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How to File a Business Insurance Claim

Risk management is a crucial part of every business. A loss event, car collision, unexpected damage to or theft of business property can be stressful. Knowing the key steps when filing a claim can help make the recovery process a bit easier.

3 steps in the business insurance claim process

We hope you’ll never have to file a claim for your business. In the event that you do, we want to help you be prepared.

Vehicle damage or collision

If an insured vehicle is damaged or in a collision, it’s important to promptly report the collision to your insurer within 48-72 hours. Here’s what happens following a collision and what you need to do to document and file your claim.

Property loss or damage

If you need to make a business insurance claim, this step-by-step guide can help you through the claims process.

STEP 1. Document everything

When it’s safe to do so, make a complete list of all damaged, destroyed or stolen property.

Remember these tips:

  • If possible, attach purchase orders, invoices, proofs of purchase, receipts, police reports, owner’s manuals and warranties for lost or damaged items.

  • Take photos of any damaged or destroyed items and/or inventory. Review your files for photos of any stolen items.

  • Keep notes and be as detailed as possible when documenting damage and providing information.

  • Keep damaged items unless they are dangerous or pose a health hazard. Confirm with your Insurer before any damaged property is disposed of.

  • Keep all receipts related to cleanup.

  • Review and update your business assets list after you experience a loss.

STEP 2. Contact your insurance representative

To start a claim, contact your insurance representative and provide complete, accurate details as soon as possible following a theft, accident or property damage. Most insurance companies have a 24-hour claims service.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always keep your insurer’s contact information handy.

  • Be as detailed as possible regarding the circumstances and any subsequent damage.

  • In the event your property is unsafe to continue operations, ask your insurer about business interruption coverage.

    Business interruption insurance is usually an optional add-on to your existing business property insurance policy that would cover your earnings during the period of a shutdown.

    For example, a retail store owner whose business has suffered fire damage would collect the income they would have expected to generate from doing business during the repairs and shutdown. Business interruption is one of many types of business insurance policies.

  • Keep all receipts and invoices for loss-related expenses.

  • After filing your claim with your insurer, a claims specialist or adjuster will contact you. They will review the loss circumstances; examine the documents you provide and explain the next steps.

STEP 3. File a proof of loss if requested

When you file your claim, your insurance company will ask you to complete a “proof of loss” form. This form lists all damaged or lost property or items with the value or cost of the damage or loss.

You must sign and swear the statements you make are true. If any of the statements are untrue, your insurance may be voided.

Typically, a proof of loss must be completed and returned to your insurance company within 30 days. Your business insurance representative or claims adjuster can answer any specific questions you might have.

Getting back to business as usual

Following a loss event, you’ll want to get your business back to normal as soon as you can. Keep these tips in mind to help reduce the stress.

  • Review your policy carefully.

    • Make sure you’re familiar with specified deductibles; coverage limits and exclusions.

    • Insurance companies have three options for your damaged or stolen items: repair, replace or reimburse.

    • Know that your policy requires you to act to limit any further damage.

  • Discuss with your insurer how to proceed with any repairs.

    • You can use a contractor or supplier of your choice to do any repairs. Your insurer will estimate the damage. If your contractor charges a different price, you would be responsible for the difference.

    • Most insurers have preferred vendors, contractors or suppliers who respect the estimates and specifications agreed upon.