As a business owner, there will likely come a time when you need to file an insurance claim. Whether it’s a minor issue or a major problem, you deserve coverage. Keep reading to learn more about insurance claims and how to get started filing one.
What is an insurance claim?
An insurance claim is a formal notification to your insurer that you have incurred a loss or damage that you believe is covered under your insurance policy. Your insurer will have specific forms for you to complete and you will also be expected to provide evidence to support your claim. Typically, the case will be assigned to an insurance adjuster, although the broker may be involved, to investigate the claims and determine what or if reimbursement is covered under the policy.
How to file an insurance claim
First of all, you’ll want to file your claim as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to recover your losses. In fact, most insurers have a reporting period where you must report losses in a reasonable amount of time to be considered for reimbursement. However, before you file your claim, you’ll want to re-read your policy.
Read your policy
Before filing a claim, make sure that the language in your policy will cover the loss. For example, we had a client who had a commercial auto policy where the vehicle was damaged because of an improper installation of an accessory. They filed the claim saying that the vehicle was damaged because of this installation, but the insurance company said it was actually a defective repair, and that they didn’t have to cover that. Turns out, this mechanic that installed the accessory was actually unlicensed and committed fraud by working on this vehicle and causing damage. Now, it’s covered by the insurance policy.
So make sure to carefully read the language of your policy.
Once you’ve made your initial filing, your insurer will require you to submit documentation as evidence. Your insurance adjuster will ask for certain documents, and it’s important that you provide all of them. Provide as much information as possible to help prove your claim. The more information you can provide to your insurer, the clearer a picture they have of your claim.
Notarizations and interviews
Be aware that you’ll likely have to get documents notarized and even be interviewed by your insurance company. Insurance claims can be a few hundred to millions of dollars, so your insurer will take extra steps to ensure that the case is represented properly and accurately before paying out.
Once your case is investigated, your insurer will contact you regarding your claim and will discuss with you the compensation or lack thereof. This is a very basic overview of the insurance claims process, but most insurers will use a similar process. Before filing, it may be beneficial to speak to your broker or a lawyer to ensure that your claim is filed correctly and paid out to you properly. Insurance companies want to pay out if the event is covered under their policies so don’t be afraid to file that claim.