A Policyholder’s Obligations
What you need to know after suffering a loss
Often times, we are asked what obligations an insurance company has to its policyholders. What people seldom ask and should know, is what obligations they have as policyholders, to insure their claim is not denied.
When dealing with insurance claims, it is important to cooperate with the claims process and investigation. There should be constant communication between the insurer and policyholder. For the same reasons that it is important you be informed of the status of your claim, it is equally important to share the information necessary for the insurer to make an educated decision of whether a loss exists and what is covered in that loss event. The insurer needs information regarding the circumstances of the loss, what property was damaged, and if there were any injuries, in order to come up with a settlement offer.
To speed up the process, there are a number of post-loss responsibilities you should know about:
- Give prompt notice to your insurer.
- Notify the police in cases of loss by theft or suspected arson.
- Protect the property from further damage. If repairs to the property are required you must, make reasonable and necessary repairs to the property and keep an accurate record of repair expenses with receipts.
- Cooperate with any investigation of the claim by the insurer or local law enforcement.
- Prepare an inventory of damaged personal property and goods showing quantity, description, and current cash value. Include any receipts, records, photographs, videos, or other related documents (if they were not destroyed in the loss) to justify your findings.
- Obtain a lawyer if you feel the settlement offered is unfair, or you need assistance with your claim.
Knowing what to expect, and how to deal with a loss during the claims process is valuable information. It is very important you comply with these obligations. Any failure to comply can result in a delay in settlement or a denial of your claim.
If you need assistance with a claim in Oregon or Washington please give us a call at 503.352.1991.