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Nailing the claims process

What to do when things go wrong - key steps in making an insurance claim

Running a business is a tough gig but it’s worth it when you see your business growing, healthy profit sheets and happy customers. It’s natural you want to protect all that, which is why you have business insurance in place. It’s a safety net for when things go wrong and peace of mind you’ll get your business back on track as quick as possible. And while no one likes to stress over hypothetical ‘What ifs’, knowing exactly what to do in the event of an accident or crime can make all the difference to ensuring a smooth insurance claim process.

A checklist will smooth the way

Once you have the correct business insurance policy in place, it’s worth taking the time to make a checklist of all the things you will need to do in the event of a claim – before it happens. By thinking about these things beforehand – and away from any emotional stress caused by an accident or crime – you are more likely to remember all the important steps you will need to take.

  1. Check your insurance policy documents to find out what you’re covered for and any terms and conditions.
  2. Keep an up-to-date inventory of all of your business property so you have a point of reference when you are determining what has been damaged, lost or stolen. Include details such as brand, model, serial numbers and date of purchase (include receipts if possible). Make a point of telling your insurer that any list you submit is ongoing in case you discover new losses or damage after the claim period has run out.
  3. In the event of any loss or damage caused by thieves or vandals, call the police immediately and get a crime reference number. You will need to give this to your insurance company.
  4. Take all reasonable measures to prevent further loss or damage and recover lost property.
  5. Take photos and/or videos of any damage.
  6. Contact your insurance company quickly. Make sure you have your policy number and any other relevant information to hand.
  7. Don’t discuss, admit, deny, negotiate, pay or settle any claim before speaking to your insurer.
  8. Keep all important documents relating to your insurance policy in a safe, secure and accessible place. This includes details of revenue for business interruption purposes. Bear in mind that if your business premises suffers fire or flood damage, it could mean you lose hard copies of these important documents. You may want to consider keeping these files secure in the Cloud.
  9. Create a written log as soon as you file a claim. Include details of the incident i.e. who, what, where, when etc, as well as names of claims personnel and summaries of conversations. A comprehensive paper trail will help back-up your version of events throughout the entire claims process.
  10. In the event of a large claim, you may want to employ the services of a Loss Assessor. You can discuss this with your insurer and work with them to help gather all the facts for a final settlement to be reached. Remember, it’s your legal duty, as well as in your best interests, to be honest with all insurance professionals involved in your claim.

These steps are for guidance purposes only but give you a good idea of how you can plan ahead and prepare for a stress-free claim process. Your business will stand a better chance of getting back on track quickly, which will mean happy customers and a happier you.