Personal property loss, whether from damage or theft, can be stressful, but if you know what to expect from the claims process, you’re better equipped to handle the situation. These five steps can help you navigate through the claim experience and, at Amica, we’re there to help you every step of the way.
1. Call the appropriate authorities
If you experience a theft, your first call should be to the police to file a report. Make sure you obtain a copy of the police report. If your home experiences a fire, call the fire department. After contacting the authorities, notify your landlord or management company. You should also contact your landlord in the event of weather-related damage.
Keep in mind your claim may not be a covered loss if additional coverage was required. For example, flood insurance and earthquake coverage are not included in a standard renters policy.
2. Take inventory of your loss
To help process claims more quickly, Amica recommends preparing a home inventory. This is a list of items in your home documented with photos, item details (including serial numbers, if applicable), and receipts. Having this list ahead of any loss can help you easily determine items that were damaged or stolen. In the event of a significant loss, this inventory will help you recall and replace what you own.
If you don’t have this list, take photos of damaged items or receipts for missing items if available. Also keep receipts of expenses associated with the loss, such as hotel bills if you needed temporary living arrangements. Be ready to present this information to your insurance representative and your landlord. Skipping this step could mean you receive less of a payout than that to which you are entitled.
3. Contact your renters insurance company
You should report a personal property claim to your insurance representative as soon as possible. Most policies have a time limit for reporting, and if you miss it, your claim could be denied.
Once you notify your insurer about your loss, the claims process officially begins. Be prepared to provide the following information:
- Name of the policyholder
- Policy number
- Address and phone number
- Type of claim (e.g., damage, theft, etc.)
- Description of the property loss, including when it occurred
4. Complete a claims form
Next, a claim adjuster will be selected to oversee your case, assess your loss and determine the appropriate settlement. Fill out any claim forms you are provided to record details related to your loss, and include all necessary documentation. Once your claim is submitted, your adjuster will start the investigation process to assess the extent of the damage or loss.
5. Pay the deductible on your renters policy
If your claim is a covered loss, the payout will be the amount you’re owed, minus your deductible. For example, if a fire damages $5,000 worth of furniture and your renters policy has a $500 deductible, you would be responsible for paying $500 and your insurance company will cover $4,500. The deductible will apply each time you file a claim.