There are not many services that you buy, where you grudge paying and, even worse, you hope that you never have to use it.
Business and commercial insurance is a prime example. However, when you do have a claim you want to make sure that your policy is fit for purpose and delivers for you. If you are careful in selecting your policy and use an independent business insurance broker, you should find that everything runs smoothly. There are of course delays in every claim because insurers are entitled to investigate certain aspects.
To try and speed things up, there are certain things that you should do. All of these are based around early notification and giving the insurers as much information as possible. Of course, the insurers need to pull their fingers out, but the more help and information you give them, and the earlier you can do this, the less of an excuse they may have for taking time.
Firstly, check your policy to see if you have cover. You may have a restricted policy, for example a shop insurance cover that doesn’t include glass. There is no point in claiming for something you do not need. There may be a case though to go back to your insurers and asking them why you do not have this cover.
Two, check your excess. If the likely damage is within your excess, which is usually £100 or £250, depending on the cover and insurers, then it is not worth claiming. You do however need to notify your insurer of all claims or losses, whether insured or not. So even if you are not pursuing a formal claim, as you have suffered a loss, you need to tell your insurer.
Three, take as many photographs as possible. Most mobile phones have camera nowadays, take as many pictures as you can, before any clean up is undertaken. This way you can demonstrate to the insurers or loss adjusters (if appointed) the extent of the loss.
Four, ask for a claim form. Speak to your insurance broker and ask them to get you a claim form sent first class. Don’t have this emailed, a hard copy is much easier to complete than having to print off an email. Unless of course you have a printer that you can use. When sending off a claim form to your insurer, make sure that you either take a copy or ask them to forward you a copy. This should be done for free.
Five, if you have had a break in, theft or malicious damage, notify the policy. Most business insurance policies do include a condition saying that you have to notify the police (and get a crime reference number) within 7 days of the date of the loss. The police do not have to visit you in the 7 days, but you have to be able to prove that you have notified them.
Six, always, always get your policy from an independent business insurance broker. This cannot be stressed enough and in the event of a claim you will realize why it is better to deal through a broker than but your insurance from a company you have never heard of from a website that offers no ability to support you through the claims process.
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