Filing A Claim With FFI
Filing a claim often happens at the worst possible time. Maybe you’ve just broken your brand new camera, or a crucial piece of lighting equipment was stolen from your studio, or a client slipped during a photoshoot and injured themselves. We know these are the moments when our customers need our support the most, which is why we want the claims process to be as transparent and easy as possible.
First Things First: How to Navigate a Claim
Submitting a claim is more than simply asking for money. Prepping for submitting your claim can make a big difference. Here’s what you need to know.
What We Need From You
Before filing a claim, gather all of the necessary information. This will speed up the claim acknowledgment process and avoid confusion later on. Some of the necessary information includes:
- Policy information: policy number, cert number, effective date, etc.
- Date and approximate time of the loss/damage/theft
- Name, address, and contact information of the claimant
- Location of the incident
- Name of the police department with which you filed a theft report if filing a theft claim
- The exact or estimated dollar amount of the property that has been stolen or damaged
- Detailed description of the incident
- A complete police report in cases of theft or intentional damage.
(This is important: It is your responsibility to contact the police and file a police report yourself. We cannot file a police report on your behalf, or contact the police to receive a report from them directly.)
This information is materially important to establishing the facts of your claim and most adjusters won’t be able to process your claim without some or most of it.
Things That Can Delay Your Claim
- Make your initial claim promptly. Waiting to start the claims process will only delay the final result and can make you more likely to forget crucial details of the incident for which you are filing a claim.
- It’s vital that you respond to any and all correspondence from your claims adjuster in a timely manner. Your claim cannot be properly investigated/adjudicated without your input and your adjuster can only work as fast as they are given the information they need.
Pro Tip: Check your Junk or Spam folders to make sure correspondence from your claims adjuster didn’t get flagged.
- Double-check any and all information before you send it to your adjuster. Incorrect names, dates, serial numbers, etc. take time to correct and—in cases where your claim is heard in court—can drastically alter the timeline and overall result of your claim approval.
Things That Won’t be Covered
It’s worth knowing right off the bat which kinds of claims won’t be covered. Your policy includes a list of exclusions that define the details of what your insurance won’t pay for, and some people are surprised to find out that some seemingly common occurrences don’t meet the qualifications for coverage. That’s why it’s crucial to read your policy carefully to protect against certain situations.
Some scenarios that won’t be covered include:
- Equipment that is rented, borrowed, or does not personally belong to the policyholder.
- Any theft that occurs from an unattended vehicle, even if it’s locked.
- Theft for which the owner does not file a police report. It is always the responsibility of the property owner to inform the police of any theft.
- Mysterious disappearances
Useful Ways to Stay Prepared
- Keep an inventory list including the date of purchase and price at the time.
- Take photos of the crime scene, the surrounding context of the incident, and/or any damage that occurs.
- Take reasonable steps to protect your equipment ahead of time. Invest in protective equipment and locks.
- Have a plan to leave any insured equipment in a secure place when not immediately in sight.
Now, Let’s Talk About The Claims Process
Once you initiate a claim, we immediately get to work. Our main priority is to make sure your claim is sent to the insurance carrier with all the necessary information we need to provide.
To initiate the process, start by filing a claim through your customer dashboard.
- Log in to your online user account*
- Locate the “Manage Policies” section
- Click “File a Claim”
- Fill out the form and submit
*If you are an additional insured or are otherwise filing a claim and are not the primary policy holder, you can call us at 844.670.1078 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the necessary digital claims form.
After you initiate a claim, a dedicated Customer Service Representative from our team will typically reach out to you within 1-2 business days to confirm receipt of the claim.
After that, our job is to send the necessary claim information including your policy number and Certificate of Insurance to our insurance carrier, which is a separate company in charge of validating, accepting, or denying the claim, and eventually paying it out.
At this point, you might wonder why your claim is being sent to someone outside of FFI—and we get it! Think of it this way:
While FFI packages your insurance policy and makes it available for purchase on your end, our carrier, Fortegra, is the company that administers our insurance policy and carries the financial risk.
Our dedicated CSRs can answer any questions you might have about the details of your policy, but since they are licensed insurance agents, they cannot comment on whether or not your claim will be accepted or if you are entitled to any payments.
Only Fortegra can tell you the status of your claim, if you meet all the necessary qualifications for a payout, or any of the reasons why your claim is denied.
