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Frequently Asked Questions


What to do in case of a car accident?
What to do in case of theft or vandalism?
What to do in case of fire?


What to do in case of a car accident?

We hope you're never in an auto accident, but they can happen. If you are ever involved in an accident, make sure to:

  1. Remain at the scene.
  2. Contact police and, if necessary, medical services; ask a passing motorist to call if you're unable to.
  3. Gather the following information:
    • Date, time and location of the accident
    • Name, address, phone number and insurance information of the driver and owner (if different) of the other vehicle
    • Year, make, model and license number of the other vehicle
    • Name, address and phone number of any passengers or witnesses
  4. Do not make any admissions of fault or sign any written statements until you have consulted with your claim representative.
  5. Call your insurance company to begin a claim and investigation of your accident.

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What to do in case of theft or vandalism?

  1. Once you have taken reasonable precautions to ensure the security of you, your family and your home, immediately report a crime to the police for investigation.
  2. Obtain the police report and names of all law enforcement officers that you speak with, keeping a copy of all records for yourself and a second copy for your insurance company.
  3. Create a list of all items stolen and/or damage to your property and provide this list to the police.
  4. As soon as possible, contact your insurance company to report the theft and/or damage and initiate your claim; it is extremely important you do not wait to begin the claims process.
  5. Your home insurance policy specifies a time limit for filing claims, so be sure to ask about the time limit, whether or not the damage is covered, whether the loss is likely to exceed your deductible, how to obtain and complete the claims form and any other forms your insurer requires, how long it should take to process your claim and what estimates are required for repairs in the case that damage to your property is involved.
  6. You will need to determine whether the amount of your loss exceeds your deductible and by how much in order to assess whether or not to file a claim with your insurer; if the total loss is under $1,000 and your deductible is $500 for instance, you will want to consider whether or not filing a claim makes sense. Consulting your insurance agent may be helpful in making this determination.
  7. If your loss is substantial, a claims adjuster or representative will be assigned to inspect your property and investigate further. With smaller claims the adjuster often times will not make an on site inspection, depending on your insurer’s policies and procedures.
  8. You should take photographs or video the damaged areas of your property, making at least two copies so you have your own copy for reference and copies for the police and your insurance company.
  9. If needed, make temporary repairs to your property to prevent further damage from occurring and keep the receipts so that you can be reimbursed by your insurance company. If you are not able to live in your home and need to relocate during repairs, keep your receipts for receipts since these expenses are normally reimbursable according to the additional living expenses (ALE) provisions of your policy.
  10. You are responsible for substantiating your loss, so do not dispose of any damaged items before the police report and adjuster’s inspection, if required, is complete and you have adequately documented the damage with photos and video.
  11. When you and the insurance company have agreed on the amount and/or terms of your settlement, insurance laws in most states laws require the insurer to pay your claim promptly. Should you have questions or complaints contact your state insurance department.

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What to do in case of fire?


  1. Take your family and pets out of harm's way.  The fire may have damaged the structure or foundation of your home.  Consider staying in nearby lodging or with friends or family until the damage is fully assessed.  Your homeowner's insurance policy may cover some of these temporary living expenses.  Before you leave the scene of your home, do a quick check to make sure that house is safe from further damage.  This may mean sealing the house to protect it from weather and from looting
  2. Work closely with your insurance company.  Insurance companies have set procedures to handle fire claims.  And if you house was in the path of a wildfire, you likely aren't alone.  Don't hesitate in contacting your insurance company to learn more about the procedure and to begin any paperwork.  On balance, state laws dictate the maximum time an insurance company has to respond to your initial claim.  For example, in California, the insurer must respond in 30 days. 
  3. Assess the damages.  When it's safe to return, assess damages carefully.  This is useful not only to safeguard your family from a potentially-dangerous living situation but also to prepare for the insurance filing.  Though the insurer will send out an assessor, you may want to hire an independent party to evaluate the damage and estimate repair costs.  Then you will at have at least two opinions on the damage and, in case you don't agree with your insurer's estimate, you will have at least one other to compare to. 
  4. You may not agree with the insurance company's settlement amount.  Depending on the damages estimated and the settlement offer, you may not agree.  You are not obligated to close the case immediately, and in fact, may want to wait in case you discover further fire-related damages after the initial assessment. In that scenario, consider retaining an attorney on how to proceed.  You might also hire a public adjustor to evaluate the case.


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