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How to Make a Successful Insurance Claim

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 16 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Insurance Claim Accident Policy Damage

Whether it’s a car accident, a medical emergency, a trip abroad gone wrong, or theft or damage to your property, insurance is there to pay out for us when something unfortunate happens.

However, if you find yourself having to make an insurance claim, happens, the last thing you want is to find out that your insurance claim will not be paid out, and that you will have to face the full cost of the damage yourself.

Here are the things you need to know about making a successful insurance claim.

Keep Track of All Paperwork

Whenever you take out an insurance policy, you will be given some documents that will outline the policy terms and conditions, and provide details of how you should make a claim.

Keep this information somewhere safe, so that it will be close to hand if you ever need it. If you are taking out travel insurance, you might think about photocopying your policy and bringing the copy with you.

When it comes to contents insurance, make sure that you save the receipts of any items you buy during your policy period. This will help you to prove what items you owned at the time of the incident, and the cost of those items.

Also, make sure that your policy provider is aware of any expensive or valuable items that you want added to the policy, computer equipment or jewellery, for example.

Photo Evidence

Photographs or video footage can also help you to make an inventory of all your household items.

Similarly, if you suffer an incident where damage will need to be reported (a car accident, or damage to your home), photographic evidence to back up your version of events is always useful to have.

Understand your Policy

Most people try to avoid reading the small print on any insurance policy they take out, but it is important to have an understanding of what cover your policy gives you.

Knowing what your policy will cover and what is excluded before you make a claim could save you a lot of hassle and frustration when you have to negotiate with the insurance company.

Make your Claim Quickly

If you need to make an insurance claim, try not to leave it too long before contacting your insurance policy provider. Some policies include within their terms and conditions a specific time frame, after which your claim may be considered invalid.

Make sure that you have all the correct documentation with you (policy number, details of the incident, evidence, photos and receipts), to make the claims procedure as simple as possible.

Keep Calm

It is very easy to get frustrated when submitting your claim means dealing with a call centre. However, you should always remember that the insurance company needs to gather as much information as they can from you about the incident.

Try to keep calm and explain your situation clearly and rationally. Take notes beforehand so that you do not miss out any important information.

Be Truthful

In order to make sure that your insurance policy will pay out, you need to disclose as much information as you can on your policy application form. For example, if you are a smoker, you would need to disclose this on your medical insurance or life insurance policies.

If you travel for long periods of time you would need to disclose this on your home contents insurance policy.

If you move home, you will need to have your car insurance details updated as this type of insurance depends on where your car is parked.

Make sure that if your circumstances change you amend the details of your insurance policies accordingly.

Insurance Fraud

Non-disclosure of anything that would affect your claim could leave you out of pocket if this later comes to light and the claim is rejected.

Remember that submitting false information on an insurance claim is a crime under the Fraud Act. Insurance companies have developed very sophisticated methods to detect fraud, and they dedicate large sums of money to proving claims are fraudulent.

It is worth their while to do this, as insurance fraud is believed to cost over £1.6 billion a year.

If an insurance company can establish that any part of a claim is fraudulent, they are able to refuse to pay the entire claim.

If your Insurance Claim is Rejected

You have the right to make a complaint if your insurance claim is rejected. First, you should contact the insurer, who should be able to explain to you the reasons why they have refused your claim.

If you are not satisfied with this you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service. They will be able to act as a go-between and help determine whether the insurance company has acted correctly.

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