What to do in a loss

In the unfortunate event of a loss, the single most important thing to do is remain calm.  This may be easier said than done when involving a larger or catastrophic loss.  However, the more pro-active you can be in dealing with the situation the easier it will be moving forward.  There are many types of losses that an individual or business may go through, but generally most losses involve automobile accidents or property damage such as water or fire.  To help assist you in the event of a loss, you may use these general tips.


Automobile Claims

  • check for injuries after a collision. Life and health are far more important than vehicles, and when in doubt, call for emergency services.
  • if there are no injuries, move vehicles to a safe place if possible rather than being in moving traffic.
  • if you cannot move, place hazard lights on or use cones, warning triangles, or flares for safety.
  • in many jurisdictions in Alberta, a police report will be required if damages are over $1000 or injuries are sustained. Contact police and they will be able to advise if a scene visit is required or a report be filed later.
  • do NOT admit fault on the scene under any circumstance or sign any documents unless required by the police.
  • make detailed notes about the accident. This is critical as it is important to record facts while they are still fresh and easily recallable. Pay attention to the street names; direction of travel; number of roadway lanes; speed of vehicles; traffic control such as lights and signs; and where the point of impact occurred.
  • obtain details for the other parties involved in the accident. Confirm all names or other drivers and occupants; obtain drivers license information; vehicle, serial and plate number; insurance company, broker, and policy number; witness names and full contact information; names of attending officers and police file numbers; and where vehicles are being towed to if not driveable.
  • be polite and assist others involved in the accident. Even if the facts are embarrassing or place you at fault, co-operate with others if possible and make the situation easier.
  • if a camera is available, and it is safe to do so, take photographs of the scene and vehicles involved.
  • finally, and most importantly, contact your Broker or Insurance Company to report the incident as soon as possible.


Property Damage Claims

  • take immediate and reasonable steps to prevent property from further damage. This would include moving items away from damaged areas, and in the event of water trying to stop the source from making the site worse.
  • if the claim is due to theft do contact police immediately and file a report. Most Insurance Companies will require a full police report to confirm facts and items stolen.
  • if there is a situation involving credit card or bank fraud, notify your credit card company or the bank immediately.
  • in the event of a fire, record all contact information for the fire department and investigative information.
  • keep a record of expenditures incurred on the onset of the claim.
  • do not discard any items damaged unless absolutely necessary. Typically inventories will have to be taken prior to discarding anything.
  • avoid cleaning items or eating consumables involving fire losses or situations where specialized cleaning may be required.
  • if a loss occurs outside of regular business hours and requires immediate attention, do contact your Broker or Insurance Company. Many have emergency hour help lines and assistance will be provided where required.


When facing a claim, the best thing to do is try and deal with the situation as quickly and calmly as possible. Remember, if New West Adjusters can help you in any way, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When experience matters.