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Homeowners Education Center

Homeowners Education Center

What do I need to know to report a claim?
What is the claims process?
What do I do if the damage is caused by Fire and Smoke?
What do I do if the damage is caused by Wind, Hail, or a Tornado? 
What do I do if the damage is caused by Vandalism? 
What do I do if the damage is caused by Water?
What do I do if the damage is caused by Harmful Waste (sewage, blood borne pathogens, etc.)?
What should I do if someone is injured at my house?
What is Liability coverage?
What is Medical Payments Coverage?

Please note the following:
Your coverage and limits are listed and described in your policy. You should not construe any of this material as altering or expanding your coverage. This is not a contract. Coverage and policy language can vary by state.

What do I need to know to report a claim?
Minimum information:

  • Policyholder name, address and contact information
  • Policy number
  • Date of loss
  • Cause of loss
  • Location of covered property
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of all involved parties
  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses
  • Details of loss or description of damage
  • Name of investigating police department or public official
  • Police report number

Helpful information

  • Preserve and protect your property from further damage
  • Save your damaged property until the claims adjuster has seen it
  • Photograph damaged property for your records
  • Prepare a room-by-room list of damaged property
  • Keep an accurate list of all your additional living expenses, such as meals, hotel rooms, etc.
  • Keep documentation to support amounts paid for emergency repairs

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What is the claims process?
The claims handling process can vary depending on the type of loss. Your claim representative will help you through the process by:

  • Explaining your coverage, limits and deductibles that apply to the loss
  • Arranging for inspection of damaged property and estimate of repair
  • Overseeing the repair or reimbursement of covered items
  • Answering your questions
  • Handling your payment promptly and fairly

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What do I do if the damage is caused by Fire and Smoke?
Do:

  • Contact your agent or us to report the damage and seek advice on how to proceed
  • Limit movement in your home to prevent soot particles from being imbedded into upholstery and carpets
  • Cover traffic areas with clean towels or old linens
  • Blow or brush-vacuum loose soot from drapes, carpet and upholstery
  • If electricity is off, remove items from the freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open
  • Clean and protect chrome finish on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil
  • Wash house plants on both sides of leaves
  • Change your HVAC filter
  • Tape cheese cloth over air registers

Don't:

  • Wash walls or painted surfaces prior to discussing with a restoration professional or your claims adjuster
  • Attempt to shampoo carpets or upholstery
  • Attempt to clean electrical appliances that may have been close to heat, fire, or water
  • Use any canned, packaged food, beverages or medications that have been stored close to fire, heat or water
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet
  • Send garments to dry cleaner without consulting with your claims adjuster or a restoration professional as improper cleaning may set smoke odors

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What do I do if the damage is caused by Wind, Hail, or Tornado?
Do:

  • Contact your agent or us to report the damage and seek advice on how to proceed
  • Cover any openings made in the structure with plastic sheeting cut to size and nailed over the opening
  • Remove fallen trees or limbs from the structure, if safe to do so
  • Contact a professional removal service, if necessary, and keep your receipt
  • Contact your local electrical company to report downed electrical wires
  • Keep your personal safety in mind and attempt temporary repairs yourself only if they can be done with little or no risk

Don't:

  • Attempt any emergency repairs that could cause injury to you or anyone else or their property
  • Try to remove any downed electrical wires

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What do I do if the damage is caused by Vandalism?
Do:

  • Contact your agent or us to report the damage and seek advice on how to proceed
  • Clean egg damage from building exterior as soon as possible
  • Blot fresh food spills from carpets and fabrics with a damp cloth or sponge
  • Scrape and blot, don't rub
  • Vacuum broken glass from carpets and upholstery
  • Save containers that may reveal the composition of spilled inks, cosmetics and paints

Don't:

  • Try to remove ink, paint or cosmetic stains from carpets or upholstery
  • Operate damaged lamps or other appliances
  • Discard chips or other broken pieces from furniture, porcelain or other art objects until the claims adjuster has seen it
  • Risk your own personal safety

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What do I do if the damage is caused by Water?
Do:

  • Contact your agent or us to report the damage and seek advice on how to proceed
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and pillow cushions for even drying
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting
  • Turn air conditioner on for maximum drying in summer
  • Remove Oriental rugs or other colored rugs from wet wall-to-wall carpeting
  • Remove valuable paintings and art objects to a safe, dry place
  • Open and place luggage in sunlight to dry
  • Gather loose items, toys, etc. from floors
  • Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature
  • Keep out of rooms where the ceilings are sagging from retained water

Don't:

  • Leave wet fabrics in place (dry as soon as possible)
  • Leave books, magazines, newspapers and other colored items on wet carpets or floors
  • Use your household vacuum to remove water
  • Use televisions or other household appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet

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What do I do if the damage is caused by Harmful Waste (sewage, blood borne pathogens, etc.)?
Do:

  • Contact your agent or us to report the damage and seek advice on how to proceed
  • Stay out of affected areas
  • Call emergency service personnel if the situation is life threatening 
  • Treat all bodily fluids as if they are contaminated 
  • Turn off the HVAC system if there is sewage damage
  • Consult your local health department or physician if exposed to harmful waste; OSHA recommends a post-exposure medical evaluation.

Don't:

  • Attempt cleanup of any kind
  • Touch or handle items that might be contaminated with bodily fluids
  • Eat, drink, smoke, apply cosmetics or handle contact lenses in affected areas 

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What should I do if someone is injured at my house?

  • Promptly report the claim to your agent or directly to us
  • Obtain names and addresses of any witnesses
  • If possible, don't voluntarily make payments, assume obligations or incur expenses, except for emergency first aid at the time of the bodily injury
  • Should any party allege that you or any insured under your policy is responsible for bodily injury or property damage, we will conduct an investigation to assess those allegations
  • Subject to the terms and conditions of your policy, we will adjust those claims in which you may be legally liable

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What is Liability coverage?
Liability coverage pays for loss as a result of bodily injury and property damage caused by an occurrence. For example, if your dog bites someone or someone falls and is injured on your property this coverage may pay for their damages. We will investigate to determine if your negligence contributed to their bodily injury or property damage. Subject to the terms and conditions of your policy, we will adjust those claims in which you may be legally liable.

This coverage does not respond to damage to your own property or injury to an insured or a member of your family living in the same household. The amounts paid to another party are subject to your policy limits.

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What is Medical Payments coverage?
Under the homeowners policy, it provides protection for your guests who are accidentally injured on your property as a result of a covered loss. This protection pays for the reasonable and necessary medical expenses they incur, regardless of who was at fault up to the limit provided under the policy.

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