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Recently, I posted a blog about your duties after an auto accident which included a warning (found in all policies) that is pretty dire. You can read it here to know your duties.

Today, I'm going to focus on what your Duties After a Loss are after a Home Insurance claim, assuming it's a loss to which the home insurance applies. Some losses don't apply. For example, if you haven't scheduled your wife's diamond wedding ring and the 1 carat diamond falls out and disappears, that isn't a loss for which your home insurance policy will apply. Therefore, no need to follow these duties, but you may need to sleep in the dog house for not insuring her ring properly.

I will just highlight the key duties here but I encourage you to read your policy carefully and thoroughly. Every insurance company policy has a section that addresses your Duties. Please be familiar with your policy as these duties vary slightly from company to company.

 Insured's Duties After Loss

  1. Cooperate with us (the insurance company) in the investigation, settlement or defense of any claim or suit;
  2. Give immediate notice to us or our agent (that's me);
  3. Notify the police in case of loss by theft (if you suspect a family member stole some items you still must file a police report. No getting around this duty.);
  4. Protect the property from further damage, make reasonable and necessary repairs to protect the property and keep an accurate record of repair expenses.
  5. Prepare an inventory of the loss to the building and personal property with details of quantity, description, replacement cost and age. Attach any bills, receipts or related documents to justify the value. (This is no small feat. This will be the hardest Duty to perform after a loss for most people.) Don't wait until after a claim to put your inventory together. Do it now with DocuHome.
  6. As often as we (the insurance company) reasonably require: exhibit the damage/undamaged property, provide records and documents and permit us to make copies, submit to examinations under oath and separately and apart from your spouse, civil/domestic partner, or any other insured.
  7. Submit to us, within 60 days after we request (time to get busy) your signed, sworn proof of loss which sets forth your knowledge and belief of:
    • Time and cause of loss;
    • interest of insured and all others in the property involved and all encumbrances(loans) on the property;
    • other insurance which may cover the loss;
    • changes in title or occupancy of the property during the term of the policy;
    • specifications of any damaged building and detailed repair estimates;
    • an inventory of damaged personal property (see #5 above for help to do this);
    • receipts for Additional Living Expenses (another fantastic coverage you have in your insurance policy) incurred (gotta pay for it to get reimbursed).

Holy cow, that's a lot of duties. Please read your policy for exact wording and duties. Remember, this is a contract. To receive the full benefit of your policy you must follow it to a tee.

Final Tip: Get yourself prepared ahead of a claim. You never know when one will happen and time is of the essence so do yourself and your family a favor and inventory your home. There are a multitude of programs to accomplish this including the one mentioned above. Do it Now.

Author: Richard Morris

Richard Morris, an independent insurance agent in Chandler, Arizona, has been serving and helping Arizona families with all their insurance needs for over 23 years. Visit his website at http://www.southwestpremierinsuranceagency.com to see all the ways he can help you with your insurance needs or call the office at (480) 336-2707 or toll free at (888) 907-9349. Connect with Rich on Google+ and Twitter.

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