Once an accident, fire, theft or other loss has occurred at your place of business things can become overwhelming pretty quickly, regardless of the severity of the loss.
Being prepared and knowing a little bit about the claims process prior to the loss can alleviate a lot of anxiety and put you in a better position to have the claim run smoothly, speeding up the final settlement.
When an incident occurs contact your insurance agent right away. Burglaries and thefts should also be reported to the police immediately. Be prepared to provide a list of the stolen items and their values (a police report will be required by the insurance company- the sooner the loss is reported, the sooner the report will be available for the company to review).
Take steps to protect your property by making any temporary repairs necessary to secure the property and prevent further damage. Be sure to keep all damaged parts as the claims adjustor will more than likely need to examine them. You may also get at least 2 estimates to repair the damaged property- having them ready to present to the appraiser will assist in expediting the claim.
If you are filing a Business Interruption claim and your policy includes this coverage, gather documentation to show the income that was being generated prior to the loss. After the claim occurs keep detailed records of any “extra expenses” you incur to keep your business operating either at your location or at a temporary location. If you are forced to close down, include expenses that continue while the business is closed such as utilities, etc.
I have highlighted a few tips to prepare you for a loss; however, before a disaster occurs review your insurance policy, particularly the “DUTIES OF THE INSURED IN THE EVENT OF A LOSS.” This section of the policy will outline exactly what your duties are as an insured when a loss occurs. By having an idea of the claims process before the loss occurs, frustration and anxiety should be reduced and a quicker settlement is possible.
Contact your agent as soon as reasonably possible after the loss occurs, they are best qualified to advise and assist you through the claims process and keep you informed of the status of your loss.