The magic formula for claiming on household insurance

LAST UPDATED: 21 Aug, 2014 @ 10:08
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The magic formula for claiming on household insurance

FIRST things first. Check your policy to see whether you are covered. If in any doubt, call your broker as soon as possible to confirm.

Pre-claim considerations:
1. Does your policy have an excess? If so, remember you will only be entitled to claim for sums greater than the excess.
2. If the claim is for a small amount, you should consider the impact it could have on the price of future renewals. This will depend on how many claims you have made in the past, and whether you maintain other policies with the insurer. Insurance companies are used to paying claims, but get worried when they detect claims frequency. If in doubt, contact your broker.

Communicating the claim:
Having established that you are covered, inform your broker as soon as possible. Failure to do so may jeopardise your claim. If it’s a weekend or national holiday, your policy document should contain a 24/7 emergency assistance number to call. Make sure you let the broker know once they are open again.

What to expect:
Depending on the nature of the claim, the insurer may send a loss adjuster to inspect the damage, or a tradesman to carry out necessary repairs.

What should I do?

Generally, following a loss, it is always good advice to minimise the extent of your claim. You should carry out any urgent and necessary repairs to limit the damage – your broker will advise on the best approach.

Photographs showing the damage can also be very useful. It is also of vital importance that you don’t throw away any damaged items until the insurance company has had an opportunity to inspect them.

For any burglary losses, you will need a police report detailing the circumstances and listing the stolen items and their values. If you later discover that other items are missing, which is quite common after undergoing the trauma of a burglary, you should return to the police and make a supplementary report to accompany the original.

As soon as you can, try to establish the amount of money you will need to put things right, carry out necessary repairs and replace items. Your broker can do a much better job of defending your interests if your expectations are understood early on in the claims process.

Be prepared!
A claim always runs smoother if in the sums insured are correct at the outset, with objects of particular value notified to insurers. To be able to properly document losses with purchase invoices, photographs, repair estimates etc. also helps ‘oil the wheels’.

If you are in doubt as to whether you are sufficiently insured, please contact info@opdebeeck-worth.com.

How to complain:

  • If you are dissatisfied with what the insurance company offers, discuss this with your broker and provide him with documentation or evidence to explain why. This will help him to negotiate on your behalf.
  • If this doesn’t work, then your broker will need to make a formal complaint to the insurance company’s customer services department, which must respond in writing within two months.
  • If all else fails, a formal complaint may be made to the Direccion General de Seguros & Fondos de Pensiones, the regulatory authority in Spain which deals with such complaints.
  • In addition to the above, it may be necessary to engage the services of an independent loss adjuster who can prepare a report challenging the insurance company’s decision.
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