The insurance claims process: what you need to know

Insurance claim

It’s a regular day as you make your way to your office. You look up at the building as you get there, smile and think, “I’ve come a long way since my startup days.” Your small business is your livelihood, your dream-turned- reality, and everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

You make your way to the door, ready to take on another day, oblivious to what’s waiting for you on the other side. You take one step inside and suddenly you feel it—cold water begins to seep into your shoe, and the panic begins to set in. You look around and realize that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Insurance claims for small businesses

So, you’ve experienced a loss — what do you do now? Who do you need to contact first? What are your obligations as a business owner? Whether it’s water damage, a fire, a car accident, or another type of loss, these situations can be stressful and overwhelming. We thought we’d try to make things a little easier by taking some of the guess work out of the equation.

Generally speaking, there are two phases to filing an insurance claim. The first involves everything you need to do before you actually file the claim, and the second is the process that follows after you’ve spoken to your trusted claims advisor.

What to do immediately after you suffer a loss

If you find yourself up to your ankles in water, in the front seat of a fender bender, or in the midst of another type of loss, there are some important things to remember that can help make the process a little smoother.

  1. Stay calm and call 9-1-1. If you have any reason to suspect criminal activity, or think that someone involved in the incident requires medical attention, call 9-1-1 as soon as you can. Try to stay calm, be courteous and avoid arguing with others involved.
  2. Don’t engage in settlement talk. It’s important that you only discuss the details of the incident with police or other emergency personnel, and your insurance provider.
  3. Take notes, witness testimonials and photographs. The more information you have on what happened, the better. Document everything in full detail, including the date, time and location. Gather contact information from all those present at the time of the incident. If you have a camera or your smartphone handy, take photographs and videos of the scene.
  4. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters TruShield! Or another insurance company, depending on who your coverage is with. Once you’ve done everything you can to manage the situation, it’s important to take all the information you collected and contact your insurance company. Not only can they put the claims process in motion, they can often provide further advice on next steps, too.

It’s important that you only discuss the details of the incident with police or other emergency personnel, and your insurance provider.

What happens next?

Once you’ve contacted your trusted insurance broker, agent or representative, the claims process will begin. Typically, there are four main steps in the process following your initial call.

Step 1: Once you’ve filed the claim, it will need to be investigated by an adjuster. This insurance professional will determine the amount of loss or damages that’s covered in your small business insurance policy. Your adjuster will also be able to shed some light on any liable parties in the situation. This is where all your diligent note taking and documentation will come in handy.

Step 2: Once the investigation of the incident is complete, it’s time to review your policy. Your adjuster will carefully comb through the details of your coverage to determine what is and isn’t covered under your current policy. At this point in the process, your adjuster will also be able to inform you of any deductibles that may apply.

Step 3: This step may require some extra help. Your adjuster will need to evaluate the extent of the damage from the loss, and may call in an appraiser, engineer, estimator or contractor to provide some expert insight. If repairs are required, your adjuster will provide a list of trusted vendors for you to contact. You aren’t obligated to hire from this list, but it can save some time and research.

Step 4: Once all necessary repairs or replacements resulting from the claim have been taken care of, your adjuster will contact you to discuss a settlement for your claim and arrange payment. The amount of time it takes for a payment to be processed and received will vary from case to case.

 

insurance claims process

Insurance claims process

It’s important to remember that every claim situation is different. The process for a claim involving a car accident will look different than the process for a claim involving theft. These guidelines can help you prepare for what’s in store, but they can certainly still vary from claim to claim. You can also download our helpful claims process tip sheet. Keep this handy in case you ever experience a loss to your small business.

Click here to download a PDF copy

If you’re ever unsure about something before, during or after the claims process, speak to your broker, agent or insurance representative. If you’re a TruShield customer, you can reach our claims department by visiting our website, or directly at 1.855.629.1213. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and committed to handling each of our customer claims as fairly, professionally and carefully as we can.

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