What To Do In the Event of An Insurance Claim

When you deal with an incident that gives rise to an insurance claim, it’s usually a pretty crappy situation. It can be stressful, terrifying, frightening, and alarming in many cases. First things first, try not to panic. Hopefully it’s an incident you carry insurance for to be protected.

Your insurance contract requires that you report all claims promptly. Contact your insurance carrier or broker as possible after a property, liability, worker’s comp or automobile claim. An insurance company claims adjuster will be assigned to handle your claim. You should then be able to deal directly with the adjuster to settle your claim, but your broker can be there with you to assist you along the way.

Here’s step-by-step suggestions on how you should handle property, liability, workers compensation, and auto insurance claims.

Property Claims

In the event of damage to your building or contents:

  1. Protect the property from further damage:
    • Call the proper authorities and utilities (gas, electric, telephone).
    • Take photos of the damage before having emergency repairs made, such as boarding up windows or covering holes in the roof.
  2. Call your insurance broker or carrier to report the loss.
  3. Call a contractor to estimate the building damages.
  4. Separate damaged contents from undamaged contents. Do not discard any items until the claims adjuster gives you the authority to do so.
  5. Keep records of expenses if you are forced to temporarily relocate your business.
  6. Do not authorize repairs until the claims adjuster has given you the authority to do so.

After the claim is reported to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:

  1. Contact you by phone or mail to discuss the loss
  2. Arrange for an appraiser to inspect extensively damaged property
  3. Assist you with your choice of contractors to make the repairs
  4. Contact you for a settlement

Liability Claims

In the event of injuries or damage to property of others which you allegedly caused:

  1. Call your insurance broker or carrier to report the claim.
  2. Forward any correspondence, including a summons from an attorney representing the other party.
  3. Do not discuss the claim with the other party or their attorney. Refer them to your insurance company’s claims adjuster or to us.

After the claim is reported to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:

  1. Contact you to discuss the incident that allegedly caused the injury or damage to the property
  2. Deal directly with the other party and/or attorney to handle the claim

Workers’ Compensation Claims

In the event an employee is injured on the job:

  1. Complete the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Disease form for all claims. Either use the “call in” reporting system or fax the original form to the insurance company.
  2. Forward a copy of the First Report to your broker in the event of a disabling injury or death claim. They should follow-up with the insurance company for their prompt handling of the claim.
  3. Contact the insurance company to question the status of a claim. If you experience delays or have questions, contact your broker for assistance.

After you report the claim to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:

  1. Contact the injured employee to discuss the accident
  2. Request copies of bills and doctors’ reports for medical treatment administered
  3. Contact you, the employer, if there is any lost time from work as a result of the injury

Auto Insurance Claims

In the event of an automobile accident:

  1. Report the accident to the police.
  2. Obtain information about the other people involved in the accident such as:
    1. Names, addresses and phone numbers
    2. Insurance company
    3. Type of vehicle
    4. Auto and driver’s license numbers.
  3. Have your vehicle towed to the nearest repair shop if the vehicle is not drivable. Do not authorize repairs until the claims adjuster gives you the authority to do so.
  4. Call your insurance broker or carrier to report the accident.

In the event of a windshield, vandalism or theft loss:

  1. Report the vandalism loss or theft to the police.
  2. Call us to report a loss.

After the claim is reported to the insurance company, the claims adjuster will:

  1. Contact you to request details of the accident and repair estimates
  2. Arrange for an appraiser to inspect the damages of vehicles that are not drivable or extensively damaged
    1. Contact you for a settlement
    2. Deal directly with the others involved in the accident

You should not talk to others involved in the accident, but refer them to your claims adjuster.

-JK

Source: Zywave, Inc.

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About Jim Kinmartin - Business Insurance & Risk Management Broker

Jim is a California licensed Property & Casualty AND Accident & Health insurance agent working at the ISU - Olson Duncan Insurance brokerage in Torrance, CA. He grew up in Fullerton, CA and graduated from Servite High School in Anaheim and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and currently lives in Long Beach, CA. Have questions? Just ask! Or, follow Jim on Twitter at @JimKinmartin

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