What steps should Calgary residents take after a major weather event to file an insurance claim?

May 25, 2024

Weather in Alberta can be unpredictable and present unexpected challenges to Calgary residents. From hailstorms that damage roofs to flooding due to heavy rainstorms, major weather events can leave Calgary residents with significant damages that require medical treatment and insurance claims for repairs. While you cannot control nature itself, you can remain prepared when disaster strikes - What steps should Calgary residents take after a major weather event to file an insurance claim?

1. Assess the Damage and Ensure Safety

  • Safety First: After major weather events, adrenaline may run high; but your safety remains of utmost importance. Don't rush outside until after all threats from downed power lines, loose debris, and unstable structures have passed and it is safe for you to do so.
  • Checking for Hazards: Once the danger has abated, take extra caution in inspecting your property for signs of structural damage such as cracked foundation walls or leaning chimneys, leaky roofs, or cracked windows/doors caused by high winds that create entry points for water intrusion.
  • Electrical Hazards: Take caution with any potential electrical hazards when traveling around. Stay clear of areas with sparking wires, exposed outlets, or downed power lines; if any damage appears then turn off your main circuit breaker immediately and seek professional guidance from an electrician before continuing your trip.
  • Locating Water Leaks: Flood damage or snowmelt can leave serious water damage behind, so check the roof, windows, eavestroughs, and basement areas regularly for leaks that might result in water intrusion such as warped walls or floors or moisture build-up. Once found, take steps such as covering any holes with tarps to stop their source - such as covering holes with waterproof material like roofing membrane.

2. Document Everything

For an efficient insurance claim process, comprehensive documentation is key to its success. By providing more details than necessary about any damage suffered and its extent, insurers will understand and settle claims faster.

  • Tracing Damage: Start by documenting all aspects of the damage with photos and videos, including close-up shots that document specific details as well as wide-angle views to show its full scope. 
  • Before and After: For your protection, try gathering photos of your property before weather events such as hail damage. Preexisting pictures will prove particularly valuable when trying to assess its extent quickly after such damage occurs.
  • Itemized Inventory: When inventorying damaged belongings, take individual photos of each piece and include a brief description as well as its estimated value - especially with high-value items like electronics or jewelry that you have receipts for.
  • Keep Detailed Records: For optimal documentation of weather events, take as much care in documenting them as possible. Document the time and date of an incident as well as any unusual developments during it as well as initial steps taken to limit further damages.

3. Understanding Your Coverage

Before initiating the claim process, take some time to familiarize yourself with your insurance policy and its contents. Doing this will enable you to fully comprehend which perils (such as hail, wind, and flood ) and limits are covered and understand your deductible costs (the amount paid out-of-pocket until insurance pays out).

4. Filing Your Claim

After documenting and verifying damage to property and ensuring safety, it's time to file your insurance company claim. While exact steps might differ depending on which insurer provides your policy, general steps remain the same.

Most insurance providers provide several ways to file claims: 

  • Phone: You can contact their customer service line and speak with a representative who will guide you through the filing process.
  • Online: Many insurance providers now provide electronic claim forms that you can fill out and submit. This may be an ideal option if all the necessary documentation is close at hand.
  • Mobile App: Some insurers provide mobile apps that make filing claims quick and convenient while on the move. With such apps available to them, making an insurance claim filing can become easy even while out and about.

Every insurance provider has different claim filing processes; to ensure a swift and efficient claim filing experience, you must follow their guidelines closely to facilitate an efficient claim filing procedure.

Read more: Is medical marijuana covered by Insurance Canada?

5. Temporary Repairs and Receipts 

Minimize Further Damage

While waiting for your claim to be processed, steps must be taken to mitigate further property damage. For example, if hail damages your roof, cover it with a tarp to stop leaks of rainwater into your home; similarly, broken windows need boarding up to keep wind and rain outside your house.

Maintain Receipts

Make sure that any temporary repairs made are documented with receipts that can be submitted back to your insurance provider as reimbursement claims, helping lessen the overall impact of weather events on your property. By being proactive with taking these measures you may reduce overall damage.

6. Working With Adjusters

Your insurance provider is likely to send an adjuster out to assess any damage personally and determine the estimated costs associated with repairs or replacements. An adjuster is an experienced professional who inspects the property to evaluate damage before providing estimates as to repairs and replacement costs.

Communication Is Essential

Be ready to answer all questions honestly and provide full access to any damaged areas on your property that they request access for an adjuster to access. By giving as much detail as possible, they'll better grasp your situation and accurately assess any claims for damage you might file against your claim.

7. Negotiating Your Claim Settlement

After an adjuster completes their evaluation, your insurance company will present you with a settlement offer, representing how much they're willing to cover for damage repairs or replacement. However, be mindful that their initial offer might not always accurately represent all repairs or replacement expenses.

Be Prepared and Stay Calm

By following these steps and remaining prepared, navigating the insurance claim process after an extreme weather event should become much simpler. Prioritize safety first, document everything thoroughly, and contact your insurer promptly for claim approval.

Summit Insurance can offer additional resources or review its policy as it supports Calgary residents during any stormy period! We also provide Business Insurance in Calgary!

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