Answers To Common Claims Questions

When a storm damages the roof of your church or someone is injured in a fall on your property, we know your concerns go much deeper than filing an insurance claim. You have many questions, and we’ve got the answers you need.

If you don’t see the information you’re looking for here, be sure to talk with your Brotherhood Mutual agent or claims adjuster. They’ll help you take care of everything.

General Questions

Q: How do I know if my claim will be covered?
A: Policyholders are encouraged to check with their Brotherhood Mutual agent any time they have questions. It’s always a good idea to report any potential claims to Brotherhood Mutual, because the first step in our claims handling process is to determine what coverage exists for the loss.

Q: How long will it take to handle my claim?
A: Every claim is unique, and the length of time it takes to resolve each one will depend primarily on the surrounding circumstances. We will ensure that the process is moving forward and will keep you informed along the way.

Q: What's a deductible?
A: It is the portion of a loss that must be paid by the insured party before the insurance company starts paying for the costs of the loss. For example, if you have a covered loss of $4,000 and your policy carries a $1,000 deductible, you’ll pay the first $1,000 and we’ll pay the remaining $3,000.

Q: I don't think my losses will exceed my deductible. Should I still file a claim?
Yes. Even if you aren’t sure, it’s always a good idea to report a claim promptly. In some cases, events that start out as minor accidents can quickly turn into much more, when additional injuries or damages are reported at a later time. Your Brotherhood Mutual agent is available to talk things over any time you have questions.

Q: What if I don't have all the information about my loss right now? Should I wait to file a claim?
Please do not wait. Contact us immediately when a loss occurs. Even if very little information is known, we’re here to help collect the information that’s needed as we work on your claim. The sooner we learn about your loss, the quicker we can begin to help your ministry recover from it.

Property Claims

Q: What should I do if my property sustains damage?
Notify your agent as soon as possible. If the loss occurs over a weekend, report the claim early Monday morning or call the claims department at 800.333.3371 and leave a message. Write down a detailed description of what happened, including information about the extent of damage. If you need emergency assistance after office hours—a building has burned, a tornado has demolished your building, you have extensive water damage, etc.—please contact our after-hours emergency claim line at 800.933.1849.

Q: What if I need to report an emergency claim?
If your claim requires immediate attention, contact your agent. If your agent is not available after hours, contact Brotherhood Mutual directly by calling our toll-free claims line at 800.333.3371. Claims representatives are available at Brotherhood Mutual (all times are Eastern Time):

  • Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., ET
  • Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., ET.
  • After Hours: If your claim requires immediate attention during off hours, call 800.933.1849.

Q: Can I go ahead and make some repairs to my property?
Yes, you can make emergency repairs to protect your property from further damage. If the loss is covered by your policy, these repairs are generally covered as well. It is helpful to take pictures before any work is done.

Q: Do I need to file a police report if my property damage was the result of a crime?
A: You should contact the police in cases where the law has been violated, such as theft, burglary, vandalism, auto accidents, or suspected arson.

Q: What will happen after I submit my claim?
We’ll assign your claim to a home-office staff adjuster who will follow up to answer questions and collect any additional information that’s needed, generally within one business day.

Q: How many estimates should I get?
Generally, two repair estimates by qualified contractors will be required when your building is damaged.

Q: How can I help settle my claim quickly?
If your personal property is affected, you'll need to submit a complete list of damaged items. Your adjuster will also need to verify the value of the damaged items, so the more information (original invoices, specific brand and model information) you provide, the faster we can process your claim.

Q: What do you need to show proof of ownership for stolen property?
This is where a documented property inventory becomes invaluable. Of course, purchase receipts are ideal, but if those are not available, other items that prove ownership can include owner’s manuals, product packaging, appraisals, titles of ownership, and photographs or videos that show the items in your facility. Be sure to ask your Brotherhood Mutual agent if you have questions about how to prove ownership of stolen property.

Q: How will the adjuster assess the property damage?
For more serious losses, you'll need an on-site inspection by a staff or independent adjuster to help establish the full extent of your damages and give you firsthand guidance to settle your claim.

Q: How can I be sure the adjuster will provide a fair estimate?
Contrary to popular perception, claims adjusters don't look for ways to minimize the value of your damages. Their job is to establish the true extent of damages resulting from the claim. Your full cooperation will enable adjusters to do their job quickly and fairly.

Liability Claims

Q: What is a liability claim?
A liability claim is a demand for money to compensate someone for injuries or damages. It is sometimes received in the form of a lawsuit or letter of representation from an attorney. A liability claim is made against a person or organization whose acts allegedly cause injury to another person or damage to another person's property. The person or organization is alleged to be negligent, and therefore responsible for injuries or damages. 

Just because someone is injured on your premises or at one of your sponsored activities doesn't mean you're negligent and legally liable for the injuries.

Q: What do I do if my ministry might be subject to a liability claim? 
Contact your agent immediately if there is an accident or if you become aware of anything that indicates there might be a claim. Be the Church—care for the individual(s) affected, but don't acknowledge or deny responsibility when an accident occurs. Avoid making statements such as, "We'll take care of everything." Instead, say, "We'll report this injury to our insurance company, and they'll be in touch with you."

Q: What should I do if someone is injured on our property?
See that appropriate medical care is provided immediately. Gather pertinent details regarding the circumstances surrounding the incident and contact information for any witnesses that may have been present. Keep a record of the information so you can assist in our investigation. Remember, it is not necessary to make comments regarding responsibility for the incident. Notify your agent immediately, even if you don’t have all the information needed.

Q: What happens if someone sues our ministry? 
The plaintiff's lawyer will give your church or ministry two documents: the complaint (a description of the lawsuit) and the summons (a request for your response). Generally, you have 20–30 days to file an answer depending on your state requirements.

Because of this time requirement, it is imperative that you get the lawsuit to your agent or directly to a Brotherhood Mutual representative immediately. Covered lawsuits will be given to our attorneys to file an answer on your behalf and begin the defense of your ministry.

If you fail to notify your agent or a Brotherhood Mutual representative and an answer isn’t filed within the time limit, the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) may obtain a default judgment. When a court enters a default judgment, it means that the plaintiff wins by default, and the defendant (the person against whom the lawsuit was filed) usually has little opportunity to defend its actions at that point, even if it did nothing to cause the alleged injuries or damages.

Again, if you receive a summons and complaint, notify Brotherhood Mutual immediately so that we can evaluate coverage and meet the time requirements of answering the lawsuit.

Q: What should I do if someone sues our ministry in a court or jurisdiction that is outside of the United States or Canada?
Contact us or your Brotherhood Mutual agent immediately if you receive a complaint or summons. Generally, you have 20–30 days to file an answer depending on your state requirements. Because of this time requirement, it is imperative that you provide the lawsuit to your agent or a Brotherhood Mutual representative. Covered lawsuits will be given to our attorneys to file an answer on your behalf and begin the defense of your ministry. 

Mission Travel Claims

Q: What should I do if I need to file a travel insurance claim?
We've created step-by-step instructions to walk you through the claim process in the Mission Travel Claims section of this site. There you'll find specific instructions for reporting a claim, depending upon which type of mission travel policy you have. For further assistance, please contact our mission travel team at 800.876.4994.