Whether you have had property damage from flooding, theft, fire or another event, the following information will help you settle your claim and avoid problems.
Contact your insurer immediately
If you have incurred a loss, notify your insurer or broker as soon as possible. They will ask you a few questions and tell you what to expect next—whether you can receive certain services immediately and whether a claims adjuster will visit the location of the loss.
Protect your property
You are responsible for limiting the damage. Your insurer may also tell you what you should do to protect your property.
If emergency work needs to be done, you will only be reimbursed if the insurer agrees to pay the claim following its investigation. So be careful before making any payments: Check the cost and type of work done by contractors and keep invoices. Do not make any permanent repairs before your insurer authorizes them. Also, do not dispose of the damaged property because the insurer must be able to examine it.
Co-operate with the insurer
To receive compensation, you will have to make a list of the stolen or damaged property and provide all the necessary supporting documentation (such as receipts, invoices and user guides) to prove the loss. You will also have to answer your insurer's questions concerning the circumstances of the loss. If you have been the victim of a crime, such as theft or vandalism, the insurer will certainly require a police report.
Warning! Insureds who “inflate” their claims or give false or incomplete information on the circumstances of the loss may face significant consequences, including denial of their claim, cancellation of their insurance, trouble finding an insurer and even fraud charges.
Should you hire a claims adjuster?
The insurer will assign a claims adjuster to your file. The claims adjuster works for the insurer. You may choose to hire an independent claims adjuster at your own expense to deal with the insurer. Before signing a contract, check if the adjuster is registered with the AMF and make sure you understand and agree to the proposed remuneration.
What if you have to leave your home?
If you can no longer live in your home as a result of a loss covered by your insurance contract, check with your insurer about the coverage provided in your contract for additional living expenses. Keep all receipts and invoices for meal and accommodation expenses paid following the loss and throughout the repair work.
These expenses may be covered up to the maximum amount set out in your contract for surplus relocation, meal and travel expenses until your home can be lived in again. For example, if your groceries usually cost $170 a week but, because of the loss, you have to eat out more often, the insurer might reimburse your food expenses exceeding $170.
Negotiate a settlement
Once your claim is processed, the insurer will make you a settlement offer, generally through its claims adjuster. Take the time to consider the offer and determine whether it suits you. You can decide to negotiate at this stage. For example, you could suggest to deal with another merchant to replace property, do repairs differently or get another estimate of property value. However, you should do so before carrying out the repairs, cleaning or replacing your property or accepting a cheque from your insurer. You can also negotiate the amount of time you have to respond to any of the insurer’s requests or settlement offer.
Did you know?
If the loss is covered, the insurer must compensate you no later than 60 days after receiving your notice of claim or, if requested, the supporting documentation.End of the insight
If you are dissatisfied with how your claim is being processed, you can file a complaint with the insurer. To do so, use the AMF’s complaint form (pdf - 95 KB)This link will open in a new window. A letter addressed to your insurer explaining why you are dissatisfied would also be acceptable. Make sure you indicate what outcome or settlement you are hoping for. The AMF’s Information Centre can also help you with this step.
If you are not satisfied with the results, you can ask for your file to be transferred to the AMF.