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Tips on reporting a loss

Unhappy man on phone One of the questions that I am often asked is "What do I do if I have a loss?"

Well, every insurance company has their own guidelines in their policy usually found under the title “Duties in the Event of a Loss.”

While insurance companies can have some different language and requirements, there are typically eight basic guidelines you will find under most policies:

  1. Report the loss to the insurance company or agent
  2. Notify the police
  3. Provide a description of the loss to the insurance company
  4. Mitigate your damages – i.e. take all reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage.
  5. Cooperate with the insurance company with the investigation.
  6. Provide proof of damages. Prepare an inventory describing property, value and quantity of damaged or stolen property.
  7. Allow inspection of property, including: permission to obtain samples of property or make copies of material. Submit to an examination under oath if necessary.
  8. Send a signed, sworn proof of loss containing the information requested, within 60 days of the request.

Now some of these guidelines may seem simple, however, if you haven’t had a loss you may not know what to do.

Other helpful tips that aren’t specifically outlined in the list above would be:

  • Take photos – make sure that you document your damages. This is especially important if you had to fix something in an effort to prevent further damage.
  • Keep receipts – if you incur any additional expenses as a result of a loss – you may be able to get reimbursed. Having receipts of your damaged goods is also very helpful in proving your loss.
  • Have an inventory of your property – it is amazing how much stuff we can accumulate over the years – if you have good documentation of your property it can help you determine your damages too.

Whether you suffer a loss or are a victim of one, it is up to you to prove your damages. Having good, clear documentation can help you be prepared for a loss and help streamline your claim process.


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