Questions Our Clients Frequently Ask Following an Accident or
What you do after an auto accident
or a natural disaster can save you time, money and lots of gray
hair. Below are some of the most commonly-asked questions, and some
answers that may not be "common knowledge."
What should I do if I'm involved in an auto
First, stop your vehicle and move it to a safe place, out of
traffic, if at all possible. But don't go far-by law, you're
required to stop and remain at the scene of the accident. Check
with passengers in all vehicles involved in the accident to
determine if there are any injuries and call for medical assistance
Exchange information with the other
driver(s) involved in the accident. You should exchange names,
addresses, telephone numbers, type and ownership of vehicles,
insurance information and a description of damages.
Get the names, addresses and
telephone numbers of any witnesses. Call the police. The police
will advise you if their response to the scene is not necessary. Do
not admit fault to anyone as there could be multiple factors
contributing to an accident. Give factual details of your
recollection of the accident and cooperate with the police in
providing answers to their questions. If your vehicle needs to be
towed, request that it be removed to a repair shop of your choice.
As soon as possible, contact the company carrying your insurance to
report the loss.
What should I do in the event of a
homeowners or commercial property loss?
As soon as possible, contact the company carrying your insurance to
report the loss. Make reasonable and necessary repairs to protect
your property from further damage or loss. Keep a record of repair
costs and retain receipts for any expenditures. If the loss
involves theft or vandalism, notify the police immediately.
What should I do if there's an accident
at work, and a potential workers' compensation
First, make sure the injured employee is comfortable. Do not move
the employee if head, neck or back injuries are suspected. Make
sure the injured employee receives professional medical attention.
Complete the accident reporting form required in your state. You
should also contact your insurance company to report the accident
and provide information concerning the employee and their
What if a storm has damaged my home so
severely that I can't stay in it?
Most homeowners policies provide coverage for living expenses if
you can't stay in your home. Most policies will reimburse you for
"reasonable expenses" over and above your normal living costs (such
as lodging, for example, since it's over and above your mortgage or
rent payment) if your home is uninhabitable as a result of a
covered peril and you must temporarily relocate. But most policies
will reimburse you only for those food expenses over and above what
you would normally pay for food.
You must keep all receipts in order
for the expenses to be considered part of the loss. The expenses
must be in line with normal living costs and must be a necessary
and direct result of the loss. Policies typically limit recovery
under "additional living expenses" to a percentage of the amount of
coverage on the home itself.
If trees on my property are blown down am
Many homeowners policies don't provide coverage for damage to trees
caused by wind. But if a tree falls and damages insured property,
such as a house or a fence, the damage is almost always
I've reported my claim, now what should
Do everything in your power to guard against follow-on damage to
your property. Secure your property, by temporarily boarding
windows and tacking down loose roof shingles. If possible, dry
carpets and personal property, to prevent any further damage. If
you don't take preventative measures, and additional damage
results, it may not be covered.
Is there anything I can do to help speed
up the claims process?
An adjuster will contact you as soon as possible, but priority will
be given to the most severe losses. Larger claims may be settled in
stages, not all at once. While you wait for the adjuster to contact
you, you should:
- Estimates. Get at least two, and preferably three repair
estimates for the adjuster to review.
- Photos. Take photos of the damaged property and gather any
pictures showing the property before the loss.
- Replacement Costs. List all damaged property, including each
item's description, age, original cost, place of purchase, and
estimated replacement cost. Include any receipts or canceled checks
for these items.
Power was out for a few days and the food
in my refrigerator and freezer were spoiled. Is the replacement
Most residential policies have a "power failure" exclusion and
don't cover food spoilage that results from power outages. If you
live in an area that has frequent storms and power outages, your
best bet is to keep several large coolers in storage, ready for
My stereo and computer equipment were
damaged by a power surge. Is that covered?
Probably not. Most homeowners policies provide coverage under
"sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated
electrical current." But coverage doesn't apply to loss of
transistors, computer chips, and similar items. So, damage from a
power surge wouldn't be covered for your computer, TV or
How long after an adjuster reviews my claim
should I have to wait to receive a check?
It depends on the cause of the claim. If your claim is an isolated
incident, you're more likely to get a resolution quickly. If your
claim is one of many, the claim process is likely to take far
longer. You should call back a few days after your interview with
the adjuster, to see when they submitted the paperwork to your
insurance company. You may also want to contact the insurance
company after the adjuster has forwarded them their report.
I've just received my claim check and it's
not nearly what I expected. What recourse do I have?
If the check is for an amount that's lower than you expected, it's
usually because of policy terms that require settlement on an
actual cash basis, to be followed by a separate payment for
replacement costs when repairs or replacement are completed. Check
with CIG or with your insurance company.
What's the difference between actual cash
value and replacement-cost coverage?
If the policy indicates that settlement will be on a
replacement-cost basis, then payment will be made for the actual
cost, at today's prices, to repair or replace, limited only by the
total amount of coverage that was purchased. If the adjustment
basis is actual cash value, settlement will be made by determining
the replacement cost at today's prices, less a reasonable amount
for depreciation, age, or obsolescence. Some policies provide
coverage for the home on a "guaranteed replacement cost" basis, in
which case the carrier pays whatever it costs to repair or rebuild
the home, regardless of policy limits.
*Not FDIC Insured *No Bank Guarantee
*Not a Bank Deposit
*Not Insured by Any Government Agency *May Lose Value