I've had a claim. What do I do next?

A loss of any magnitude can be a stressful situation for your church. You may be overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. In the unfortunate event that you do have a claim, there are several steps you should consider throughout the process.

  1. Call first responders- To help ensure the safety of your people and property, be sure to call an emergency phone number, like 911 or local fire/police/ EMT departments, immediately. Doing this is the first critical action to take when an accident happens.

  2. Attend to any injuries/gather information- If people are injured, attempt to help with their injuries as much as possible. When it is safe, record the names of anyone involved (including witnesses) and their contact information (name, phone number, addresses). If there is an investigation, cooperate with authorities. Provide facts, but do not admit fault.

  3. Notify your insurance company- Contact your insurance carrier right away to let them know your church has experienced an incident. This notification is very important as it will create the actual claim. An adjuster should reach out to you to discuss the event and provide further feedback, usually within 24 hours.

  4. Protect your property- If it is safe and reasonable to do so, try to protect your property from further damage. For example, you may attempt to close a door if you have flooding. Do not ever try to mitigate loss if it is likely to be dangerous.

  5. Keep evidence of your loss-Take pictures of the damage to your property related to the incident. These may be required to submit to your insurance carrier. Additionally, do not throw out damaged items/property without confirmation from your adjuster that you may do so.

  6. Keep proper documentation in relation to the claim- If you need to make emergency repairs or purchases, keep all of your receipts as well as the names of repair companies you use.

  7. Cooperate with your insurance company- Following the guidelines provided by your insurance carrier can help to make the claims experience smoother and may result in faster resolution. If you have questions about what you should be doing, contact your carrier first to discuss your options.

Some additional tips to consider that can help you BEFORE you experience a loss are:

  1. Keep your insurance policy handy and understand what it covers- If you have questions about your coverage or need a copy of your policy, contact your insurance agent or carrier.

  2. Know your claims contact information- Write down and/or save your insurance carrier’s claims contact information to avoid having to search for it during a hectic time.

  3. Maintain appropriate coverage- Having coverage that is appropriate for your church and its exposures is imperative in helping prevent further devastation after a loss. Be proactive in protecting your ministry.

  4. Chose an insurance agency and carrier wisely- Your insurance agent and carrier should not only help you select appropriate coverage, but they should offer compassionate, fast, fair claims with outstanding customer service. Be knowledgeable about what features and benefits are available to you in association with your coverage.

Looking for coverage for your church?

The United Methodist Insurance Program (UMIP) offers robust property and casualty insurance for your church in partnership with Suracy Faith Insurance Agency. A full suite of coverages are available from top tier carriers with experience serving the religious sector. UMIP’s goal is to provide customers with exceptional customer service and connect them to carriers that offer fast, fair claims.

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