Hopefully you will never need to file a claim on your renters insurance policy for a loss or accident in your apartment. If your rented home is broken into, you sustain property damage, or someone gets injured at your apartment, you may be able to receive compensation for your losses by filing a renters insurance claim. By being prepared, you can increase your likelihood of receiving your payment quickly and easily.
Working with a Trusted Choice® independent agent can simplify the claims process. If you have obtained your policy through a member agent, you can count on your agent to help you before, during and after the claims process. Contact a local agent today to get more information about how renters insurance can help to protect you and your belongings.
Claims Statistics for 2011
The Insurance Information Institute is a great resource for statistics and facts about insurance claims and common hazards in the U.S. Check out these facts relating to renters insurance claims:
- The average claim for bodily injury and property damage was $18,351
- Property damage caused by water and freezing averaged $6,965 per claim
- Claims due to vandalism and malicious damage averaged $4,601
- The average claim for loss due to theft and burglary was $3,057
Injuries and damages can be costly. You can be protected when the unexpected happens to your apartment or rented home by investing in a renters insurance policy. Contact a local, independent Trusted Choice member agent today to get started.
Preparing for Renters Insurance Claims
You can be well-prepared in the event that you ever need to file a claim. In doing so, you can make the claims process go much more smoothly, and ensure that you receive the full compensation due to you.
First, be sure that you fully understand the terms of your renters insurance policy, including what is and what is not covered. This will save you the hassle of going through the claims process only to discover that your policy does not cover your loss.
Take an inventory of all your belongings that includes the estimated value of each item. Include detailed photos of your more valuable belongings, as well as any receipts of purchase. If you own anything particularly expensive, you may want to keep documentation of its appraised value in a safe place.
Some insurance professionals recommend keeping copies of all your documentation in another building or “in the cloud” (internet storage) so that if the copy in your home is damaged, you can still access your records.
Tips on How to File a Property Loss or Damage Claim
If you suffer property loss due to a burglary, fire, water damage or other cause, then it is time to file a renters insurance claim. Take the following steps to ensure that your claim is paid in a timely manner.
- First, be safe. If the situation warrants it, call the proper authorities – fire department, ambulance or police – immediately. In the event of a theft, be sure to get a copy of the police report.
- Make note of important details such as the time and date of the incident that led to the loss. Record and document all missing or damaged items. When appropriate, take pictures or video.
- Do anything you can to minimize further damage. For instance, if a window is broken, cover it with plastic to prevent water damage.
- Call your insurance company or agent and provide information about the incident and the resulting loss and damage.
- Your agent or insurance company will likely provide you with claims forms. Complete them with the information you recorded earlier and attach all necessary documentation.
- Your agent or insurance company will most likely send a claims adjuster to your home to inspect and assess the extent of the damage. In many cases, the adjuster may cut you a check on the spot.
If the damage to your rented home or apartment makes it uninhabitable and you must pay for an alternative residence, save all receipts for lodging and meals during the time that you are unable to live in your home. Your insurance company may reimburse these costs to you.
When Are Renters Insurance Claims Denied?
Occasionally, renters insurance claims are denied. There are various reasons why this may happen, but the most common are:
- Claim filed for non-covered instance: Renters insurance will not cover damage due to flooding; you will need a separate flood insurance policy for that. Your personal property is also not protected in the event of an earthquake, unless you specifically buy earthquake insurance. Some renters policies will not cover damages due to hurricanes, windstorms or other extreme weather events. It is important to know the details of your policy before something happens.
- Late payment: If you are not up-to-date on your policy premiums, your insurance company may have cancel your policy or may deny your claim.
- Inaccurate information: If you have provided your insurance company with inaccurate information about your rental unit or the damage caused, your claim may be denied. For instance, if you stated that your home is protected with deadbolts on all doors and the insurance company finds that there were none, your robbery claim may not be honored. If you have been receiving a non-smoking discount, and a fire is caused by a cigarette, the insurance company may deny your claim. Always be honest when acquiring your policy.
- Suspected fraud: Insurance fraud is a real problem and if your claims adjuster or insurance company suspects fraud on your part, your claim may be denied pending further investigation. Having a copy of all receipts for major purchases as well as a video documenting the contents of your home can go a long way in helping you to prove that your loss is legitimate.
If your claim is denied, you may appeal that decision. You are entitled to having your claim reviewed by three different insurance adjusters. It is also important to remember that if you are working with an agent in the Trusted Choice network, your agent works for you, not the insurance company. Your agent will advocate for you and help you successfully complete the claims process.
How to File a Personal Injury Liability Claim
Liability claims make up only about 7 percent of all renters insurance claims. In the event that you are responsible for an injury in your rental home, take the following steps:
- First, do what you can to help the injured party. Call 911 if necessary.
- If a police report is made, request a copy.
- Document exactly what happened including the time, date and circumstances leading to the injury.
- Make a list of any witnesses, and document their observations.
- If you are being sued, call your insurance company or agent immediately; provide copies of all of the above documentation as well as any medical bills you have been asked to pay.
The liability portion of your renters insurance is designed to protect you financially in these circumstances. It will cover the costs associated with the injuries, as well as your legal defense in the event that the other party files a lawsuit. Note that the coverage available is the limit amount you choose when you buy your renters insurance and choose your liability limit. Discuss this limit with your agent and choose an amount that will protect you and your assets.
Assistance Is Available
Losing your personal property to fire, theft or other disasters can be devastating, as can a lawsuit in the event that you are at fault for another person’s injuries. Independent Trusted Choice member agents can help you get through this difficult time by offering assistance and advice and by advocating for you throughout the claims process. Find a member agent in your neighborhood today and learn more about the coverage you need and when and how to file a renters insurance claim.