Chances are your clients are going to need your guidance before submitting a claim — here are some quick answers to common claim-related questions.
Last year's spate of natural disasters highlights the importance of filing insurance claims as soon as possible. As their trusted advisor, your job is to help your clients rebuild their lives by ensuring that they receive their insurance payout quickly.
Filing a claim after a car accident, major property damage, or a business shutdown can be a traumatic experience for your clients. Insurance agents stand ready to help clients through these hardships with knowledgeable guidance and compassion. Here are five common questions your clients may have about submitting a claim — and how to answer their concerns.
When Should I File?
Always encourage your clients to file a claim soon after an insured event. The sooner they file, the sooner they’ll be reimbursed. Make sure your client knows what information to provide, such as contact information, the nature of the insured item (i. e. auto, home, or business), the date of the incident, and a brief description of the loss. If they don’t have all of that information at first, tell them to submit as much material as they have to begin the process.
What Documentation Do I Need?
Your clients should provide as much information as they can. Photos, receipts, and videos all document the extent of the damage and its cost. Caution your clients against immediately discarding damaged items, however. For example, your clients may want to throw out a water heater destroyed by a flood or fire, but if they do, an insurance adjuster cannot accurately estimate the loss.
Do I Need to File a Claim?
Many of your clients may be reluctant to file a claim because they believe their rates will increase. Whether their rates will rise depends on a number of factors, including the nature of the claim, the policyholder’s claims history, and the carrier’s standards. Claims for major damages beyond the client’s financial resources must be submitted, of course, but claims for losses close to the deductible (a $1,200 claim on a policy with a $1,000 deductible) might not be worth the hassle, and another claim to the client’s history could affect their premium. In that instance, your client may opt to pay the relatively small amount without going through the claims process.
What’s Covered Under My Policy?
Each policy is different in terms of coverages, so know what is covered and, more importantly, what is not. Does the auto insurance policy pay for a rental car? Can the client be reimbursed for a hotel stay following a house fire? Outline every provision in your client’s policy so that they understand the extent of their coverage.
I Filed the Claim. Now What?
Your job doesn’t end once the claim is sent off to the carrier. Contact your point person at the insurer so you can brief the client as the claim progresses through the system. Then, schedule follow-up calls or meetings with the client to keep them informed or to request any additional information that may be required by the carrier. This not only shows your professionalism, but your empathy for the client’s difficult situation, as well.
Filing a claim can be challenging for your clients, and they can’t undertake it without your assistance. As their insurance agent, you can answer their concerns and quickly help restart their lives and businesses.