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Old 13-04-2008, 19:52   #1
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A Short Guide to Making an Insurance Claim

(I've only had experience in home claims not motor so not sure how relevant this will be to that sector).

This is probably as much a guide to understanding the process of the claim, as opposed on how to making it. But hopefully some of this will be useful to someone..

* OK this one is a bit of a selfish one, but it's just to remind you the people on the end of the phone are simply doing their job, and shouting at us won't help you at all. Put across your point, but my job is stressful enough as it is without someone yelling and swearing in my ear because they don't necessarily get what's going on, or are blaming me for someone elses mistake/correct judgment they don't happen to agree with. Just remember that we deal with thousands of claims at once, and we're generally understaffed the majority of the time and if you don't get a telephone call or an instant decision, it's not because we're being lazy or don't care.. it's just a very busy industry and the timescales we're expected to work in aren't always possible.

* Get as much proof of ownership for your items as you possibly can. Keep boxes, manuals, receipts, photographs, valuations.. ANYTHING you can to simply prove you own something. If you can't prove you owned something, why should we believe your claim is real? This is particularly true of jewellery, if you've got expensive pieces then get them properly evaluated and check the policy limits. Do they exceed the policies single article limit? Get them specified separately on the policy. Do they exceed the valuable limit of the policy? Speak to your insurers and see if they can upgrade your cover. Simply specifying something on the policy is *NOT* proof of ownership, all it does it tell me I can make a maximum payment of that figure. It does not guarantee this is the settlement if that item is lost/damaged/stolen.

* Keep up to date with the value of your specified items. The amount of times people have specified expensive video cameras in 1995 and then expect me to pay out this value in 2008.. it's not going to happen. Insurance settlements are based on like for like replacement, and it's very unlikely your £1,500 consumer camera is worth more than a few hundred quid at most 13 years later. It's not the insurers responsibility to make sure you've valued your items correctly.

* For building works, get your own quotes from local builders. Insurance companies use networks of builders that are generally over busy and not always reliable.. it'll make my life and your life easier if you can get me a good breakdown quote of what works need to be done. We might request someone goes out (loss adjuster, or a network builder) to confirm damage and value, but most of the time there won't be an issue making a payment to your builder care of your address to enable your safety, and closing the claim down a lot sooner.

* We'll put you in accommodation whilst your property is uninhabitable, but don't take the ****. If you can sleep in your house, have access to toilet/washing facilities.. then the property is OK to be lived in. If the kitchen is out of action, then we'll pay a figure to cover your extra costs of eating. This isn't a huge sum of money as it'll be the difference of what you usually spend on food anyway and the extra cost of fresh food/takeaway etc. If the lounge is out of action, then just don't go in there.. that isn't a room that you need access to in order to live in the property. A lot of people think insurers are going to take over all the costs of their living whilst a claim is underway, this isn't the case. Look at what your policy covers and ask questions before presuming.

* Your claim, no matter how small it is to you, generally won't be complete in the timescales you think it will. Various companies have to liaise with each-other and agree on costs, agree on cover etc. A simple theft involving loss adjusters and supply companies won't be completed in a week.

* "You're just saying that because you don't want to pay". Utter rubbish, my job is to follow the policy wording. If you don't like the wording, you shouldn't have taken up the policy in the first place. It makes no difference to me if I pay out £10,000 on your claim or £0 on your claim.. I don't get any extra money, but if I make a payment on a claim I can't justify I'm the one who's going to get in trouble.

Hope some of this might help, any questions just bung em in and I'll see if it's something I can help with.
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