When a property you own is damaged, such as by fire or flood, it can be devastating. Not only can it be hugely costly to repair but it can also cause serious disruption.
That’s why, if you want to minimise the impact it could have on your finances, it’s important to make a claim quickly. Of course, it can sometimes take a while as, depending on the nature of the damage, the process can be quite complicated.
With that in mind, read on for five simple tips that can help you to speed up the process of making a claim.
As soon as you are made aware of an incident you may need to make a claim for, the first thing you should do is contact your insurer to inform them. This means that they have all the necessary information as soon as possible and can help to guide you through the process so that nothing is forgotten or delayed.
Don’t wait for invoices, estimates, or other documentation to arrive before notifying them, because late notification could invalidate your claim. Instead, get in touch with them as soon as possible and keep in contact with them throughout, providing updates and documentation as and when they are available to you.
Even though it’s crucial to get in touch with your insurer before you carry out repair work, emergency situations are an exception. You should do what you need to do to ensure that no further damage will be done by whatever has caused the issue.
So, have the leaking pipe, for example, stopped as soon as possible, and ensure that the problem cannot reoccur before you do anything else.
Once the crisis has been contained, forward the invoices to your insurer, as they will form part of your claim. The key thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t do any work after any emergency repairs at this stage – your insurer will need to approve the next steps before you carry out any further repairs.
Evidence is a key part of any successful claim, so remember to keep an accurate visual log of the damage as you assess your property and begin the process of repairs.
You should take photos or videos of any damage to the property, both cosmetic and structural, as well as any assets that were inside. If you have photographic evidence of the condition they were in prior to the incident, that might prove useful as well.
The more time that passes between the incident and presenting your photos or videos, the less effective they might become as part of your claim. This is because, in the time between the incident and your photos being taken, items may be cleared away or repairs might begin. If this happens, the photos won’t provide an accurate picture of the damage that was done.
So, it can be wise to build a comprehensive photo and video evidence portfolio as soon as you’re able to after the incident.
If the damage that has been done to your property is the result of a crime – for example if you’ve been the victim of theft – it’s important to notify the police as well as your insurer. If necessary, the police will conduct their own investigation.
When you report the crime, make sure you obtain a crime reference number and submit this to your insurer as evidence of your claim. Keep them updated with any new information that you receive from the police, such as a police crime report if this is made available, as this could help them to process your claim more quickly.
Once you have reported the damage to your insurance company, the next step is to organise some quotations from contractors for the repairs needed to your property. Make sure you get at least two quotations for comparable works to enable your insurer to make a fair assessment.
Once you have submitted the quotations to the insurer, they will evaluate the options and notify you of their decision about the next steps. Dependent on costs, they may authorise the repair to be carried out by one of the contractors that you have spoken to already, appoint their own contractor, or appoint a loss adjuster.
A loss adjuster will assess how much compensation is appropriate for your claim if the amount of money involved becomes very significant. They will inspect the property with an expert eye, looking at the damage, determining potential coverage, and analysing the scene.
It can be sensible to be present when the adjuster visits the property to inspect the damage, so you can begin the relationship on the right foot and build a positive rapport for any negotiations.
You can also:
Just be aware that they’re likely to record everything you say and potentially use it as part of your claim process, so you may want to choose your words carefully.
The claims process can be stressful and emotionally draining for many reasons. Working with a broker you trust who can speak to the insurance company on your behalf can relieve some of this pressure.
If you’d like to work with a broker you can trust, please do get in touch with us.
Email email@example.com or call 0207 382 7710 to speak to a member of our team today.
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