What Happens When We Submit Your Claim
After your claim is submitted to Fortegra, the company usually takes 7-10 business days to assign a claims adjuster to your case. The claims adjuster will reach out by email to confirm they’ve received your claim. This person will be your primary contact for your claim throughout the process and you should direct all your questions about the approval status, timeline, and any payment amounts to them.
After the initial confirmation email from Fortegra, your claims adjuster may need more information from you to validate your claim. They might ask for:
- Make and model of damaged or stolen property
- Receipt of purchase for the property
- Date and time of the theft or accident
- Names of anyone injured during the incident for which you’re filing a claim
Claims adjusters use many different variables to determine whether or not a claimant has a right to payment, and gathering the necessary information can take anywhere from a few days to multiple months depending on the type and amount of damage. For your professional peace of mind, you should expect a claim to take a few weeks at the least to be processed.
Here’s an example timeline for what filing a claim might look like:
Justin trips and breaks his favorite DSLR lens during a hike while taking photos of Mount Shasta. He’s frustrated, but he remembers he has coverage through FFI. He snaps a picture of the broken lens with his phone and makes a note of any key details surrounding his accident.
When he gets home the next day, he files a claim through the form on FFI.
One day later, a CSR from FFI reaches out to let him know that we’ve received his claim and have sent it to Fortegra along with his policy number and COI.
One week later, he receives a message from a Fortegra claims adjuster confirming the receipt of his claim. His claim adjuster also needs to know whether or not he had any protective equipment for his lens at the time of his accident.
Justin is busy with another job and takes two days to respond, saying he had the lens in a protective case, but took it out to exchange the lenses on his camera when he tripped.
His claims adjuster responds the next day, letting him know that his claim was approved and he’ll be sent the current market value for the broken lens at the start of the next billing cycle in two weeks.
17 days later, a check arrives in Justin’s mailbox for the full amount of his lens minus the depreciation because it was an older model.
All in all, from when Justin broke his lens to when he received payment, his claim took 29 days to reach resolution not counting weekends and holidays.
We know it can be frustrating when a crucial piece of equipment is lost or stolen, and it’s understandable to want answers about your claim. We ask all of our customers to remember that each and every claim is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Once Fortegra has proof of what happened, the cost of the item/damages, and the context of claim (the so-called “facts of the loss”) they can tell you whether the claim is covered within the letter of the policy. Only then can they decide whether payment is warranted.
Coming into the process with realistic expectations, providing as much information as you can, and staying in contact with your claims adjuster can help lead to better outcomes for everyone involved.
Reasons Why a Claim May Be Denied
There are many reasons why a claim might be denied. Once again, it’s vital to know the specific exclusions listed in your policy, but some of the biggest reasons for which a claim is denied include:
- Mysterious disappearance (loss which cannot be sufficiently explained by the insured)
- Theft with no ensuing police report.
Some claimants might be frustrated to learn that their equipment is not covered in case of loss or theft. While this is understandable, these claims are often simply too difficult to insure due to the heightened risk of fraud.
Some other general reasons for denial of claim include:
- Loss due to governmental search and seizure
- Nuclear hazard
- War action
- Improper maintenance of equipment (not using valid protective equipment)
- Earthquake, floods, or other so called “acts of god”
- Fungus rot and bacteria
- Property is not owned but rented
Questions You Might Have About the Claims Process
We’ve tried to detail the process with the information throughout the page. But, here are some brief answers to the most common questions we receive.
Start by clicking the “file a claim” button on your customer dashboard and filling out the form.
Every claim is different and it’s impossible for FFI to give a prediction of how long your claim will take. Claimants should be prepared to wait for several weeks or months for their claims to be approved or denied, and should make appropriate preparations for their business in the meantime.
It takes 7-10 business days for Fortegra to assign an adjuster for your claim. Calling before then will not ensure that you can talk to an adjuster any faster. Once you receive an initial email from your adjuster, you may message or call them at their discretion.
We’re sorry to hear you’re without a camera! It’s frustrating trying to run a business without a crucial piece of equipment. We try to file and process your claim as quickly as possible. If you need a replacement immediately, try checking with any local rental supply companies for a camera to use in the meantime. Unfortunately, neither FFI nor Fortegra can reimburse you for the cost of a rental replacement.
For damaged property, compensation is given in the form of actual cash value, (market value minus depreciation of how many years it’s been in use), a like replacement, or the cost of the repair—usually whichever amount is less. Fortegra will make the final decision regarding the kind of compensation you are entitled to.
We’re Here to Help
Our support agents are ready to help you and answer your questions.