Getting an insurance policy is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business because we are faced with a whole lot of risks in our day to day lives such as accidents, fire, natural disasters and several other unanticipated disasters. An insurance policy would not only help to reduce risks, it would also provide a soft landing for you and help you recover with ease whenever there has been an accident or an unexpected occurrence.
What is General Insurance?
Insurance is divided into two types: life insurance which seeks to protect its holder’s beneficiaries in the event of death and general insurance which protects its holders against risks and unfortunate occurrences while they are still living. General insurance could be on motor vehicles, property theft and burglary, natural disasters like earthquakes, floods and storm, fire insurance, business liability, health insurance or employee liability insurance.
Insurance is very helpful but a lot of people find themselves on the wrong side of things because they do not know how to handle insurance claims. Knowing how to file your insurance claims is just as important as buying an insurance policy. It wouldn’t be nice to spend years paying insurance premiums and get denied when you eventually file a claim.
All insurance policies are not equal in terms of the way claims should be handled. The way you would handle a health insurance claim would be very different from the way you would handle an accident insurance claim. However, the procedures outlined below are very useful in handling almost any form of insurance claim.
How to Handle General Insurance Claims
The first step to take is to plan adequately right from the very day you buy the policy. This is known as a disaster plan. For instance, if you are insuring your home against theft, you should consider putting cameras in your home to record everything that goes on around your home. You should also ensure that you stick to rules and regulations.
If you have a motor vehicle insurance, you should always comply with safety regulations; use your seat belt always, don’t text while driving and other such safety rules because if an accident occurs in the process of breaking those rules, you would have a hard time getting anything out of the insurance company.
You should open a file for documentation of events especially when there has been an incident. You should also file all documents related to the insurance contract and keep them as safe as possible. Also, you should avoid doing things that you would directly put you at risk. When you plan adequately for your insurance claims, you would be on the safer side and be assured of getting your claims.
It is very important for you to know what to do as soon as an incident occurs and how to report and file your insurance claim.
How to Report and File an Insurance Claim
1. Always document-: Documentation is very important in insurance because the truth is, insurance companies would try as much as possible to avoid paying claims. It doesn’t matter what they say when they are trying to sell you their products, that’s just the basic truth so you have to always be a step ahead of them.
You must ensure that you document everything. In the case of home and property insurance, you should always document any new equipment or property you buy. This serves as a proof of ownership and is one of the documents you would use in filing your claims. Also, whenever there has been an accident, always take pictures or make video recordings before anything. If there has been an accident, make sure you take pictures or ask someone to do it for you before the vehicle is moved or towed away.
2. File reports at the nearest police station immediately-: As soon as the event occurs, make sure you report to law enforcement agents and get a police report. A police report is your back-up evidence that the event actually happened and your claims are not fraudulent.
3. Get your own estimates-: Although the insurance company would also make their own estimates, it is also important that you get a professional to access the extent of the damage and provide an estimate of what it would cost to repair or replace the damaged property.
4. Contact your insurance agent immediately-: You shouldn’t waste time in making your claims because some insurance companies provide a time limit for which you can make your insurance claims so as soon as an event occurs, call up your insurance broker or agent who would prepare a claim form and send it to the insurance company on your behalf using all the documents and evidences you have provided.
5. Hire an insurance adjuster-: Hiring your own insurance adjuster would cost you some percentage of your insurance claims but would also increase your chances of getting paid. An insurance adjuster is experienced in the business and knows what is expected of both parties to the contract that puts him in the best position to assess your losses and present your claims to the insurance company.
6. Involve your lawyer-: You should also consider involving your lawyer but this can wait until the insurance company starts acting ‘funny’.
If you follow the steps provided above adequately, you should get your claim but if your general insurance claim is refused; here are some of the steps to take-:
- Find out why your claim was refused-: Insurance companies refuse claims for two reasons. The first reason is because your insurance policy does not cover for what you are claiming against while the other reason is when you have engaged in some activities or misconduct which has violated the terms of your contract. Sometimes, claims are also refused due to administrative errors which can be easily corrected so the first thing is to find out why you are being refused.
- File an appeal-: If you feel that you have not violated any terms of the contract and you should be paid claims, then you should file an appeal and if you are still being refused, you should contact your lawyer for legal advice.