Time and again, I have come across insured persons who fail to act timely, or take the wrong action when they suffer a loss that is covered by their insurance policy. It is worthy to note that all insurance policies include the duties of insured persons in the event of a loss under the Conditions section. Many insured persons do not take the time to read this through, often missing vital information that would have been helpful.

Immediately upon taking up an insurance policy, I strongly advise all insured persons to lay hold of their policy documents and study them in detail. Just as a shrewd investor keenly considers the potential yield, ease of liquidation and other key indicators of an investment, an insured person must pay close attention to the conditions of the insurance policy purchased.

In this post, I will take you through five (5) primary actions an insured person should take whenever a loss occurs.

Secure your property and take steps to minimise the loss

Don’t forget that the damaged or lost property still belongs to you, that is, until your insurer settles your claim wherein the right of ownership may or may not transfer as the case may be. Securing the property helps minimise the extent of damage or loss. It also helps preserve the property, thus, allowing the insurer conduct accurate assessment of the loss.

Report the loss without delay

Inform your insurance broker, agent or your direct insurer as soon as you can without any unnecessary delay. Insurance policies have a reasonable notification window within which loss incidents should be reported. This is a warranty whose breach could result in the rejection of your claim even if absolutely legitimate. An unreasonable delay has the potential of robbing the insurer of the opportunity of an accurate assessment of the loss. It gives room for other debilitating factors to work on the damaged property to the needless detriment of the insurer.

Make required documents available

Filing a claim involves documentation the volume of which depends on the type of insurance and the nature of the loss. Most of these documents are already in an insured person’s possession. It therefore depends on how tidy your housekeeping habits are. Proper housekeeping will make it easy for you to locate these documents and make them available for the insurer. Oftentimes, you will be required to provide an estimate of repairs for your damaged property. Bogus or bloated estimates make insurers take a bit longer in scrutinising your submissions. I advise that you obtain estimates of repair from repairers, mechanics or workshops where you would have carried out your repairs if you had no insurance.

Respond quickly to requests for inspection

The insurer, in evaluating your submission, physically assesses the damaged property where it still exists. They pay keen attention to the legitimacy of claims. The earlier the physical assessment takes place, the earlier the insurer settles your claim.

Provide multiple channels of communication

Insurance companies want to settle your claims as soon as possible. They are well aware that the promptness of their claims payment significantly affects their market rating. It is therefore very essential that you provide multiple channels through which you can be reached – your email address, home, mobile and office telephone lines, physical address where you are frequently present. This ensures that you are kept in good brief as the process of investigation and settlement progresses – a vital part of the process that allows you rest easy.