and if so, the amounts to be paid. Make sure that the contractor or supplier respects the price and specifications agreed upon with your insurer.

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada


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