How Do I Report A Claim?

You report a claim by contacting either your agent or broker, or directly to the insurance company. This is usually done by telephone. When you call "after hours", it is usual that there is a claims emergency telephone number on the message.

When you the call a claims emergency number, you may not be speaking directly to your insurance company. This could be a service line, or an independent adjusting firm that handles "after hours" calls. The initial person you speak to, may just relay information to the actual adjuster.

You will need to identify yourself. If you have your policy number, that is also helpful. If you have filed a police report, then have that information with you. It is important to note that you must report claims promptly. Certain claims also have to be reported to the civil authority (police). Examples of these would be, vandalism, burglary, car accidents, fire and theft.

If your claim is for property - your home or business has suffered a loss, then you will answer questions about how the loss occurred, where you were when it happened, how you discovered the loss, and what is being done to help prevent any further damage, if applicable. The broker or agent will get the basic information, and forward this on to the insurance company on your behalf. Your broker or agent cannot confirm nor deny coverage - they are just there to help you with communication. In certain emergencies, the insurance companies have allowed brokers to issue initial emergency relief cheques.

If you report the claim to your agent or broker, they will ask for a brief description of what happened, which vehicle was involved, which driver, what injuries, and where the vehicle is now located. Your broker or agent can be quite helpful at this time, but cannot act as an adjuster. They are only able to assist in certain areas, as an insurance adjuster is licensed to deal with the claim, and a broker is not.

You can expect to have questions asked by the adjuster, when you report the claim. This is done to protect your privacy, and there is also a protocol that each company will use - a set of questions that are always gone through. An example of an auto adjuster questions could include the following:

  1. Provide your name in full, spelling it out.
  2. Provide your driver's license number and date of birth.
  3. What day and what time was it when the loss occurred?
  4. What vehicle was damaged. What is your license number and colour of your vehicle?
  5. How did it happen? Describe the circumstances. Where were you going when the accident occurred? When did you notice the loss or damage to your vehicle?
  6. If the vehicle was parked, where was it parked?
  7. What were you doing just before you parked the vehicle?
  8. When was the last time you saw your vehicle just before the loss occurred?
  9. Did you notice anything suspicious at the time of loss, just before or after the loss?
  10. When the accident occurred, what street were you on and which direction were you driving?
  11. What was the weather like? Were the roads dry, wet, slippery?
  12. How fast were you going? If another vehicle was involved, how fast was it going?
  13. What damages did you have prior to the accident? What new damage did you get?
  14. If there was another vehicle involved, did they have prior damage or suffer damage?
  15. Did anything come off the vehicles as a result of the damage?
  16. Did the police come to the accident? Have you filed a police report? Report number?
  17. Did either driver get charged by the police?
  18. Were you wearing your seat belt?
  19. Did you have a passenger in the vehicle? If so, who? Name, address and phone number will be required.
  20. Is there an injuries for people in your vehicle? The other vehicle? Did an ambulance come to the scene?
  21. Is your vehicle safe to drive? Where is your vehicle?
  22. Have you taken any medication or had anything to drink prior to driving your vehicle?
  23. Were there any witnesses? Did you get their name, phone numbers?

Talk to your agent or broker if you have any difficulties with your claims process. They are able to help clear up misunderstandings that can occur at such a stressful time. This would be the first step you take before making a formal complaint.