For most people, the world of insurance is complicated and daunting. Minor details and overlooked information can easily slip through the cracks and can affect your ability to receive the funds you need for you, your home, or your car after an accident. Make sure you avoid these six mistakes when filing an insurance claim.
The Cliff Notes: Key Takeaways From This Post
We laid out a guide to avoid mistakes when filing an insurance claim; however, here are the key bullet points if you are in a rush:
- Notifying insurers immediately is critical to avoiding questions on severity of problem.
- Submitting complete paperwork is necessary for a successful claim.
- Filing police reports and seeking medical attention helps provide evidence for the claim and can be helpful in appealing the case later.
- Responding to insurance companies’ follow-up questions accurately and promptly helps streamline the process.
- Reading your policy can help you understand what is covered and submit an accurate claim.
- Questioning company estimates can help ensure that an equitable amount is awarded.
- Consulting a lawyer if dissatisfied with the insurance company’s decision may be beneficial.
Not Notifying Your Insurer Immediately
Waiting a few days to submit your insurance claim can significantly impact your case in a negative way. If you are filing a claim for an injury or for damage after an accident, the insurance company can question the source or the severity of the problem. For example, if you are in a car accident but wait a few days to contact your insurer, your car must not be in as bad condition as you claim. The insurer also might wonder if the car problems came from the accident at all.
The sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can erase all doubt about the source of the problems and the more details you will be able to include.
Submitting Incomplete Paperwork
If you want your insurance claim to grind to a halt, submit incomplete paperwork. Your claim might be rejected right on the spot or your insurer might send it back to be reviewed and updated. Just because you should submit a claim quickly doesn’t mean you should submit it incorrectly. Carefully review the information that is requested and complete every field to the best of your ability.
Failure to File a Police or Medical Report
Documentation is essential in the wake of an accident. In the same way that waiting to contact your insurance company sends a message that the issue isn’t significant, failing to file a police report or not visiting the doctor also raises red flags for your insurer. If the accident was bad, why didn’t you call the police or seek immediate medical care? Your insurer might delay the approval process or give you less than you need due to a perceived lack of severity.
On another note, filing these reports create a paper trail with detailed documentation of the accident. This could help you appeal a claim in the future.
Refusing to Respond to Your Insurance Company
If your insurance company asks follow-up questions or needs additional information to approve your claim, don’t ignore them. This will just draw out the process and make your insurer think that you are difficult to work with. Some people stop responding to their insurance provider because they don’t know what to say or think their claim will be denied. Work confidently with your insurer to show how important this claim is important to you.
Not Reading Your Policy
While insurance policies and coverage are complicated, it is important to understand what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. Too often, people try to file claims for coverage they don’t have or at levels that aren’t included in their policies. Reading your policy and understanding what is covered is the best way to know that your claim is accurate, complete, and within the insurer’s expectations.
Not Questioning the Company’s Estimate
Remember, it is in the insurance company’s best interest to give you the lowest amount possible. If they can pay you less and you will accept it, they can save money. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your insurer will low-ball you, but it does mean that you should question the amount they decide to award you.
Consult with a lawyer if you think your insurance company is being unfair – whether they are refusing to approve your claim or failing to give you the amount you need. The team of Herman and Wells specializes in insurance claims and disputes. You may not fully understand the insurance industry, but we do. Reach out today for a free consultation on your case.