No business owner or company leader ever wants to have to file an insurance claim. But this is the real world, and sometimes accidents happen. When they do, it's important to know how to properly file a claim so you not only get the coverage you need but avoid any costly mistakes in the process.
In this article, we'll take you step-by-step through the process of filing a business insurance claim. We'll also discuss what to expect during each stage so the only surprise is just how painless the process can be. Let’s begin.
HOW TO FILE A BUSINESS INSURANCE CLAIM
Filing a claim can seem like a daunting task at first, so if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to submit one, it's good to know there are certain things you can do to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
By following these three simple steps, you'll have your business insurance claim successfully filed in no time!
1. Gather all the facts
As you start the claims process it’s important to understand exactly what happened, because the carrier and adjuster will want detailed accounts of the event and circumstances leading up to it. During this potentially stressful time, it will make your life much easier to have the facts clearly documented.
As quickly as possible, collect and document all the pertinent information. It’s important not to wait too long to collect this information, as it’s best to contact your carrier as soon as possible.
2. Report the claim to your carrier
In a claims situation, people often think of reaching out to their insurance agent right away. While it is important to keep your agent informed, the most efficient way to get your claim started is by contacting the Insurance Carrier directly. After all, the sooner you submit your claim, the sooner you'll get the reimbursement you’re owed.
The best way to get your claim started is by visiting your insurance carrier’s website and going through their claims process. Many offer a convenient online method, but also provide an 800 number to call if you prefer to speak to someone one-on-one.
Whether you do it online or over the phone, you will be walked through the claims intake process. Be prepared to provide detailed information because your insurance company will need to know all the details about what happened and when they happened to properly assess your claim. Once your claim has been submitted, an adjuster will typically reach out to you within 24-48 hours.
3. Inform your insurance agent
Once your claim has been started, it’s now time to inform your insurance agent. In addition to answering any questions, they’ll be able to explain your coverage and properly set expectations for what’s to come. Additionally, if your claim has any complexity or nuance, they will be able to work with the carrier or provide useful advice and guidance.
4. Collect all necessary documentation
While you’re waiting for the adjuster to contact you is a great time to start collecting all the paperwork you will need. This includes things like receipts, invoices, contracts, and any other documentation that will help support your claim. If you don't hear back from your insurance company within a reasonable amount of time, give them a courtesy call to check on the status of your claim.
You never know when you may need to access these documents for a follow-up or future claim, so store copies in a safe and organized place. We also recommend keeping track of all correspondence with your insurance company, broker, and any other involved parties. This includes any emails, letters, and phone call recordings.
5. Work with the claims adjuster
When the adjuster contacts you, they’ll want to go through the facts and have you answer any outstanding questions they have about the situation. Try to answer them as clearly and thoroughly as possible so as not to leave out any important details. The adjuster will also ask if you have an estimate. In certain situations, they will inform you that an appraiser will be visiting to assess the damage.
6. Claims resolution
The final step is for the insurance carrier to review your loss estimate and let you know if it’s approved or denied. Before you sign or agree to anything, make sure you get a copy in writing for your records. It’s important to know that once you accept the insurance settlement, you may be waiving your right to any further compensation.
If you are awarded compensation, the adjuster will work with you to determine how and where the money is distributed. Payment can be super flexible. Often this distribution is sent directly to an auto body shop, contractor, or to you directly.
There is, however, a possibility your claim is denied. This could happen for any number of reasons but is often because the carrier has determined the insurance contract excludes your specific situation. If your claim is denied, the insurance carrier is required to provide documentation clearly explaining their decision.
We understand these can be very frustrating situations. If you’re working with a good agent, they should be able to explain the carrier’s reasoning. If you’re working with a great agent, they may speak directly with the carrier to negotiate on your behalf.
WHY WORK DIRECTLY WITH THE CARRIER?
After building trust with an agent, some people wonder why they must work with the carrier at all. Technically, you could hire an attorney or a broker, or have your insurance agent handle your claim, but that adds additional steps and costs and will slow down the resolution.
Since you purchased the insurance coverage from—and will be reimbursed by—the carrier, it’s most efficient to work directly with them. Your agent can provide professional insight and support, but they do not have the authority to approve or deny any claims.
LET CHRISTENSEN GROUP BE YOUR CLAIMS ADVOCATE
Insurance claims can be complex and time-consuming, so it's important to manage your expectations throughout the process. A good insurance agent will be able to help you set reasonable expectations and timelines from the start.
If you run into any issues filing your claim or something doesn’t seem quite right, the business insurance experts at Christensen group are more than happy to clear up any confusion and help walk you through the process.
At Christensen Group, we understand that supporting you when it’s time to make a claim is just as much about setting honest expectations as it is about advocating for your coverage. We do both candidly so you can trust that you got the best possible outcome in an unfortunate situation.