How To Report A Loss Or and Insurance Claims

Insurance is purchased in case there are claims. Sometimes the first step in the claims process gets off on the wrong foot. Don’t let that happen.

Property Claims – Events should be reported promptly once you know you have suffered a significant property loss. I suggest not reporting small losses – losses you can pay for yourself without too much pain. Stuff happens in life. Insurance is for the big stuff. When you use insurance to pay for the small stuff, you end up swapping dollars with your insurer – plus an admin fee!

Auto Accidents – Report the accident immediately if someone is hurt or there’s damage to property owned by someone else. If the damage is just to your car (you back into your garage door like my mother did), you might consider ignoring the damage or paying for the repair yourself. (At this point insurance people reading this are screaming at their computer screen.) My son decided the drive-thru lane at a local fast food place was too narrow. He tried to widen it. Score: Drive-Thru 1, My car -$1,200. We paid the $1,200 realizing that our insurance costs would increase had we reported the accident to our insurer ($1,000 deductible).

Slip & Fall Injuries – Report the accident to your insurance agent ASAP. More importantly, gather info on the event. Take pictures. Video the aftermath. Get statements from witnesses. Interview employees on the scene. Record the exact time and the weather at the time of the accident.

Build a claim reporting process. Most of your insurance policies, when delivered, will include info on how to report a claim. Of course your agent can help too.

I suggest that claim reporting info be included in your disaster plan. Key people should be able to access the claim hotlines for your property, liability and auto insurers without thumbing through your insurance policies.