Like many beginner insurance customers in general, you might make a mistake when filing an insurance claim. Such errors are easy to make but can have serious consequences, including delayed payments or even denial of claims. Here are two common mistakes made by insurance customers as well as steps you can take to avoid them.
Failure to Notify Your Insurance Company Immediately
One common mistake in the claim process is failing to contact your insurance company immediately after an accident or loss that could potentially be borne by your policy. Don't delay! Contact your insurance company right away. This is important for two reasons. First, claims are more easily processed when events have just occurred and evidence is still fresh. Remember, physical evidence and witnesses' memories fade with time.
Second, timely notification is a protection requirement in most insurance policies. For example, commercial property policies usually require immediate notification if there is a loss or damage. Most general liability policies require you to notify the insurance company as soon as possible in the event of an incident, violation or claim. If you fail to report a loss or claim within a reasonable time, your insurance company may refuse payment of your claim.
If you want, you can report a loss or claim to your insurance agent or broker. Your broker will usually forward information to your insurance company on your behalf immediately. Your agent or broker will get a claim form and help you complete it.
Bad recording on your part can delay the process of a claim. Document any communication that you have with your insurance company regarding your claim. Record the time, date, and content of each verbal conversation. Save all documents in separate files so that you can access them quickly.
If you send paper documents to your insurance company, keep a copy of each for your file. Be sure to note the date and document that was sent on. If you are talking to a claim representative or other insurance company employee on the telephone, send a summary of the conversation to that person by mail or email.
For example, when an accident or loss occurs, document the scene with a camera if you can do it safely. Take photos of your damaged property. Send pictures to your insurance company when you submit a claim. Photos can help verify your written description of damaged property.
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