Suddenly and without warning, a fire erupts, a sprinkler pipe bursts, the roof leaks or a contractor destroys a wall in the property or apartment complex you own or manage. Before you know it, emergency personnel are on site and the situation is chaotic. The first thing on your mind is making sure that everyone is safe and the fire is extinguished or the leak is under control.
Soon after, though, your thoughts should turn to how to contact your insurance company so that you can get your tenants back into their homes or workplaces safely, and begin to recover from your losses.
First, comply fully with the terms and conditions in your insurance policy. Your insurance agent can assist you with this. Second, follow the steps below:
Preserve and Safeguard the Loss Scene
Until you receive formal notice to release the scene, preservation of a loss site includes the following:
No unauthorized parties should be allowed access to the loss site. If emergency actions are required, it is imperative that the loss scene be minimally disturbed during these efforts.
- Emergency, temporary board-up
- Emergency, temporary perimeter fencing
- Retention of a security company, when necessary
Note: Owners must take precautionary measures in the aftermath of damage. For instance, if a fire has burned out a hole in your structure, be sure to cover the hole to avoid flooding or further incidental damage before repairs take place. Further damage may not be covered and leave you open to further financial distress.
Retention of Any and All Evidence
Whenever possible, the damaged property should not be repaired by you or another party until an inspection can be made by your assigned claims adjuster. At times immediate repairs are required. It is crucial that any and all parts repaired or replaced be retained and safeguarded until further notice. In addition, please retain a copy of all repair invoices.
Failure to report a claim in accordance with the terms and conditions of your insurance policy may result in that claim not being covered under the policy
Have the answers to the following questions ready when you report a claim:
- Are you the owner? Are there any tenants?
- Is there a lease in effect? If yes, have a copy ready.
- Are there bylaws/ a master deed? If yes, have a copy of each ready.
- What is the type of loss (fire, smoke, water, vandalism, lightning, theft, other)?
- How many building/ rooms are damaged?
- Is the building habitable, and if not, how many tenants are displaced?
- Is there damage to personal property? Have a description and value ready.
- What is the type of damage? (structural, cosmetic, improvements/ betterments)
- What is the location of damage?
- What is your address or policy location number?
- Was there a contractor involved in determining loss?
- Do you have any repair estimates?
- Were you advised of a potential cause?
- Do you have any work orders?
- Were there any recent renovations or repairs made at or near the loss site?
- If so, what kind, when and by whom?
Fire/ Police department
- Was the site preserved for subrogation?
- Were there any arrests made?
- Did the police/ fire marshal file a report?
- Are there any articlesabout the loss? (Large fires are often reported by the local media)
- Did you take any photos of the loss scene? These are excellent sources of evidence for the adjuster.
You may not know the answers to all of these questions. However, being prepared and taking the steps to preserve and safeguard the site will assist us in the handling of the claim and any potential subrogation.
Everest Insurance® markets property, casualty, specialty and other lines of admitted and non-admitted direct insurance on behalf of Everest Re Group, Ltd., and its affiliated companies. Everest Re Group, Ltd. is a Bermuda holding company that operates through the following subsidiaries: Everest Reinsurance Company provides reinsurance to property and casualty insurers in both the U.S. and international markets. Everest Reinsurance (Bermuda), Ltd., including through its branch in the United Kingdom, provides reinsurance and insurance to worldwide property and casualty markets and reinsurance to life insurers. Everest Reinsurance Company (Ireland), Limited provides reinsurance to non-life insurers in Europe. Everest National Insurance Company and Everest Security Insurance Company provide property and casualty insurance to policyholders in the U.S. Everest Indemnity Insurance Company offers excess and surplus lines insurance in the U.S. Everest Insurance Company of Canada provides property and casualty insurance to policyholders in Canada. The Company also operates within the Lloyd's insurance market through Syndicate 2786. In addition, through Mt. Logan Re, Ltd., the Company manages segregated accounts, capitalized by the Company and third party investors, that provide reinsurance for property catastrophe risks. Additional information on Everest Re Group companies can be found at the Group’s web site at www.everestre.com.