The intracacies of filing an insurance claim

Short term insurance policies are guarantees against forking out hefty sums when the worst happens.

July 29, 2013

Short term insurance policies are guarantees against forking out hefty sums when the worst happens, be it a car accident, theft or damage to expensive possessions. However, simple mistakes on the part of the policyholder when filing a claim can sometimes leave them facing a financial loss if they do not follow the correct procedures.

Christelle Fourie, Managing Director of MUA Insurance Acceptances, says there are basic steps that consumers should consider when they file a claim with their insurance provider to ensure they are aware of what is expected from them and how the claims process will be handled.

Know what your are covered for
Consumers should read their insurance policies to understand what they are covered for, as the policy and type of claim may have a big impact on the outcome. It is also important to speak to a broker, who can explain what stipulations the policy may contain prior to filing a claim. The more you know ahead of the claim, the better.

Act quickly
File your claim immediately, while the incident is still fresh in your memory. The claims process can sometimes become lengthy so consumers need to realise that the sooner they get started, the sooner the process of receiving financial settlement can commence. Most insurance policies also require a claim is reported within a certain time period. If you miss this deadline your claim may not be covered.

Pay attention to detail
Take note of everything that happened before and during the incident. It is also advisable to take photographs if applicable, as well as writing down the details to ensure that you are able to provide all of the information needed to your insurance provider. If a third party is involved, make sure you also take down all of their personal information to ensure they can be reached for further discussions.

Don’t admit liability
When you are involved in an accident with another party, don’t admit liability even if you believe you were at fault. Rather take down all the other party’s insurance details, provide them with yours and submit your claim to your own insurance company as quickly as possible.

Involve the police in the event of a traffic accident
Whenever motorists are involved in traffic accidents it is important to phone the nearest police station to report the accident, even if no one was injured in the incident.

Be honest
When determining which party may have been liable for an accident, it is vital for consumers to be completely honest about how it occurred and who they believe is in the wrong. When not at fault, consumers must also remember not to say anything that can be interpreted as an admission of fault, but when you are at fault it is extremely important to be honest.

Whether you have a car accident, your possessions are hit by hail storms or you damage your plasma TV, filing an insurance claim is something most people have to do at some point in their lives. By following the above tips, filing a claim can be a far smoother process and ensures you get the maximum benefit from your insurance policy.