What is the right way to apply for insurance claims for your business? How do you increase your chances and eliminate the odds of getting the claim?
You see, the last thing you need after your business has just suffered a hit, is the insurance company giving you the run around, wasting time and energy in pursuing claims or even discovering at the end of the day that the insurance company would not file claims. In order to ensure that you get your business insurance claims without stress, these are some of the mistakes you should avoid making-:
Six Mistakes to Avoid When Applying for Insurance Claims for your Business
1. Don’t clean up before contacting the insurance company-: Some business owners mistakenly clean up the scene or even hire laborers to do some small jobs to at least improve things but this shouldn’t be done before the insurance company has had time to visit and access the situation. No matter how bad the case may be, inform your insurance company first and receive authorization before working on your property.
2. You must document everything-: In cases where it may be impossible to wait for the insurance company’s inspection visit before cleanup, then every cleanup effort should be document with pictures and video recordings as evidence.
3. Keep all damaged items-: Never throw away damaged goods as they would be used as evidence to back up your claims.
4. Negotiate-: If you feel like you are not comfortable with the estimate your insurance company has made for fixing damages, feel free to hire your own claims adjuster. You don’t have to settle for what the insurance company is offering you if you are not comfortable with it.
5. Understand your insurance policy-: That policy document you would be given is not just a complimentary gift; it is handed to you so that you can carefully read and understand all the terms and conditions, clauses and all other things you need to know about your insurance policy.
6. Have a disaster management plan-: You should have a spelt out procedure for managing disaster in your business. This plan should include all the steps and procedures that are recommended to take by the insurance company whenever a loss occurs. It should also be understood by all employees so that whoever is available whenever the loss occurs would know the steps to take.
To file your business insurance claims, you should take the following steps-:
Steps to Filing your Business Insurance Claims
a. Disaster planning-: The first thing you have to do even before any incident occurs is to have a disaster plan in place. Some of the things that you should do are-:
- Install surveillance cameras in business premises and cars so that events can be properly monitored and recordings can be used as evidence.
- Create forms for reporting any unfortunate incidents and teach employees how to fill them.
- Stage mock drills from time to time to be sure that everyone knows what to do when faced with disaster.
- Comply with all safety regulations, procedures and policies and ensure that all staffs do the same.
b. Disaster Reporting-: The timing, manner, content and method of your disaster reporting also counts towards whether you would get paid or not. You should take the following steps when you want to report a disaster-:
- Contact law enforcement agents-: As soon as an incident occurs, the first set of people you should contact are the law enforcement agents who would observe the incident, confirm that it happened and then give you a report which you would use to support your claim.
- Take pictures and video recordings-: Pictures don’t lie (Well, before Photoshop) and videos are a solid evidence that an incident occurred and also serves as a proof of the extent of damage. Therefore, whenever an unfortunate incident occurs, you must take pictures and make video recordings of the incidence.
- Get written statements from witnesses-: Getting written statements from people who witnesses the incident is also a very solid way to back up your insurance settlement claims.
- Make a list of damages-: The next thing to do is to quickly compile a list of all the things that were lost or damaged during the incidence.
- Review your policy-: Before you file your claim, make sure you carefully review and understand your insurance policy and know beforehand, what the company would cover for and what it won’t.
- Contact your agent-: The next person you should speak to after the law enforcement agents is your insurance agent or broker. Most times, your insurance agent would be the one to help you file your claim and forward it to your insurance company.
- Speak to your insurance company-: As soon as the insurance company receives your claim form, an insurance adjuster would be sent to evaluate your claims. You should try as much as possible to make contact with the insurance company through the adjuster and also ensure that you provide the adjuster with enough evidence to back up your claim.
- Repair damage-: If you decide to wait until negotiations with the insurance company is complete, it may lead to further damage of your property which the insurance company may not cover for. Therefore, as soon as the insurance adjuster has visited the site and obtained the necessary evidence he needs, you should go ahead to fix some parts of the property to prevent further damage but not without appropriate permission from the insurance company.
- Hire an insurance adjuster-: You should also consider hiring your own insurance adjuster to assess the damage and give you a quote.
- Talk to your lawyer-: You should also consider talking to your lawyer who would give you the necessary advice and support to ensure that your claims get approved.
- Follow up on your claims-: The insurance company should pay up without stress as long as you follow all the procedures outlined above but in case your insurance company is still trying to play games in spite of your having followed all guidelines and fulfilled all obligations, then you should seek redress in a court of law. Talk to your lawyer and seek legal advice on how to sue your insurance company.