Navigating the claim process can be stressful when you have experienced a loss. If you have an insurance claim question, our Claims Examiners, together with our team of brokers, independent adjusters, and contractors are here to help!

Here are some answers to common insurance claim questions and concerns.

Claim Information

How long will it take to complete my claim?

It depends. We will strive to process your claim as quickly as possible. When you consider all the factors—like the kind of loss, extent of damage, availability of local contractors, and other considerations such as catastrophic events—the length of time will vary. You can help the claim process by providing information requested from you as soon as possible.

Am I covered for this loss?

Your Claims Representative will review your insurance policy in full to determine if you are covered for a loss. You may direct any questions to them regarding your unique situation.

Please note: referring a contractor to assist with emergency repairs does not necessarily mean your insurance policy will respond. A full review of your coverage will be completed. If you do not have coverage, you are responsible to pay for the loss.

What is the replacement process?

To receive full replacement cost for lost, stolen, or damaged property, you must first replace items with ones of similar kind, quality, and usefulness. If you choose not to replace an item, Actual Cash Value will be the final settlement.

How do I document all my items? What if the item was a gift?

We ask that you provide us with as much documentation and proof of ownership as possible. Proof of purchase can include original purchase receipts, invoices, bills, appraisals, warranty and manual information, and photographs. We realize that certain items will be harder to substantiate than other items, and we will take that into consideration.

Do I need to send a payment for my deductible?

No, this is a common misconception. Your deductible is subtracted from the settlement you receive. If you are not receiving a settlement, only payment for a contractor’s service, you would pay the contractor your deductible.

Is there a time limit on my claim?

Your claim should be reported by you within a reasonable amount of time. Legally, your claim will be statute barred two (2) years from the date of loss that you knew or ought to have known the loss or damage occurred, and in any other case, not later than two (2) years after the date the cause of action against the insurer arose. If you want to know the date of record, your adjuster or Claims Representative can confirm it for you.

Do I need to sign the Proof of Loss form?

You may be required to sign the Proof of Loss form which is a legal document listing the circumstances and details of your loss. By completing the form, you formally acknowledge you experienced a loss and confirm your agreement that you have been indemnified (or compensated) for your loss. Once we receive a signed and completed Proof of Loss form, we will issue payment to the appropriate parties listed on the form e.g., contractors.

Should I report a theft, burglary, or vandalism to the authorities?

Yes. This is a requirement of your policy conditions.

Repairs to Property and Hiring Contractors

What is the difference between an emergency repair and restoring my property?

Emergency repair includes only the necessary work to make the home safe or free from the risk of additional damage. For example, if a water pipe bursts in your ceiling, emergency repair may include the use of drying equipment or even removing the flooring affected by the water. After the emergency, it is determined what work needs to be completed to restore the property to its pre-loss condition.

Can Mutual Fire Insurance make repairs without my permission?

No, your permission is required before any work can be done on your property, even in emergency claim situations.

In an emergency, why is my contactor asking me to sign a work authorization?

By signing the work authorization you give permission for the contractor to complete emergency repairs and acknowledge emergency repairs are at your own cost should the damage not be covered by your insurance policy.

What is the scope of repair?

The scope of repair is an outline of repairs that are required to return the dwelling to pre-loss condition. It is finalized after any emergency mitigation has been completed. Once complete, the scope of repair is provided to contractors to bid on the repairs.

What is the contract of repair?

The contract of repair is between you, the policyholder, and your contractor who you authorize and hire to perform the necessary work to repair your damaged property. This means areas concerning workmanship are issues between you and your contractor. Once the scope of repair and price has been approved, it is your choice who you hire to complete the repairs.

Responsibility of Persons in the Claim Process

What is my role in the claim process?

Your role is to provide details about your loss and any required documents. You are the one who will authorize a chosen contractor to initiate emergency restoration and repairs.

What is my insurance broker's role in the claim process?

Your broker is your first point of contact. They know you and your policy so they can assist in the claims process and answer your questions.

What is the role of Mutual Fire Insurance in the claim process?

MFI’s role is to open a claim, assign a Claims Examiner, appoint an independent adjuster (if required), investigate the loss, confirm coverage, oversee settlement of your claim, and issue payment.

What is the independent adjuster's role in the claim process?

The role of the independent adjuster is to gather information about the loss, help facilitate the repair process, and make recommendations to us for settlement of your claim. An adjuster is obligated to make full disclosure to you about the coverage available to you.

What is the contractor's role in the claim process?

The contractor will repair your property; however, any work must be authorized by you. Mutual Fire Insurance will only recommend and refer qualified restoration contractors trained and certified in fire, smoke, and water damage to perform both emergency services and property restoration.

The contractor may also be asked to provide a scope of repair. You will be asked to review the scope of work before it is sent out to bid. Mutual Fire Insurance does not warranty any work completed by a contractor.

Claim Terminology

What is a deductible?

A deductible is a portion of the claim that you are responsible for. The amount of your deductible is stated on your policy. We are responsible only for the amount by which the loss or damages caused by any of the Insured Perils exceeds the amount of the deductible.

What is actual cash value?

Actual Cash Value is the cost of replacing damaged or destroyed property with property of similar kind, quality, and usefulness, minus depreciation. In calculating depreciation, factors such as the condition and age of the item, its resale value, and normal life expectancy are taken into consideration. Some coverages only provide Actual Cash Value settlements, and this will be noted in your policy.

What is the contract of insurance?

The contract of insurance is a contract of indemnity between us (your insurer) and you (the policyholder).

What is replacement cost?

Replacement cost for contents you own, such as furniture, means the value of that property on the date of loss for new articles of similar kind, quality, and usefulness without any deduction for depreciation. With regards to repairs to damaged structural property, replacement cost means the cost of repairing or replacing the property with materials of similar kind and quality, whichever is less.