Every business comes with its share of risks, from property damage to litigation threats. Having business insurance is the smart entrepreneur’s move to mitigate such risks, but it’s equally crucial to understand how to file a claim correctly should the need arise. In this blog, we will delve into the steps you should follow to file a business insurance claim successfully and discuss what to do if your claim is denied.
Understanding Your Policy
Before filing a claim, it’s essential to understand the type of coverage your business insurance policy provides. Knowing what’s covered and what’s not can save you unnecessary trouble and disappointment. Policies vary widely, so ensure you read yours thoroughly and consult your insurance provider or broker if you have any doubts.
Step 1: Document the Incident
When an incident occurs, your first move should be to document it. Whether it’s a theft, fire, or any other incident, documentation is crucial. Take photos of any visible damage or evidence. Write a comprehensive account of what happened, including dates, times, people involved, and any other relevant details. This evidence will support your claim and make it more likely for the insurance company to approve it.
Step 2: Notify Your Insurance Company
After documenting the incident, inform your insurance company as soon as possible. Waiting too long may complicate your claim, and in some cases, it could even lead to denial. When notifying your insurer, you’ll need to provide the basic details of the incident. Typically, you’ll do this over the phone or through your insurer’s website.
Step 3: Complete the Claims Form
Your insurance company will provide a claim form, either digitally or in paper format. Complete this form thoroughly, providing all requested information. Here, you’ll detail the incident and the loss incurred. Remember to be as accurate and detailed as possible. This form will be reviewed meticulously by your insurer, so take your time to ensure everything is correct.
Step 4: Compile the Supporting Documentation
Alongside the claims form, you’ll also need to submit your supporting documentation. This includes any photographs you took, written accounts of the incident, witness statements, police reports, and anything else relevant. You may also need to provide estimates for repair or replacement costs, which you can obtain from professional service providers.
Step 5: Cooperate with the Claims Adjuster
Your insurance company will assign a claims adjuster to investigate your claim. They may visit your business to assess the damage and gather more information. It’s crucial to cooperate fully with the adjuster, answer all their questions honestly, and provide any additional information they require. The adjuster plays a key role in determining whether your claim will be approved, so a helpful and transparent approach is beneficial.
What to Do If Your Claim Is Denied
If your business insurance claim is denied, don’t despair. There are several steps you can take to challenge the decision:
Review the denial letter
Your insurer should provide a written explanation for denying your claim. Review this document carefully to understand their reasoning.
Revisit your policy
Go through your insurance policy once again. Compare your claim with your coverage to ensure you haven’t overlooked anything.
Consult a professional
You might want to consult a lawyer or an independent insurance adjuster to review your claim and the insurer’s denial. They can provide valuable advice and possibly help you to dispute the decision.
File an appeal
If you believe your claim was wrongly denied, you can file an appeal with your insurer. This process will vary depending on your insurance company, so you’ll need to contact them for specific instructions. In your appeal, provide all the evidence to counter the reasons for denial mentioned in the insurer’s letter.
Contact a public adjuster
A public adjusting agency, like Harrell Adjusting Services, will work for you and advocate for you to your insurance company. They’ll help you appeal the claim denial and can even push for a larger payout on a claim that was approved but insufficient.
Contact your state insurance department
If your appeal is unsuccessful and you believe you were wrongly denied, consider reaching out to your state’s insurance department. They can guide you on the next steps and, in some cases, might intervene on your behalf.
Put Your Business Back Together with Harrell Adjusting Services
Remember, filing a successful business insurance claim hinges on understanding your coverage, documenting incidents accurately, and cooperating fully with your insurer. Even if your claim is initially denied, there are still avenues to explore. At Harrell Adjusting Services, we’re here to help! We’ll work with you to appeal the insurer’s decision. After all, insurance is there to support your business in times of adversity, and with a methodical and informed approach, you can make it work to your advantage.