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When There Is A Natural Disaster: Steps to Take in Filing Insurance Claims

Insurance claims after a disaster

Last updated on 04/21/2021 at 4:22 pm

1) Find a copy of your policy. Your agent can provide one if needed.

(2) Think about all insurance policies that might cover a loss. This includes property, health, umbrella, personal liability, general liability, catastrophic loss, and any flood insurance.

(3) Look at your policies. Find the address, phone number and e-mail where you send a written notice of loss to your insurance company.

(4) Give written notice of loss to your insurance company. It is a good idea to call the company immediately. Then follow-up with a written notice. The written notice is a MUST.

(5) Check your insurance policies for deadlines or special requirements. You must follow all the rules listed in your policy as much as you can. For example, flood insurance has different rules. Proof of loss for flood insurance must be submitted within 60 days, unless the deadline is extended.

(6) Make a list of damaged or lost items. Ask your insurance agent about any specific required forms.

(7) Take photos and videos of property damage if possible before making repairs.

(8) Find out if you need to get approval before spending any money or making any contracts.

(9) Keep receipts for any expenses to repair your property. Keep receipts for any extra living costs such as hotels, meals away from home and any necessary mileage.

(10) Send in proof of loss and other papers the policy requires to obtain coverage and payments from the insurance company. This includes photos and receipts.

(11) Request partial or advance payments from your insurance company as needed and document your requests and insurance company responses.

(12) Keep notes whenever you talk with your insurance company, agent or broker. This includes the dates and times and the names and positions of the people in each conversation.

(13) Keep copies of all letters, emails, etc. that are sent to your insurance company or agent. Keep copies of all letters, emails, etc. that you get from your insurance company or agent.

(14) Review checks, payments, letters, emails, etc. from your insurance company. Make sure there is not any language releasing or giving up any claims. Discuss with your agent if you are in doubt. You also may need to talk to an attorney.

(15) Periodically follow up with your insurance company about your claim. Document your follow-up communications.

Get legal help if you believe you are being treated unfairly by contacting:WV Office of Insurance Commissioner
Telephone: 888-TRY-WVIC


Apply for help from Legal Aid of West Virginia.