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Insurance Steps to Take After a Disaster

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project - CLEAR Intake Line LSC Funded

List of things to do after a disaster occurs in dealing with your insurance companies.


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  • Find a copy of your policy. Your agent can provide one, if needed.

  • Think about all insurance policies (property, car, health) that might cover a loss.

  • Look at your policy. Find the address where you must send a written notice.

  • Give your insurance company written notice of your loss. You should call immediately, then follow-up with written notice.  You MUST send written notice.

  • Take photos and/or videos of property damage, if possible before making repairs.

  • Make a list of damaged or lost items. Ask your insurance agent about forms your insurer requires.

  • Keep receipts for expenses to repair your property and/or for any extra living costs, such as hotels and meals away from home.

  • Give your insurance company a list of all expenses. Find out if you need approval before spending money or making contracts.

  • Check your insurance policy for deadlines or special requirements. As much as you can, you must follow all the rules your policy lists.

  • Send in proof of loss (photos, receipts, and so on) and other documents the policy requires to get coverage and payments from the insurance company.

  • Request partial or advance payments as needed.

  • Keep notes whenever you talk with your insurance company, agent, or broker. Include dates, times, and people in the conversation. Keep copies of all letters, emails, and so on sent to and from your insurance company or agent.

  • Review checks, payments, letters, emails, and so on from your insurance company. Make sure no language releases or gives up any claims. If you are in doubt, discuss with your agent. You may need to talk to a lawyer.

  • Follow up with your insurance company about your claim.

  • Get legal help if you feel someone is treating you unfairly.

This publication was adapted from materials authored by Lone Star Legal Aid with their permission.


This publication provides general information concerning your rights and responsibilities.  It is not intended as a substitute for specific legal advice. 
This information is current as of February 2018.

© 2018 Northwest Justice Project — 1-888-201-1014
(Permission for copying and distribution granted to the Alliance for Equal Justice and to individuals for non-commercial purposes only.)


Last Review and Update: Feb 28, 2018