How to File an Insurance Claim
To start, we have good news and bad news: The good news is that most insurance claims are fairly straightforward procedures that don’t take very long. The bad news is that how smoothly your insurance claim goes depends largely on how you submit it…and your insurance company may not readily impart information on how to do that in the most advantageous manner. Fortunately, no one knows the behavior of an insurance company in its natural habitat better than personal injury attorneys; and you need look no further for valuable strategies on how to file a viable claim.
7 Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim
1. Document everything.
An insurance company will be more willing to cover injuries when they have evidence that they exist and resulted from the accident. Ergo, you will want to gather as much evidence as you can in the form of photographs, police reports, witness statements, etc. to include in your claim as proof that you require and are entitled to what you are asking for.
2. Familiarize yourself with your policy.
A schoolteacher is more likely to award points to a book report written by someone who has clearly read it; and your claim will be more airtight if you know exactly what your policy should cover. Your insurance policy is a contract, and your claim is a negotiation. Your request will be taken more seriously if it is made within the restraints of the original agreement. Know what you can reasonably ask for, and be clear.
3. See a doctor.
Even when no injury is apparent following an accident, seeing a doctor directly ensures that you will not be unpleasantly surprised later, when it will be easy to pin any symptoms on other factors. These check-ups are covered by many policies (regardless of fault) under Personal Injury Protection coverage to save cost later, so report accidents immediately and have yourself examined within 72 hours.
4. Double-check your data.
Any contradictions on your claim may cause significant delays or even be grounds for outright denial. You will want to make sure that everything is accurate and consistent before sending it off to be misinterpreted or worse. A solid claim is far easier to process and far more difficult to deny. A claim that is riddled with errors is befuddling at least and suspect at worst.
5. Move quickly.
Once you have decided that you want to file a claim, request the proper paperwork at once and turn it in as soon as possible. The sooner you file your claim, the sooner it will be processed, and the more quickly you will be compensated. Furthermore, an insurance claim is not an item to be placed on the back burner and forgotten.
6. Keep track of accident costs.
While you’re waiting for your claim to be processed, keep accident-related receipts in the meantime. If those costs are covered under your policy, and your claim is approved, you will need receipts to claim reimbursement. Like the evidence you gather at the scene of an accident, the ensuing expenses should be tracked meticulously.
7. Follow up.
The last thing you want is to lose out on needed compensation because your insurer loses track or drags his feet through deadlines. It’s all right to request status reports on your claim and even to contact your state’s insurance office if you feel the process is taking too long. Under no circumstances should you simply trust that your claim will be handled as efficiently as possible. It is your responsibility to protect your own interests. The cautions found on this list are not injunctions to demonize your insurer or attempts to stir paranoia. On the contrary, the information here is merely a safeguard to empower the insured against the kinds of setbacks that can derail their claim. As mentioned, there is a good chance that your claim will be handled efficiently and to your satisfaction. For more specific information on avoiding these setbacks request the free Christensen & Hymas 7 Biggest Mistakes booklet by following this link.
Learn your Rights. Get Answers. Free.