Insurance companies usually offer people the perfect safety net when they accidentally lose their property. However, having an insurance policy is not a guarantee of getting compensation. At times, policyholders make some mistakes when filing a claim that ends up costing them their compensation.
As such, it is important that as a policyholder, you are well aware of your policy benefits and how to file an insurance claim to ensure that you receive full compensation.
Read on below to understand the top mistakes people make when filing an insurance claim.
1. Failing To Read and Understand the Policy
Gaining a comprehensive understanding of what your insurance policy covers before you make a claim is very important. It is impossible to know the risks that your policy covers if you do not understand your policy. Such a scenario can be very embarrassing for you.
Therefore, read the entire document and understand the terms that govern your policy cover. If you have any questions about it, you can talk to your agent or hire an attorney to review your policy. Another way is to find consultation from Friedman & Associates Public Adjusters.
2. Not Contacting a Lawyer
Insurance lawyers best know how to deal with insurance companies and the process of filing for claims. They help policyholders understand their policies and advise them on what to do to ensure that they do not make any mistakes during the claims process.
This is because insurance companies have several tricks up their sleeves that they can use to deny you your claim unfairly. A lawyer can help ensure that you do not fall victim to such tricks and will protect your rights for compensation.
You do not want to wait for your claim to be denied to seek legal help. Hire a lawyer from the start to ensure that the entire process is free from error-free.
3. Failing To Notify Your Insurer Immediately
It is vital that you contact your insurer right away after a loss or accident. Filing for claims immediately after an incident is easier since the incident will still be fresh and it’s unlikely that evidence is tampered with at this stage. This way, your insurer will not accuse you of planting evidence.
Delaying to contact the insurance company can also cause the insurer to doubt how severe you have been affected. Timely notice is a condition in many insurance policies. If you fail to report a claim as per the policy requirements, your insurer may deny compensation based on the fact that you have breached the contract.
4. Not Having the Right Documents
You need to have kept all records of documented interactions between you, your insurer, and the police. The insurance company will require detailed information about the incident and your loss when you make a claim. Some of the documents that you should have include:
- A police report
- Details and descriptions of the lost property
- The costs or value of the property
- Pictures and videos of your injuries or loss
- Hospital records if injured
- Any correspondence with the insurance company
These documents will help you make your claim. Remember, always get the accurate name of any representative you speak to from the insurance company, as well as the date and time. Try to use emails as much as possible and keep a record of every communication you have with your insurer concerning your claim.
5. Failing To Follow Up
When you make a claim, you can only sit back and wait for your compensation if you have a lawyer following up the claim on your behalf. If you don’t have one, you should try and not lose track of your claim.
Insurance companies handle several claims at the same time. As such, they have no reason to give your claim a priority if you do not push them. If you have not heard from them after a few weeks, follow up with a phone call or email and ask for a progress report.
6. Failing To Question the Calculations
Once your insurer has investigated your claim, they will calculate the damages, loss, or injuries to determine how much they should compensate you.
The estimate or calculations are the actual cash value of the damages or loss or the cost that it will take to repair or replace them.For example, if you damaged your insured vehicle, they will value it according to its actual cash value.
You have a right to get realistic estimates of the cost to replace or repair your property. If you fail to question how they calculate your loss, you can end up getting low or unfair compensation. If you do not agree with the insurance adjuster, contact your insurance agent or the company directly so you can make a complaint.
7. Signing Documents Without Reading
If you receive any documentation from your insurer, go through it before signing. Simply assuming that your insurance provider will put your interest first can cause you to lose your compensation.
Insurance companies have several bureaucracies and are also known to subcontract some parts of the claims handling process. They also handle several cases and might make some mistakes during the process. In light of this, your insurer can deny your claim for a very wrong reason or maybe because they relied on insufficient information.
If possible, let your lawyer look over the documents and should the insurer deny your claim, go over the reasons for the denial and make an appeal.
8. Not Mitigating the Damages or Injuries
Your insurer will require you to show proof that you are protecting your property and yourself against further damages. For example, if you’re filing a claim for a house fire, they will expect that you will visit the scene and try to salvage what was left by the fire, rather than filing for a complete loss.
If you had an accident, they would require a hospital record or a doctor’s report and proof that you are abiding by the doctors’ orders. If you file a claim without proof of mitigating damages, they can easily argue that you do not care much about your property and can use that to give you unfair compensation.
Avoid Making These Mistakes When Filing a Claim
In as much as having an insurance policy is good, it may not be of much help if you are not careful with how you handle the claims process. Try to get everything right before you file your claim to avoid mistakes and ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.