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Submitting a claim on your home or auto policy is pretty simple. It usually involves contacting your insurance company, filling out a claim form, and waiting for an adjuster to look over the damage. Then, if appropriate, it's just a matter of waiting for your check to arrive. Most claims are handled quickly.Keys to Getting Your Insurance Claim Approved

Carefully Review Coverage - Don't wait until you need to file a claim before you fully review and understand what's covered by your insurance policy. Go over your policy with your agent to ensure you understand what your policy covers and what it doesn't. Make sure you know what your deductible is as well. You should also periodically review all of your insurance policies to ensure that they fit your needs as your situation changes.

File Your Claim Quickly - Inform your insurance company of your claim as soon as possible. Your policy may require that you make the notification within a certain time frame, so don't delay sending in the paperwork. The sooner you file, the better.

Document Everything You Can - This is important both before you need to make a claim and when you need to make one. Save and have duplicate copies of all receipts for items you buy. These will help you establish an inventory of your belongings should the need arise and how much those items cost. After any damage, prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged possessions, with their approximate age, initial price and estimated cost to replace.

Take Photos and/or Video - The availability and ease of digital cameras allows you to provide "before and after" documentation. If you don't have a camera phone, keep one disposable camera in your glove compartment and one at home. This will ensure your insurance company cannot claim the damage was pre-existing or normal wear and tear. Be sure to take photos or videos of the damage before you begin cleaning up or making repairs.

Make Temporary Repairs - Don't wait for an insurance adjuster to start making temporary repairs. If your home is damaged, you should make whatever temporary repairs are needed to protect your home and you from further damage or injury. Most insurance policies will cover small temporary repairs that are necessary to ensure your safety (or your home's). Broken windows and leaking roofs should be fixed right away so the insurance company cannot dismiss some claims as the result of waiting too long to do so. Just remember not to start any permanent repairs until you hear from an adjuster. If you make any temporary repairs, save all receipts and documentation, as the insurer will likely reimburse most of these expenses.  

Don't Assume Something Isn't Covered - Just because a claim is initially rejected doesn't mean the policy doesn't say otherwise. If your claim is rejected, check with your insurance agent to find out if your claim should have been approved.

Get an Estimate or Two - It's important to get a second opinion on the repairs needed for your vehicle or your home. Whether repairs are needed for your home or automobile, get a couple of estimates to be sure you have an accurate measure of how much the damages will cost. The adjuster may be able to approve your claim on the spot if you have a reliable estimate from a reputable source.

Be Accurate - When filling out paperwork, make sure you have the details correct, as mistakes or inconsistencies can cause your claim to be denied or delayed.

When Not to File an Insurance Claim

There are times when you may be better off not filing a claim at all. Insurance companies want to stay away from those they feel are high risks. Filing too many small claims can result in an increase in your premiums or even a cancellation of your policy. If you've made a lot of small claims in the past, you may be better off not reporting a fender-bender or minor damages to your home and consider paying for the repairs on your own. It might actually save you money in the long run.

As an independent insurance agency, we can often operate as an advocate to make sure you get the full benefit and protection provided by your policy. If you have concerns or need assistance with the claims process, feel free to contact us and we'll do whatever we can to help.


By Matt Reynolds - Google+
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Claude Reynolds Insurance Agency Inc.
6801 Dixie Hwy Suite 232
Louisville, KY 40258
Phone: 502-933-2255
Fax: 502-933-5057
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