What to Consider When Filing an Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim can be one of the most frustrating processes during a peril or following a major accident. In the event that a claim is accepted, the insurance company will make a payment to the insured or to a recognized interested party on their behalf.
Insurance claims cover everything from routine and extensive medical exams to death benefits on life insurance, health insurance, property damage, and auto insurance.
In other words, there are many reasons why policyholders file claims: Either their property has been damaged, they have been hurt, or another event listed in the policy contract that would result in a payout has otherwise taken place.
Unfortunately, even when claims are valid, insurance companies still look for ways to deny claims. That's why at Voss Law Firm here in Texas, we fight for you till you get every benefit you deserve. And it all starts by reaching out to us at 1-888-614-7730 today.
Now, before we take a look at things to consider when filing an insurance claim, let's quickly explain how an insurance claim works.
How Does an Insurance Claim Work?
Many factors dictate what your claims process will look like. It could involve sending documents, getting in touch with customer service, using the business app, or a combination of these things. A paid insurance claim serves to compensate a policyholder against financial loss.
An individual or group must pay a premium in order for an insurance contract between an insured party and an insurance carrier to be completed. Medical supplies and services, bodily injury, property damage, fatalities, liability for home ownership (homeowners, landlords, and renters), and liability for operating a vehicle are the most common types of insurance claims.
Regardless of the severity of an accident or who was at fault, the number of insurance claims you file directly affects the cost you pay to obtain coverage, which is typically done through periodic payments called insurance premiums. A rate increase is more likely if a policyholder files more claims than the average. In some cases, it’s possible that if you file too many claims, the insurance company may decide to deny you coverage.
Your rates will almost certainly increase if the claim is made based on the property damage that you are alleged to have caused.
On the other hand, if you are not at fault, your rates may or may not increase. For instance, it is obvious that an incident that results in a car being hit from behind while it is parked or a house's sliding roof being torn off during a storm was not the policyholder's fault.
Even if your most recent claim was for damage you did not cause, mitigating factors such as your claim history, the number of speeding tickets you've received, the frequency of natural disasters in your area (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods), and even a poor credit score can result in higher insurance rates.
When it comes to insurance rate increases, not all claims are created equal. Mold, water damage, dog bites, and slip-and-fall injury claims can all be indicators of future liability for an insurer. These things typically have a negative effect on your rates and the willingness of your insurer to keep offering coverage.
Surprisingly, speeding tickets may not cause a rate hike at all. Many businesses won't raise your rates if you get your first speeding ticket, at least not immediately. The same is true if there is only a minor car accident or a small homeowner's insurance claim.
However, before an insurance company pays your claim, a claims adjuster will review what happened and estimate the claim payment. The claims adjuster works for the insurance company paying the claim. They inspect property damage to determine how much the company should pay for the loss. They decide whether an insurance company must pay a claim and, if so, how much.
Filing a claim during a crisis or after a major disaster can be one of the most painful processes. If you need to make a claim and contact your insurer as soon as possible, you need to be prepared with the right information. Here are a few things to consider when filing an insurance claim:
1. Your Policy
Before filing an insurance claim, you should read and understand what your policy says. An insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company. Understand what it entails, what it does not cover, and the deductibles. If your insurance claim was denied, first review your policy to find out why. Read it carefully from beginning to end, starting at the beginning.
2. Terms and Conditions
Understanding the terms and conditions of your insurance claim is just as important as understanding the details of your policy. Merely knowing the inclusions isn’t enough. If the condition for which you are requesting a claim is excluded under the policy's terms and conditions, your claim request will be denied.
3. Proper Communication
Ensure proper communication with the insurance company. Nearly all claims differ in some way. In some cases, there may be issues that make the insurance company's current procedure challenging to follow.
Consequently, two-way communication is crucial. You can help by communicating with the insurance company ahead of time and being patient with their response. Also, answer all of their questions honestly and follow through on the claim settlement process.
4. Detailed Information
Facts such as the date and location of the loss, the property involved in the loss, witness information and statements, the parties involved, pictures, and so on should always be included in the initial claims notice.
Your insurance company should be able to provide you with a claim report form. The more information in the initial notice, the less information the claims adjuster will need to request or dig for later. Also, if the information is handwritten, make sure it is legible.
Before filing an insurance claim, you must manage your insurance actively so that you’re covered all the time. An expired policy is considered inactive, and no insurance company will settle a claim filed under an expired policy.
6. Correct Nominee Details
It is important that the nominee details are correct and updated, to ensure that the insurer knows to whom to make the payment. This is to ensure that the payment is made to the right person and that there’s no failure on the part of the insurance company to make the payout to the correct beneficiary.
7. Include Copies of All Paperwork
You’ll need to include copies of all paperwork that’ll help your claim, including receipts or medical certificates. You should also keep copies of the originals in case your claim is questioned or refused.
Need Help Resolving a Claim?
If you have suffered damage or loss after a storm in your Texas home and are being treated unfairly by the insurance company, contact an experienced insurance claim attorney to protect your legal rights and help maximize your claim. To learn more, contact The Voss Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation by using our contact form or by calling our office at 888-614-7730. The Voss Law Firm, P.C. has been protecting policyholder’s rights for the past sixteen years, recovering billions of dollars in settlements for our clients. We do not charge a fee unless we win your case.