When To File An Insurance Claim as a Small Business Owner

When you get into an accident, no matter whose fault it is, it can be a stressful and confusing ordeal. You’ll have many emotions and questions, with the biggest being, “How serious was the collision?” And once everyone’s safety has been established, you’ll be asking, “How much is the damage going to cost?”

It is up to you to decide when to contact your insurance company when involved in an accident.  If you are at fault in any collision involving multiple parties, it is highly advisable that you contact your insurance company. You should immediately exchange insurance information and communicate what happened during the incident. Once you exchange information, your respective insurance companies will be able to communicate on how to move forward. Those involved in an accident and not at fault may only have to claim the incident to their insurance company. They are not required to contact the other person or company.

When To Put A Claim Through On Your Insurance

The important time to claim your insurance will be if you see substantial damages to your property, or in the case of automobile accidents if you were at fault.  Regardless of the reason for putting in a claim, your insurance premiums are bound to increase when you call it in.

You are permitted to file a claim even if there were no other parties present, say you found damages to your vehicle or property, comprehensive claims shouldn’t impact your premium too much.  But even with the minimal impact, if you file comprehensive claims frequently, your rates will be affected. The more frequently you use your insurance claim, the less likely insurance companies will want to cover you for affordable rates.  Certain companies may have certain limits or thresholds for even comprehensive claims and will be unwilling to take you on as a client.

When The Other Party Is Uninsured

If the other driver is at fault but is unable to present insurance, you should immediately involve your insurance company.  Your insurance company will pay 100 percent of the cost, but you may have to only cover your deductible.  Additionally, you should call the police and involve and communicate to them the fact that the other party is uninsured.

 

Home Insurance Claims

Similar to auto-insurance claims, you will want to assess the situation before immediately involving your insurance company.  Things that will help you decide on reporting home insurance claims will be the severity of the damages, the cause of these damages if there are any injured parties involved.  Times you should reconsider filing any claims would be if you were at fault for the damages, or if the damages are minimal and if you can cover repair costs without the deductible, or if you recently filed a claim over the last few years.  Sometimes there are aspects of the claim that are not covered in your policy. If that is the case, you need to evaluate your current policy. For vacant properties, you’ll need separate coverage as regular home insurance may not be valid after occupancy has been left for an extended amount of time.  There will be different exclusions and for unoccupied homes, this may include refusing claims due to unforced entry, damages from renovations and contractors.  Keep in mind that different policies are there for different situations and have different requirements in order for claims to be filed.

When To Consider Not Filing An Insurance Claim

Because claims can have such an impactful effect on your premiums and how companies see you as a liability, there will be times you should consider not going through your insurance company to cover costs.  Sometimes, it can be beneficial for involved parties to agree to leave their insurance companies out of a situation, regardless of who is at fault, and settle damages quickly.  In cases where everyone is safe and there are no injuries, and where there is no damage or it is very minimal, you can choose to fix things and cover the charges yourselves. This will keep both your premiums from increasing.  You may also not want to have to deal with investigators or inspectors to properly assess and finalize a situation as this can be time-consuming for you and any other parties involved.

 

If you are involved in an accident, some insurance companies will raise your premium rates even if you are not at fault.  Other factors come into play such as your driving record and other data they have on file. Some companies may be more flexible and understanding than others, but in general the more incidents you are involved in, the higher chances that your rates will go up.

It may seem easy and convenient to just call up your insurance company at the first sign of trouble, but knowing when it is appropriate to file a claim and when not to, can save you a lot of time and money.

 

Adam Hansen