This year, for the first time, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) published industry-wide claims figures, following analysis of claims made during 2013 and 2014. Results showed a proportion of claims were unsuccessful due to the complexity of policies and the lack of knowledge policyholders have around the process of making a claim.
In the unfortunate event that you need to call your insurance company to make a claim, there are a number of things you need to know to save time and effort. Following these 10 tips will help to make your claims experience as easy and stress-free as possible.
- Keep good records. Being prepared for the unexpected is always the best way to deal with a claim. Collecting documentary evidence, such as receipts of insured items, will make the claims process smoother and quicker.
- Keep your documents safe. It’s always a good idea to have a copy of your insurance policy documents with you or keep them somewhere safe that you can easily find them. Knowing your policy number or your insurance company’s telephone number can be very useful, too.
- Check your policy. Before you call your insurance company, make sure you're covered for whatever has happened. Check your policy excess and any additional cover options you may have as part of your policy. Sometimes you might be covered for things you didn’t realise.
- Take photos. You can use your phone or a camera. Whatever it is, pictures can be valuable when you need to prove the damage to your car or in your home and confirm your details of the claim. Plus, photos can help you remember the events if you need to speak with your insurance company weeks later.
- Contact your insurance company ASAP. Whether it’s a car accident or a burst pipe, try to get in touch with your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Contact the police when necessary. A car accident or a claim for loss or malicious damage should be reported to the police before doing anything else. If it’s a burglary, the police will issue you with a crime reference number which you'll need when you contact your home insurance company. If you've been involved in a car incident and there are any injuries, make sure you report the accident to the police within 24 hours, and collect all the other drivers’ details if they weren’t given at the scene.
- Take notes. Write down the time and the date of the accident or incident, exactly what happened, and the details of everyone involved from the other party – for example in a car crash or the engineer that fixed your faulty washing machine. This will help you recall the details that your insurance company will ask you to provide.
- Don’t throw away damaged items. Don’t dispose of any damaged items, as your insurance company might need to inspect or repair them. Keep your contents unless you're told you can dispose of them. Badly damaged property can be stored in a garage or shed.
- Don’t apologise. If you're involved in a car accident, make sure you don’t apologise, even if you feel it was your fault. It’s really important not to do this as you may not be legally liable for the accident and you could affect your insurer’s ability to act on your behalf if you admit fault, even if it's in passing. It could also affect your no claim discount.
- Don’t exaggerate. It's important not to exaggerate. Stick to the facts and be truthful with your insurer as pure fabrication can lead to your whole claim being rejected.