You may have been advised to buy an insurance policy and, without really understanding it, you thought “why not, if it helps to protect me and my business”. But now it seems that Murphy’s Law has been unkind to you, and you’re left questioning: “how do I make an insurance claim for my small business?”. Our quick guide will hopefully simplify the process and advise you on how to make an insurance claim, relieving some of the stress of not knowing what to do next.
1) Report any crimes as soon as possible.
If you have been burgled, had something stolen or have been vandalised, you will need to report these crimes to the police as soon as possible. Many insurance policies will require you to report the incident to the police within a specified time frame, but you should always report a crime straight away regardless.
2) Check that you are definitely covered before you claim on your insurance.
You need to find your insurance policy. Maybe you were sent a hard copy, or you printed it from your email, or it’s still sitting there in your inbox. Depending, of course, on how you bought it. Once you have located your insurance policy, read the details of it again thoroughly to make sure you are definitely covered for the incident. You may want to check your policy excess and prepare to pay this or have it deducted from your claim settlement (the excess is the amount that your insurance company requires you to pay toward the cost when you make a claim). If the amount you’re claiming for is less than the insurance excess, it may not be worth making the claim even if you’re entitled to it. And do remember that claiming on your insurance can increase the cost of your premium in future.
If there is any procedure the insurance policy states that you must follow, do so. This may include contacting the insurer’s approved handyman, or a handyman who fits the policy’s set criteria, to fix any damages.
3) Make the claim.
Depending on your insurer, there should be a 24/7 helpline for new claims which you should be able to find easily in your policy booklet or online. Claiming over the telephone is usually the quickest way to get going. Other alternatives are to fill in a claim form. If you want advice or assistance with the claim process and you have an insurance broker, you can contact your insurance broker beforehand but this may prolong the process as you won’t be dealing directly with your insurer who will actually be the ones paying out the claim. But if you feel that you require support, your insurance broker should be happy to help you and work as a middle-man in making the claim.
When you make the claim, you may need to give them cost estimates on the repair and replacement, as well as how much revenue you stand to lose due to the incident. Past receipts and invoices may be required to make your claim, in addition to any police report reference numbers if one was filed. When you are making an insurance claim you should be honest and factual, and try to avoid deliberately missing out on any details or exaggerating in regards to the incident. They will want to know exactly what happened, who was involved, the time and place of the incident, as well as other details.
Advice on how to make an insurance claim and get it accepted:
- Take videographic and/or photographic evidence of the damage immediately, making notes of all damages, items which have been stolen, etc.
- Don’t ask for too much and don’t hyperbolise the incident and value of the claim as this could invalidate your claim due to false information. Be as clear, factual and detailed as possible. The quicker you file a claim, the easier this is to do as the details are still fresh in your memory.
- Document everything – Everyone that you speak to regarding the incident as well as what was said and at what time. The police, your insurance broker, your insurance company… The more documentary evidence you have, the more chance you have for your claim to get accepted.
How to be prepared in the event that you need to make an insurance claim:
- Keep all necessary documents, such as receipts and invoices for things that are insured, to hand. It make things a lot easier when you keep all of these documents together somewhere in an organised fashion.
- Keep your insurance policy documents somewhere that you can easily get to should you need them – safe and sound.
- Have photographic evidence of all valuable items that you have insured, which clearly displays the existing condition of said items.