Filing Business Claims
Following Property Damage
The days following an event where your business sustains damage can be overwhelming and stressful for you, your business and your customers. It can also be confusing when it comes time to report a claim for property damage. Here are some tips:
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Write out a list of questions before you get on the phone. Follow the instructions given by your insurer and keep a record of the people you spoke with. Records should include date, name and title.
- When considering replacements, check your policy for details regarding what is covered and how it addresses actual cash value versus replacement value of lost or damaged items.
- Save all your receipts.
- Be sure to give your insurance company all the information it needs, or your claim may be delayed.
- Take photographs/video before cleaning up or making repairs.
- Keep track of …
- Damage to the business property you own or lease
- Property that is owned by others (like your customers) but is in your care, custody and control
- Lost business income
- Extra expenses caused by the claim
After you've documented the damage, when the area is safe and secure, make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage. DO NOT make any permanent repairs before the insurance company is able to inspect the damage and your insurance carrier approves the repairs.
If possible, determine what it will cost to repair your property before you meet with an insurance company representative who will assess the damage to your property. If you and your insurance company disagree on the offer made to repair your property, be prepared to negotiate if necessary. Always ask questions if you don't understand.
What if my claim is denied?
If your claim is denied, review the terms of your policy for what is or is not covered. You may also file an appeal to your insurance company's claim manager. If questions remain, you should contact the Insurance Department's Bureau of Consumer Services online at: www.insurance.pa.gov or you can contact us at 1-877-881-6388
Be wary of anyone who knocks at your door and offers (or solicits) to do your business repairs. Take these steps to protect yourself:
- If an individual presents himself as a public adjuster, ask for his licensing information. A public adjuster is a professional claims handler who is licensed and regulated by the state. The public adjuster is employed by the policy holder to assist with the claims process.
- You can verify a licensed public adjuster by visiting our website at www.insurance.pa.gov. Once on our site, click "Consumers" on the top bar and select "Find Insurance Professional." If you suspect anyone or any entity is operating as a public adjuster without a license, you may report the activity to the Bureau of Enforcement, Field Investigations Division at 717-783-2627
- Investigate any firm you are thinking of hiring and get more than one estimate for your repairs.
- Check references and get everything in writing. This includes: the total cost for repairs, the work to be completed, the timetable for completion and any guarantees the contractor may have.
- Don't sign paperwork with sections left blank. Someone can fill in information after you sign the paperwork.
- Don't pay a contractor in full or sign that the work is complete until the work is actually completed.
- Be cautious of contractors with work vans/trucks that have out-of-state license plates and/or lack signs or insignias identifying the company name.
Whether you have a general question or want to file a complaint, you get help from our Consumer Services Department online at: www.insurance.pa.gov or you can contact us at 1-877-881-6388
En español: Presentación de Reclamos Comerciales con posterioridad a Daños en la Propiedad
This information is available in Chinese and Korean.