The steps involved in settling a claim are essentially the same whether it’s for theft, water damage or a fire.

The important thing to remember is to contact your insurer as soon as possible to have a claims adjuster handle your claim. And be sure to ask for a police report if you’ve been a victim of theft or vandalism.

1. Check the insurance contract and the coverage included

At this step, the claims adjuster will verify the validity of your policy, the included coverage and coverage limits to determine whether or not your policy covers the loss and to confirm the coverage amount, if any.

2. Undertake emergency repairs and work

It’s important to act fast after certain incidents to prevent further damage, by boarding up doors or windows, removing water from the basement and drying out the area or removing damaged or contaminated materials and property.

If the damage is significant and is covered, your insurer will arrange to have a post-loss cleaning company empty out and clean the damaged area.

If you’ve already done some work, keep the invoices and receipts since they may be eligible for reimbursement.

3. Inquire about additional living expenses

You may need to evacuate the premises, depending on the type of damage suffered.Talk to your insurer about this, as your policy may cover the additional costs you incur for food and accommodation while your home is being repaired.

4. Assess and document the loss ​

At this step, you’ll establish the cost of the loss and how the property will be repaired or replaced. You’ll have to:

  • Make a list of the items that were damaged, destroyed or stolen and, if possible, gather all relevant documents, such as proof of purchase, warranties and instruction manuals
  • Take photos or videos of the damage
  • Refrain from disposing of damaged possessions right away, unless they’re a health hazard

If your home has sustained damage, the cost to repair or replace the damaged areas will be assessed.

5. Repairing or replacing your property

After a loss, the objective is to get you back in the situation you were in before the loss occurred.

Your insurer will have damaged property cleaned and repaired if possible. If not, your belongings will be replaced according to the terms and conditions of your contract.

To help process your claim, your insurer may recommend various service providers and contractors. You’re free to hire the service providers that your insurer recommends. However, if you decide to go with other companies, make sure they’re qualified.To avoid any unpleasant surprises, make sure they stick to the amounts granted or the estimate agreed upon with your insurer.

If you opt not to have your items repaired or to replace them, your insurer will reimburse you an amount of money equal to the value of the items at the time of loss, with an amount for depreciation subtracted.

Depending on the agreement, your insurer may pay you the indemnity or pay the service providers or contractors directly.

Don’t forget your deductible: your insurer will deduct the amount of your policy deductible from the compensation amount.


* These steps may vary from one claim to another and from one insurer to another. They are provided for information purposes only.

Did you know that the costs of cleaning or storing items, or for clearing your residence, are paid out of the insurance settlement?

Suffered a major loss?

Stay informed about the claims settlement process to ensure that the coverage you purchased is used as you wish, especially if this amount is less than the cost of the losses suffered. You’re the one who decides how this amount will be used. 

What not to do with claims

Don’t be tempted to claim items you’ve never owned or exaggerate the value of those you did.  You could lose your compensation and you’ll have a lot of trouble getting reinsured.

Your insurer’s obligations

Your home insurer is required to return your belongings and your home to the state they were in prior to the loss. Your insurer must repair or replace your items and/or the parts of your house that were damaged.  

Your insurer also has to indemnify you for the loss within 60 days of receiving your claim or any information or supporting documents it may request.

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