Tips for Filing an Incident Claim With Your Insurance Agent

Written by , April 11, 2013

Tips for Filing an Incident Claim With Your Insurance AgentWe buy many different types of insurance to protect ourselves and our families. We insure our health, our automobiles, our homes, and even our lives. And we hope that we never suffer any type of loss that requires us to make a claim against one of those insurance policies.

But accidents do happen, and it’s unlikely that you’ll go through life never having to make an insurance claim. When the circumstances do arise, it’s important to know what to expect from the insurance claims process so that you’ll be comfortable while going through it.

Here are some tips for filing a claim with your insurance agent.

  • Know Your Policy. Make sure you know what’s covered by your policy. Sometimes the answer to whether a particular type of claim won’t be entirely clear to you just by reading your policy, so call your insurance company for help interpreting it. The more you know before any potential claim, the better.
  • Be Prompt. Don’t wait to file a claim. The claims process can be a lengthy one, so the sooner you get started the sooner you’ll be able to receive any financial reimbursement you’re owed. Furthermore, the longer you wait to file the claim, the less you may remember about the incident giving rise to the claim. Finally, some types of insurance claims (most notably automobile accidents) are required by state law to proceed within certain timeframes, and if you don’t make yourself part of the process early enough you could be held financially liable even if you weren’t at fault.
  • Be Detailed. This step actually starts immediately after the accident. Take note of everything that happened immediately before and during the accident. You might wish to write down your thoughts, and take photographs of the scene of the accident if you are able. This lets you provide the most information to your insurance company.
  • Call the Police. If your claim arises from a traffic accident, it’s important to call the police to report it even if there are no injuries. An officer on the scene will take statements from everyone involved, and file a report that could prove essential to the determinations of fault and liability that will be made.
  • Don’t Admit Liability, but Be Honest. Many people are too quick with an “I’m sorry…” or “I shouldn’t have done that…” after an automobile accident because they don’t want the situation to become confrontational. Unfortunately, even casual remarks can later become important in determining which party was liable. Don’t say anything that could be interpreted as an admission of fault, although you must also be honest about what happened.
  • Be Prepared. The more information you can give your agent, the better. If your claim relates to damage to your home or its contents, you should be prepared to give your agent information about everything that was damaged or lost. You can be prepared by taking an inventory of the major items in your home, making a list and taking photographs, then storing this information someplace safe (perhaps in a fireproof box within your home). Having this information readily available can speed the claims process.
  • The insurance claims process is rarely an enjoyable one, but by understanding more about it you can make sure things go as smoothly and quickly as possible.

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