At Keyser Insurance Group, we love taking care of people. We dare to do things differently and are proud of our personal approach to customer care. That’s why we want to be your first call when you need help with your insurance.

Connecting with your Keyser agent first — especially when you have a claim — ensures you’ll get the attention you deserve and that you’ll have an advocate working with you and for you throughout the process.

What’s an insurance claim?

An insurance claim is a formal request by a policyholder to an insurance company for coverage or compensation for a covered loss. They’re the whole reason we buy insurance to begin with — so we’re protected against predictable, but unexpected events.

It’s your responsibility to report damage to your property. Depending on the type of claim, an adjuster inspects, assesses and verifies the damage, and, if your claim is approved, starts the compensation or reimbursement process.

While filing an insurance claim may raise future insurance premiums, there are no hard-and-fast rules around rate hikes. What one carrier may forgive, another won’t forget. Because any claim at all may pose a risk to your rates, it’s important to understand your policy. For example, if you know a previously filed claim won’t count against you after a certain period of time, deciding whether or not to file a claim may be easier. If you don’t understand your policy, or have questions, don’t be shy about asking your agent for help. They’re the experts and it’s literally their job to help you understand.

Regardless of your situation, minimizing the number of claims you file is the key to protecting your insurance rates from a substantial increase. A good rule to follow is to only file a claim in the event of catastrophic loss. If a few shingles blow off of the roof on your house, you may be better off if you take care of the expense on your own.

worried woman on the telephone

I need to file a claim. How do I even start?

If you need to file a claim, our main goal is to get things back to normal as soon as possible, but there are some things you can do to start the process and help it go smoothly.

  • Protect your property from further damage. For example, if a pipe bursts, turn the water off and call a plumber. If there’s a hole in your roof, cover it with a tarp. You get the idea.
  • In the event of personal injury, obtain the names and addresses of people involved and witnesses.
  • If your claim involves theft to your home, call the police and file a report.
  • Take photos (or videos) of damage.
  • Contact your agent as soon as possible to report your claim.
  • Separate your damaged property and keep these items until your claim representative tells you they can be discarded. Your claim representative may inspect these items to verify ownership and determine their value based on factors such as the make, model and condition prior to the loss.
  • Create an inventory of your personal property that was damaged or destroyed and submit your inventory as soon as possible. Click here to learn how to create a home inventory.
  • Keep all receipts and invoices for any personal property repairs or replacement.

What happens next?

Your homeowner’s policy may provide replacement cost coverage on your personal property. If it does, your policy outlines that your initial payment amount will be based on the actual cash value (ACV) of these items. After the items are repaired or replaced, you’ll be reimbursed the difference between the ACV amount you already received and any additional amount you can recover under your policy — called recoverable depreciation. Your claim representative will consult with you regarding specific personal property limits that will apply to your loss.

To be reimbursed for recoverable depreciation:

  • Repair or replace your damaged personal property as soon as possible.
  • Submit a final itemized receipt or invoice that shows the total amount paid to repair or replace each item and number each receipt or invoice to correspond with the personal property inventory.

We hope you never need to file a claim, but if you do, we’re here to help. And with locations in three states and being licensed in all 50 states, we can take care of you wherever you are. You can always reach us during normal business hours, but we’re also here to help with insurance emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.