Do you remember what happened when you were involved in your first auto accident? Did you lose your head and start yelling and cursing? Or accuse other drivers of causing the crash? Or perhaps you ignored your injuries until they got worse. Maybe you even drove away from the scene of the accident and got caught by police. Perhaps this isn't what happened at all. Maybe you calmly exchanged insurance information with the other driver, took photos of the damage to all vehicles involved, addressed your injuries immediately, and promptly called your insurer to notify them of the claim.
The point is, there's a right way and a wrong way to handle an auto accident. The same goes for filing an insurance claim with your business insurance provider when an unexpected event takes place.
Always Be Prepared to File a Claim If Needed
Of course, it's much better to formulate some contingency plans beforehand in the event that you do have to file a business insurance claim. The most important preparation you can make is to know exactly what your insurance policy covers (Property damage? Income replacement? Flood damage?). Along with this knowledge, you should figure out precisely who to contact (and how to contact them) if your business is victimized by a covered peril. Finally, be sure to store a copy of your insurance policy somewhere other than your business; otherwise, your insurance information could get stolen, destroyed by water damage, or burned beyond recognition.
The Business Insurance Claim Process
Once the time comes when you do have to file a business insurance claim, here are 12 steps you should take:
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Call the police and/or fire department if necessary.
- Find your insurance policy and review precisely what is covered in relation to the unexpected event.
- Conduct all of your communications with your insurer in writing, including taking notes about any information discussed during phone calls.
- Assemble an inventory list of everything that was lost, stolen, damaged, or otherwise compromised.
- Make sure that this inventory list, along with all business records and income loss documentation, is ready if your insurance company sends an adjuster to inspect your property and expense data.
- Take as many photos or videos as you can of everything that has been damaged.
- Sign your sworn “proof of loss” statement for your insurer within 60 days of filing your initial claim.
- Record all expenses you incur while recovering from the event, including those pertaining to relocating your business temporarily.
- Make temporary repairs to your property, but hold off on permanent repairs until you receive compensation from your insurance provider.
- For complex repairs, obtain at least two estimates from companies who could perform the work.
- Keep a dedicated file (or file drawer) containing all paperwork and data relating to your insurance claim.
!(https://mediashower.com/img/ADD8CE84-DF6E-11E5-AB24-D6A5F331584C/claims binder on desk next to papers.jpg)A Note About Civil Authority
If you have acquired civil authority coverage as part of your commercial package policy or business owners policy, then you may be subject to compensation if you are unable to get to your business after a disaster. This type of coverage is triggered if: - The waiting period as set forth in your policy has been met.
You can't get to your property because a government agency is denying access to you.
This prohibition stems from property within a one-mile radius of your business sustaining physical damage or loss.
With civil authority coverage, you can receive reimbursement for expenses immediately after the access prohibition is in effect, and for business income starting 72 hours after this action was taken by the government. The coverage period is usually four weeks in duration.
It's OK To Have Questions
If you have any questions about your business insurance policy or what it covers, the best time to get them answered is before you have to actually file a claim. So don't hesitate to reach out to your insurance provider to discuss any coverage issues that require clarification. Finally, if you are in need of business insurance, contact the helpful insurance professionals at Poms & Associates today!