The sole purpose for buying insurance is to protect you in the event that something happens to the valuable things that you own such as home, auto, and your personal belongings. Since each individual policy is based on purchase price and other factors depending on what you are insuring, it is important to know what types of coverages you have and what deductible you will pay in case you need to file a claim. Insurance policies are loaded with fine print and clauses that most people don’t read or understand. It’s a good idea to become familiar with what your policy does and does not cover. There are insurance riders that can be added to the policy for additional protection if you are not already covered. You can contact your agent to learn more about the details of your policy.
Filing a claim is part of the long process of dealing with the loss of insured property, damage to property, or injuries sustained. Prior to filing any claim keep in mind that the more claims filed, whether it is a moderate repair or a complete loss, could in some way affect the premiums that you pay for your home and auto insurance.
When considering filing a claim for minor damages in the home, or as a result of an auto incident that required minimal repairs, it might be more sensible to make the repairs yourself and avoid filing the claim especially if the estimate for damages is only slightly higher the deductible. Typically claims filed that are not your fault, such as damage from a storm, theft, hail, or an auto collision should not affect your rates and should be filed as soon as possible. The longer it is delayed, the more damage could occur and the less likely your insurance company is to cover the full cost of all of the damages incurred.
Contacting your agent for advice on certain claims will help you to avoid a hike in your rates and perhaps prevent you from losing coverage due to an excessive amount of claims filed within your policy terms.
What is Important to Consider When Contemplating Filing an Insurance Claim:
- Could it have been prevented –Were there existing problems that went unresolved (pipes, cracks in cement, roof repairs)
- Water Damage – Mold Issues
- Do you have prior claims for similar issues
- Estimate the damages/know your deductible
- Were you at fault – Other vehicles involved
- Do you have other auto claims/prior moving violations
- Estimate the cost of damages/know your deductible
- Bodily Injury
What to do to Begin the Process of Filing:
- Report in a timely manner as coverage is contingent on timely reporting
- Get the information needed such as other Drivers names, Addresses, and phone numbers, vehicle makes/models, license plates of other vehicles, names of witnesses if any, policy numbers, etc.
- Prevent further damage with minor repairs when necessary
- Take Pictures of damages if at all possible
- Assess the cost of damages, get a repair estimates