Filing an Insurance Claim: The Ultimate Checklist

Home theft insurance claims are not uncommon in the US. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that in 2018, a robbery occurred every 1.9 minutes, a burglary every 25.7 seconds, and larceny every 6.1 seconds. This means that you could be a victim of property theft at any time. If true, you’d feel lucky to have a personal articles floater policy in place. But that’s not enough! You need to know the process of filing an insurance claim to get reimbursed for your stolen belongings. Here’s what you should know when filing a claim.

But first, which coverage do you have?

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Personal Articles Floater Insurance vs. Homeowners Insurance Endorsement

You can insure your valuables via a personal articles floater policy or a homeowners endorsement.

Personal articles floater insurance is an all-risk policy that covers your valuables against theft, accidental loss, and damage. The coverage is more extensive in terms of coverage amount and risks covered than what a standard home insurance policy may provide. Typically, a personal articles floater policy covers valuables such as jewelry, silverware, stamp and coin collections, artworks, cameras, etc.

A standard homeowners policy offers coverages to jewelry and other valuable items but has low coverage limits. So, it may not fully cover the value of your precious belongings. Nevertheless, you can extend the coverage amount via endorsement. An endorsement allows you to add, remove, or modify coverages and is considered a part of your policy. But not every insurer provides such an endorsement. Usually, homeowners insurance endorsements do not cover losses due to theft, accidental loss, or damage, etc.

What makes it critical for you to have insurance coverage is that the theft recovery rate is shockingly low. Statista states that in 2019 $1.06 billion was stolen in jewelry and precious metals in the United States. Only 3.5% of the total value was recovered that year. Therefore, this minimal recovery rate stresses the need for insurance to keep you safe from losses caused by property thefts.

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Steps in Filing an Insurance Claim

If you’ve been the unfortunate victim of a home theft, here are the steps you should follow when filing an insurance claim. 

Identify the stolen item(s)

First things first, figure out what’s been stolen. Is it your jewelry, expensive art, equipment, or other valuable items? Your observations will be significantly informative to the investigators. So, make a list of what’s been taken with their corresponding values, as this will be very helpful throughout the process. 

File a police report

After any larceny, robbery, or burglary incident, notify the police and file a police report. The police report should include:

  • List of stolen items with their corresponding values
  • Incident number
  • Precinct details
  • Officer details

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Call your agent

Call your agent and notify them of the incident. Gather information regarding whether the policy you carry covers the loss. If it does, find out by when you should file the claim. List out the documents you’ll need to submit during the claims process. If you have any questions regarding the claims process, your agent will help you.  

Document any damage

If there is any incidence-inflicted damage to your belongings or the structure of your house, make sure to take pictures of the damage. So, this way you can submit the images as proof of incidence to the insurer. Sometimes such photos can be the basis for the claim assessment. You can skip this part if there’s no damage.  

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Complete the claim forms

Depending on the policy you have, file a personal articles floater or homeowners insurance theft claim. Some insurers may even facilitate online claims via their digital platform. Whatever method you choose, provide the details of your stolen goods to the insurer, such as item name, value, and purchase details.  

Submit supporting documents

Generally, the following documents are required by the insurer:

  • Police report
  • Proof of ownership
  • Receipts or valuation documents of the stolen good
  • Completed claim report
  • Photos of any damage to your belongings or house (if applicable)

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Investigation and Evaluation in Filing an Insurance Claim

After you’ve submitted the required documents for a home insurance theft claim or personal articles floater policy claim, your insurer will arrange for an investigation to assess the authenticity of the claim. So, the claim adjusters may visit your home where the theft occurred to conduct a loss assessment and loss-value estimation. The adjuster will also review your existing policy to determine whether the loss falls within the scope of the policy you carry.

Furthermore, the investigator may ask you the following:

  • Your personal details, such as name, address, contact number, etc.
  • Date of theft and details of the incident
  • List of items stolen or damaged
  • Steps you took after the incident

You should provide any relevant information and fully cooperate with the investigator. If you’re found to have withheld any information, your insurer may void the policy entirely.

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Claim Settlement after Filing an Insurance Claim

Your claim will settle when you receive reimbursement for your stolen or damaged property. You will get the payment equal to the property value covered under your policy minus your deductible. A deductible refers to the amount that you agreed to pay out of pocket when you bought the policy before your coverage kicks in. The insurer will also provide you with documents outlining the claim record. So, you need to keep this document with you for your records.

However, you should know that not every claim is paid. The varying reasons could be:

  • Item not covered by the policy
  • False or incorrect details from the insured
  • Theft or damage due to ignorance
  • Date of incidence is prior to the policy effective date
  • Claim amount is lower than the deductible

Things to Consider Before Filing an Insurance Claim

Below are a few things that will help you in the claims process.

  • Keep track of your receipts and keep them safe. If you don’t have receipts, record when and where you purchased the valuable items.
  • If you don’t have a copy of the police report, visit the police department’s website, and request one.
  • Carefully check the calculation of the claim payment amount by the adjuster. If you disagree with it, you can negotiate with your insurer.

The process to file a personal articles floater or home insurance theft claim is easy to follow. All you need to do is take the necessary steps by informing the police and the insurer about the incident as soon as you discover the theft. Having the right coverage and clarity of the claims process can help you take the right steps at the right time.

Let an expert help you! Find an agent near you and start your insurance journey today!

Multiple coverage options on your fingertips.

Choose from various options and select the policy
that best suits your requirement.

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