Making an insurance claim is not a pleasant experience*. Hours on hold, dragging delays and constant chasing. But let’s face it, it’s the most important part of having insurance. Hopefully you’ll never need to refer to this guide (because if you’re a Macbeth client, we handle it all for you) but if you do ever need to make an insurance claim, here are our secrets to a successful insurance claim – just don’t tell everyone else.
*We know we’re an unusual breed, but we genuinely love handling claims on behalf of clients
1) Early notification can save you thousands
It pays to encourage employees to be speedy. Not speedy drivers of course, but speedy notifiers. When it comes to commercial motor insurance claims, notifying your insurer on the day of the incident can reduce costs by a whopping 45%, especially if you’re at fault. Why the huge difference in costs? Because your insurer can get in first to arrange vehicle hire and a repairer from their own approved list of contractors. But if an ambulance-chasing company gets involved and uses a credit hire company, the insurance claim will go up significantly.
2) Get ahead with documents
Whether you’re making a commercial property claim, a cyber-crime claim or a liability claim, you’ll have to provide certain evidence and documents. Getting these documents prepared and submitted early can speed up your claim.
Here’s a handy checklist of things you’ll almost always be asked for:
- A description of what happened + who you think is at fault
- Relevant evidence – photos, videos, security footage plus any witness details
- Purchase receipts (for missing or damaged items) or estimates for remediation work
3) Don’t admit liability
This advice has been around for a while but the intention is sometimes misunderstood. When you buy insurance, you are essentially transferring your risk to the insurance company. In the event of a claim, your insurer may want to do their own investigation to work out what’s happened but if you admit liability, you are essentially speaking on the insurers behalf without their permission.
So what can you do instead? Simply say “we’ll do an investigation” and contact your insurer or broker. And if you get a letter from the 3rd party, don’t respond directly, refer to your broker’s claims department or insurer and let them deal with it as part of the investigation.
4) Look for grey areas
Insurance policies may be written in black and white but there may occasionally be room for misinterpretation. That’s not to say you should challenge every decision, but a good in-house claims department will be able to spot an opportunity to challenge.
Here’s a recent case in point:
Meet Stuart. Stuart had taken out insurance to cover an office renovation. During the renovation, a water leak caused £147k of damage. Buried deep in the policy was a clause stating that the water must be turned off every night, so the claim was turned down. But when the Macbeth claims team highlighted that this wasn’t clear in the policy (and hidden on page 37) the insurer accepted our dispute and settled in full with an Ex Gratia (voluntary) payment.
5) Don’t be afraid to chase
One of the reasons that we get results so quickly for clients is the hours we spend chasing insurers. As a general rule, you should hear back from your insurer within 7 days of initiating a claim, so if you don’t have a broker doing the chasing for you and you haven’t heard anything, don’t be afraid to make daily calls to your insurer to make sure that your claim is being dealt with. Every insurer will have escalation points too, so if you feel like you’re not making progress, ask to speak to the Claims Manager at your insurer.
Don’t want to waste your time chasing your insurers? Look for a broker that will help you submit a claim, hold your hand throughout the claims process and do the chasing for you.
Ask us about our claims service – it’s free with every policy.