Insurance Claim Tips for Businesses
Consider what might happen if your company’s building was vandalized by a thief or damaged by a storm or fire. You know you should file an insurance claim, but the time and effort you believe it will take may cause you to delay this crucial process. Before an incident, it is important that you understand the terms of your insurance coverage and any obligations you may have to your insurer in the event of a claim. Refer to your policy’s declarations page, and be sure to contact us with any questions you may have concerning your coverage.
To make the process of filing a claim a little easier, you should be familiar with the claim process and any steps you can take after experiencing a loss. To this end, consider the following suggestions:
Contact Us Promptly
Contacting your insurer should be your first step in facilitating a speedy claim settlement after a covered loss. Always keep your insurance information handy when calling. Being in touch with us as soon as possible after a loss or an incident that could lead to a loss will also help you report what happened while the details are freshest in your mind. Any theft, burglary, or auto accident should also be reported to the police immediately.
In the case of workers compensation claims, timely notification demonstrates your concern for your employees. Reporting claims immediately may also help you avoid late penalties and fines enforced in some jurisdictions.
Make an Effort to Mitigate Damages
Many individuals may be unaware that they have a duty to mitigate, or lessen the severity of, any damages resulting from a covered incident—doing so may help in the settlement of a claim. For example, if the siding of a building has come off and water that is seeping in has caused damage to property, the policyowner should attempt to cover the seepage to help ensure that further property damage does not occur. In the case of an automobile, if a vehicle’s broken windshield is not covered up during a rainstorm, the vehicle owner may be unable to claim water damage to the vehicle’s interior. If you don’t attempt to mitigate damage, it may cost you more in the long run.
Regardless of whether you are filing a claim for a broken lamp or a totaled vehicle, documentation can help solidify your case. Take photos or video of any damage at the time of the claim, and in the case of an accident or theft, be sure to file a police report. If immediate repairs to equipment are necessary, save any damaged parts in case a claims adjuster needs to examine them.
Other important documentation include receipts and appraisals, which can help prove the value of your business property in the event it needs to be replaced. However, simply having this documentation does not mean that a claimant will automatically be reimbursed for the replacement cost of an item. Coverage amounts may vary according to your particular policy, and in some cases, insurance may be based on depreciated value, which is discounted according to an item’s age and condition.
When filing a business interruption insurance claim, it is important to be able to show the income the business was generating both before and after the loss. Be sure to keep detailed records of business activity and of any extra expenses needed to keep your business operating in a temporary location during the interruption period. If you are forced to close down for a period of time as the result of a covered loss, you should also be able to identify any expenses that continue during the time the business is closed, such as salaries of key personnel, advertising, and the cost of utilities, which are ordinarily covered as a part of the business interruption insurance protection.
Despite all the advice given for handling an insurance claim, suffering a loss and sorting out the details can be a frustrating experience. Try to remember that, when settling a claim, a certain degree of inconvenience is probable. But by following the tips above, your claim may be settled faster and more efficiently. If you’re unsure how to handle a particular situation, we stand ready to assist you in filing your claim.
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