Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim

Posted on Monday 20 August 2012

Carrying insurance is fundamental nowadays. You never know when something is going to happen that causes damage and/or requires money to solve a problem. Having an insurance policy in place provides the peace of mind you need to get on with your life. Once something does happen, and you need to use your insurance coverage, there is a process involved in order to receive payment from your carrier. Following are a few tips for filing an insurance claim.

Know Who to Contact

When you need to file an insurance claim, the first thing you’ll have to do is contact your provider. In order to save the hassle of trying to find the telephone number of your insurance company, it would be a good idea to keep that information in a place you can access quickly. Set aside a drawer or file cabinet in your home and keep all your important information in one place. That way you can simply go to that place and find the telephone number you need right away. Of course, it would be a good idea to keep copies of all your important information in another place, preferably outside the home or on your smart phone or laptop, in case of a fire.

Keep a Record

In order to file an insurance claim, you’ll need to have all pertinent information available when you contact the company. You should keep a log of all the times and methods that you use to contact the insurance company, just in case there’s a dispute later on. You should also have proof of the item in question, such as photographic or video graphic evidence that you actually owned the item and that it was in good shape prior to whatever incident caused the damage. The more detailed proof you have, the quicker you’ll be able to receive compensation from the insurance company.

Read the Policy

Before you contact the insurance company and begin the process of filing a claim, it would be a good idea to read through your policy. In that way, you will be able to familiarize yourself with what’s contained in the policy and find out for sure whether or not the item in question is covered and to what extent.

Deductibles

As you’re reading your policy, take note of how much your deductible is going to be. Because your insurance carrier might not pay you anything on the claim until the deductible is paid, you should make arrangements to have that amount on hand before filing the claim. If you don’t have enough money to pay the deductible, you may have to borrow it from a family member or a lending institution. Without that money, your insurance company may not be able to satisfy your claim.

Assess the Damage

Before you contact the insurance company, it may be a good idea to get an independent assessment of the damage. If whatever is in need of repair is only slightly more than your deductible, you may be better off footing the bill yourself rather than file a claim, because insurance rates may increase if you do file.

File Promptly

Once you decide that the damage surpasses the amount of your deductible to the extent that filing a claim is worthwhile, don’t put off doing so. Filing a claim promptly will speed up the process. It will also alleviate the problem of exceeding the filing deadline, if there is one–many insurance policies have a limit on the number of days after an event that you are allowed to file a claim.

Keep Track of Claims Documents

As soon as you contact your insurance company and let them know you want to file a claim, you will be given a claim number. Keep track of all the documents you receive in connection with filing your claim. When you need to contact the insurance company regarding the claim, you’ll be asked for the claim number. Also, write down the name of the employee who will be handling your claim, so you’ll know who within the company to ask for when you require information regarding the claim.

Follow Directions Implicitly

When dealing with your insurance company, make every effort to follow their directions implicitly. The easier you make it for them to do their job, the quicker you’ll receive adequate reimbursement for the damage, and the fewer headaches you’ll have to endure during the claims filing process.

Guest post from Riley Finnigan.

savvy @ 8:00 AM
Filed under: General Finances
House Insurance Tips for Families

Posted on Wednesday 1 August 2012

Making all your monthly payments can be difficult, especially if you have a family to take care of. It seems like every time you turn around, someone needs money for something. That is why it is so important to get the best deal available on costs you can control, such as your house insurance. Here are a few tips to help you save.

Shop Around

Not every homeowner has a family to take care of, but everyone should shop around before choosing their home insurance policy. It would be easy to just use the first company in the phone book, but chances are you will not be getting the best deal out there. It is going to take a little bit of effort and time to find the right company for you, but it will be well worth it in the end. There are a few different ways for you to shop around, and perhaps the most efficient way would be to use the internet. The internet makes it easy to shop and compare prices at a much faster rate by offering sites where you can compare multiple companies on one page.

Raise Your Deductible

If you have a good amount of emergency money set aside, raising your deductible may not be a bad idea. Increasing your deductible can significantly reduce the amount of your monthly payments. The deductible is the amount of money that you would pay in the event that you have to file a claim. For example, if there is a small fire, and you have a deductible of $500, you would have to pay $500 towards the damage before your insurance company would pay for anything.

Bundle It Up

Purchasing your home insurance from the same company that covers your auto insurance can save you some money. All companies are different. However, you may be able to get a multi-policy discount from your company.

Discounts

Insurance companies are goldmines for discounts; you just have to find ones that you can qualify for. Talk with your agent to find out what discounts you may qualify for, or what things you can do to be eligible for more discounts. Improving your home’s security or preparing for disasters that occur in your area may get you a discount. Putting up fire resistant siding, installing storm windows, reinforcing your garage door, and reinforcing your home for an earthquake are a few other things that may qualify you for a discount. The key is preparing for things that occur in your area. Don’t count on receiving a discount for reinforcing your home for an earthquake if you live in an area where earthquakes do not typically occur.

Before You Buy

If you are in the market for a new home, don’t forget about your insurance payment. You can get an estimate on how much it will be before you purchase the home to make sure that you will be able to afford it. Also, keep in mind that in certain areas, different types of homes are going to cost less to be insured. For example, if you live in an area where strong winds are prevalent, you should keep an eye out for a brick house.

Limit Your Claims

Just because you have home insurance, doesn’t mean that you have to file a claim for everything that happens. Try to limit the number of claims you file, or you may end up paying much higher premiums than you are comfortable with. Take care of small issues yourself; it will be worth it in the end.

Other Things You Can Do

Making your home as safe as it can be could help to save the lives of your family members; it may also result in a few discounts. Install fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home, and make sure that you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Once you have these things installed, don’t forget about them. It may be difficult to forget to replace the batteries on your fire alarms since they usually make a loud annoying noise when the batteries are low, but check them once a month just to be safe. If you’ve got a fire extinguisher you should have someone come to inspect it once a year as well. Be sure to let your insurance agent know of any upgrades you get done to your home–this includes your fire alarms.

Guest post from Marley Lane. Marley writes for HouseInsurance.com.

savvy @ 8:00 AM
Filed under: General Finances