Important Insurance Tips
If you suffered a loss and need to file a claim:
- Contact your insurance company immediately to report your loss.
- Do not rush into repairs or rebuilding without first getting instructions from your adjuster, since your insurance company's visual inspection is necessary before repairs begin. Do not throw away damaged property until your adjuster advises you it is all right to do so. However, keep in mind that you have an obligation to mitigate your damages from further loss. Insurance policies may not cover ensuing damage to your property if you have not taken reasonable steps to protect against subsequent property damage.
- Key points to remember before hiring a contractor:
- Make sure the contractor is licensed by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Get the contractor's license number and call CSLB at 1-800-321-2752 to verify that the license is valid, or check the status online at www.cslb.ca.gov.
- Check all references, especially if the contractor comes to your door and offers to do repairs.
- Ask the contractor if he/she carries general liability and workers compensation insurance. Request a certificate of insurance from the contractor that shows the name of the insurance company, policy number, and policy limits the contractor carries. You may contact the insurance company directly to verify information on the certificate of insurance.
- Don't be rushed into signing a contract. Make sure to read the fine print on all estimates and contracts.
- If you hire a public adjuster to help you with a claim, be certain that the adjuster is licensed. Call our toll-free number 1-800-927-HELP to verify that the license is active. Public adjusters must be licensed by this Department in order to do business in the State of California. California Insurance Code §15000 through §15032 addresses the required qualifications for public adjusters as well as limitations on soliciting representation of a consumer. Key points are listed below:
- No public adjuster shall solicit or attempt to solicit a client for employment during the progress of a loss producing occurrence.
- A public adjuster shall not solicit a contract of employment until seven days have elapsed since the occurrence of a disaster. (Does not apply if the licensee is contacted directly by the insured or the insured's representative)
- No public adjuster shall solicit a client for employment or initiate any contact with a policyholder between the hours of 6 P.M. and 8 A.M.
- The contract must include a provision allowing the client to rescind the contract by written notice sent or delivered to the licensee by midnight of the third business day after the day on which the clients signs an agreement.
What steps to take after filing a claim:
- Prepare a detailed inventory of destroyed or damaged items.
- If you have taken pictures of important and valuable items or have a videotape of your home and possessions as well, please provide a copy to your adjuster. This will help you settle the claim quickly and efficiently.
- Keep copies and or records of all communication between you and the adjuster.
- Gather all receipts of your additional living expenses that you have incurred from the time of your loss and provide a copy to your adjuster.
- If you are experiencing difficulty with the processing of your claim, you may file a complaint with this Department. Contact us at 1-800-927-4357 for further assistance, or complete the Request for Assistance form online.