Being surprised by a catastrophe is one of the worst experiences that can happen to you. Even if your property is insured, a theft or fire can be a devastating experience. Here are some tips for how to handle different types of insurance claims. You have enough to worry about. The status of your claim shouldn't be one of those things.

You should always start by contacting your insurance company. If you need help locating someone to do temporary repairs, or if you're unsure about which insurance company writes your policy, contact your Epic Insurance Solutions agent.

If you have a serious loss to your home or business, or a major liability loss, or any loss involving death or serious injury, then you should attempt to contact the insurance company directly, at any time of the day or night. Most insurance companies have toll free "800" numbers to report claims 24 hours a day.

Of course, different types of claims need to be handled in different ways. We'll separate the categories into Property Losses, Liability Losses, Auto Losses and Workers Compensation Losses.

Property Losses

First and foremost, it is a condition of most policies that you are required to protect undamaged property. This would involve actions such as, but not limited to:

You do not need to get permission from the agency or the company to take these actions. Thefts must be reported to the police.

Once you have spoken to your agent or the company, follow their instructions from that point on. Usually the company will want to send someone out to examine the damage to determine the amount of the loss.

Liability Losses

The main thing to remember when you suspect you may be involved with any type of Liability claim is don't ever admit your liability to the other party. Some policies strictly prohibit this, and even if your policy does not, it is not a good idea to admit you are wrong in these types of situations. The law imposes different duties upon people in different situations, and unless you are a lawyer, you can't be sure you are liable for the damage caused.

Also, it is important to report to your agent or insurance company any incident which could lead to a claim. Some types of liability policies will not even respond if incidents are not reported immediately. Unless the claim is potentially severe, there is no need to report it after hours. If it might be a severe claim, try to notify the company on their 24-hour claims line.

Automobile Losses

Unless the damage is minor or happens on private property, you will want to make a police report. Do not admit fault, and don't discuss the details of the accident with anyone other than a Police Officer.

Leave your vehicle where the accident occurred and encourage the other party to do the same until the police arrive. The police won't be able to make a report if the vehicles have been moved. While you wait for the police to arrive:

A good idea, which could save you money in the long run, is to carry a disposable camera in the car with you. If you are involved in an accident, you can take pictures of the scene for evidence at a later time if it becomes necessary. Sometimes, one picture can be worth a thousand words, or maybe a thousand dollars.

Workers Compensation Losses

The injured employee should first be sent to a physician or to the hospital for medical care. Some Workers Compensation policies have Managed Care provisions, and if so, you should always send the employee to someone on the approved list of providers.

You will always need to complete a First Report of Injury Form and send it to the insurance company within seven days of any work-related injury or illness. A copy should be sent to your insurance agency. The company will handle filing the report with the Workers Compensation Board, which they will do electronically.

As always, we are here to help. Should you have any issues or questions, don't hesitate to contact us.