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FAQ: What Happens When Making an Insurance Claim?

Friday, 27 August 2021

Making an insurance claim is a foreign concept for most – and for good reason! Still, sometimes the unexpected happens. There is never an ideal time to have to deal with a loss, but that’s why BIG is here to help. If it’s your first insurance claim, you might be especially unsure of how it works. In this blog, we will explain the general claims process.

Before You Make an Insurance Claim

If you are in a car accident, or you return home to a fire or break-in, here are some things you should do to protect you, and everyone involved.

  1. Take action to prevent further damage or injury. Call 911 for injuries or immediate danger.
  2. Report criminal activity to police (theft, vandalism, hit & run, significant vehicle damage).
  3. Document everything – collect information from all involved, take photos of damage.
  4. Report car accidents to a nearby Collision Reporting Centre.

Making an Insurance Claim

Once you’ve taken all the necessary steps and precautions, it’s time to inform your broker. BIG brokers are always here to help you understand your coverage and guide you through every step of the process. If the loss has occurred outside of regular business hours, you can also contact BIG’s 24/7 claims line to get things in motion.

Your broker or our BIG claims team will connect you with your insurance provider, who will walk you through the next steps. Your insurer will ask for an account of what happened, and any damage caused, or items lost/stolen in the incident. They will also ask you for other details including a police report number, collision report number, photos.

When making an insurance claim through your car insurance, your insurance company will provide a list of nearby preferred vendors which will expediate the process, arrange a tow if necessary, and make arrangements for a rental if your policy has Loss of Use coverage. They will then assign a claims adjuster to your case to assess the damage, and repairs or payouts you may receive.

When making an insurance claim through your home insurance, your insurance company will arrange for service contractors to come and complete clean-up and repairs. A claims adjuster will be assigned to your case to assess the damage and repairs or payouts you may receive.

You may need to submit receipts for damaged or lost items you have replaced in order to receive reimbursement. Should you need to make alternative living arrangements, you will also need to submit receipts for costs above and beyond your regular cost of living.

What is a Claims Adjuster?

When making an insurance claim, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case. A claims adjuster is a person who specializes in claims, and they are often an employee of the insurance company or may be hired from an independent adjusting firm during busy periods. A claims adjuster will consider all the factors while making an insurance claim and determine what is covered by your insurance policy. They will also attempt to reach an agreement with others involved in terms of their loss and the extent of their responsibility. Ultimately, the payout amount will depend on the type of coverage you purchased.

Do not authorize any repairs or repair the damage yourself, unless the repair prevents further damage, until the claims adjuster has consented or has had a reasonable time to inspect the damage.

How Long Does It Take When Making an Insurance Claim?

This largely depends on the nature of your incident and a variety of other factors. A simple fender bender could take just a week to resolve if you choose to go with a preferred vendor. But with added complexities such as litigation, parts on backorder, things can be slowed down. Our best advice is to have as much information as possible for your insurer and follow their recommendations to expedite the process – after all, they do it for a living!

Home insurance claims can be prolonged when there is significant damage, and many items are to be replaced. Without a home inventory, you may not discover lost items until months later. For this reason, claims can remain open for a while if you need to submit receipts for reimbursement.

Will My Insurance Increase if I am Making an Insurance Claim?

The answer to this question is not black and white; it widely depends on your situation.

For car insurance, making an insurance claim where you are determined not to be at fault will probably not affect your insurance premium. The only caveat to this is if you make several comprehensive claims, in which case, you might be required to increase your deductible (which lowers your premium) to deter smaller claims.

If you make a car insurance claim and have been determined by your insurer to be at fault, it will likely increase your insurance premium when you renew. There is a one-time accident forgiveness that can be purchased to protect qualified drivers from this increase if it is your first at-faut accident.

If you are making an insurance claim through your home policy, you can expect it to increase regardless of the nature of the claim. If you are claims free, you usually qualify for a claims-free discount of up to 20%. When you file a claim, you would subsequently lose this discount. Before you make a home insurance claim, be sure to consider the cost of the premium increase.


At BIG, we put our clients first. That’s why we have a claims service available 24/7. We will be there for you when you are making an insurance claim whether it’s a minor claim, or a catastrophic loss that causes financial stress and emotional heartache. You can trust our brokers and insurance partners to be there for you every step of the way. For the best prices, coverage, and service, contact BIG for a quote!

By: Amy Legault