7 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filing an Insurance Claim

One thing you’ll be quick to notice is that filing an insurance claim is a responsibility that doesn’t necessarily happen at the most ideal time. Maybe you’re doing it right after your vehicle has been hit, your business or home has been broken into, or some of your valuable possessions have been lost or damaged.

It’s no wonder the stress level can be high in these situations. That’s why you might make one or more of the following mistakes that can impede you from receiving prompt adjuster contact or a timely settlement. Here are seven leading obstacles to avoid making during this stressful time:

1. You fail to read your policy.

What’s covered and what isn’t? How do you file an insurance claim? How long do you have to file an insurance claim? Your policy is probably not the most intriguing reading material, but it’s likely to be among the most important. While your insurance agent is always just a phone call away, your quickest and easiest step is to simply read your policy before you need it.

2. You don’t call your insurance agent immediately.

Your insurance agent can provide immediate guidance and next-step advice. For instance, if a water pipe broke in your home or business, your insurance agent will be able to connect you with resources to help with the initial clean-up process as well as protect your property from further damage.

3. You don’t get in touch with authorities.

Depending on the situation, an official report from the authorities (police, fire inspectors, etc.) will serve as valuable & necessary documentation.  For certain types of claims such as theft, your insurance company will require a report from the authorities before making a payment for your loss. But it should be noted that you do not need to have that report in hand in order to initially report your insurance claim.

4. You throw away the damaged items (and valuable evidence). 

How do you prove that your belongings are damaged by smoke, fire, or by an intruder if your insurer never sees evidence of that? It’s important to take plenty of photos of everything that was damaged. But do not discard those items in case the adjuster must inspect them in order to document your loss & make payment for your claim. In the case of an auto accident, hold off on having repairs made to your vehicle until they are approved by your adjuster.

5. You’ve kept little or no documentation.

The type of documentation you need can depend on the sort of claim you’re making. As mentioned earlier, take photos of the damage. Also, gather any receipts you might have for the stolen or damaged items. Electronic receipts are fine, so remember to snap a phone photo of every major item you purchase for your home or business. In addition, keep your vehicle titles in a safe place so they can be produced in the event of a major auto claim.

6. You admitted you were at fault.

One moment, everything’s going fine. The next moment your car is damaged and so is the other driver’s. Maybe you were rattled and not thinking clearly at the time of impact or intimidated by the other driver or the circumstances. Whatever the reason, you tell the other driver and the police officer that you were at fault. Maybe you were or maybe you weren’t, but making that statement could compromise your insurance claim. It’s important to cooperate with the authorities and give them your description of how the accident occurred but do not admit fault, regardless of how it happened. Your insurance adjuster will investigate & consider all factors in making a final determination.

7. You don’t fully cooperate with your insurance agent.

When it comes to filing an insurance claim, it’s probably not something you do every day. Fortunately, this is something your insurance agent does for a living. They’re the experts and your best possible resource. If you even think you might have a claim, give them a call to talk it over. Let them advise and guide you through this sometimes confusing process.

Need Help? Contact Us

At Winter-Dent we know you’re at a vulnerable time when you have to file an insurance claim. This is particularly true if the incident was especially traumatic, such as involving fire or a totaled automobile with injuries.

Your claim might involve a lot of money and that creates even more stress and possible complications. That’s why getting ahead of these seven possible obstacles can make the process go much smoother. Let us be your valued resource when you make a claim. Contact us for business and personal insurance products that can make your life more secure.

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