Since floods aren’t commonplace events, the processes of filing insurance claims to cover related damages can be baffling.
So, the Insurance Bureau of Canada has offered some tips for those affected in Alberta. It says each insurance company in the province has extra staff—claims adjusters, customer service representatives and underwriters—working to help people recover. According to a recent survey, the group says about 5,000 insurance company personnel have been deployed to work on flood-related claims.
Right after the flood:
- When talking to an insurance agent, be as detailed as possible in describing damages.
- If urgent and safe, begin clean-up to attempt to prevent further damages. Wear protective gear and sturdy clothing.
- Gather as much information as possible to make an accurate and detailed insurance claim. Take pictures, gather receipts and warranties for expensive items, and keep the damaged items unless that’s hazardous.
- If you you’ve displaced from your home, keep receipts for expenses incurred during your time away. You may be entitled to a reimbursement.
- Don’t panic if you aren’t contacted quickly by a claims adjuster, given demand is heavy.
- The claims adjuster will be thorough in examining the evidence you provide. Ask questions, and take notes of your conversations.
- You will have to complete a “proof of loss” form, which you sign, swearing thereby that the losses you have claimed are accurate. You may need to return this form to your insurance provider within as little as 30 days. Ask about all time sensitive documents.
- Claims are sometimes denied. If this should happen, ask for an explanation and, if necessary, request to speak with the company claims manager. Each company will have a dispute resolution mechanism in place.
“Though a large number claims are being processed and successfully settled as we speak, it’s inevitable that with a disaster of this size there will be some people who don’t agree with the claims decision,” says Bill Adams, IBC vice-president of the western & pacific region. “Consumers need to know that if they do not agree with the result of their insurance claim, they have appeal options.”