What are the steps to an insurance claim? Fight!

When it comes to insurance claims there a few simple steps to follow…

  • Get to safety. Move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic.
  • Confirm everyone is okay and call 9-1-1 if medical attention is needed.
  • Call police if anyone is hurt, a party flees the scene, or you are uncomfortable with the situation.
  • Determine drivability of vehicles. Call for a tow truck if necessary.
  • Exchange insurance, vehicle, and driver info. For the claim.
  • Do not admit fault for the incident.
  • Report the claim once you arrive home safely.

There is one part of the claim that is not covered but I feel is absolutely necessary… Fight for your claim!

Lately I have had a bad run of insurance claims and bad claims experiences. For that reason I feel the last step for a new claim should be to fight. If you are not 200% satisfied with your claim, then fight. If you do not feel you are being treated fairly. Fight! If you do not feel you are being put back to where you were before the claim. Then fight! Do not let your claim just run its course without questioning each aspect of the claim.

Here are a few of my own personal claim experiences…

  • A claim adjustor attempted to electronically transfer funds to my personal bank account to have a new roof put on by a contractor selected by the claim adjustor. A contractor I did not know or had even heard of before. I had to get three estimates from three other contractors due to a discrepancy in cost. The other estimates were all higher than the claim adjustor’s contractor and the claim adjustor still insisted on their own estimate.

***You do not need to accept the estimate or the contractor recommended by the claim adjustor. You also are not required to get more than one estimate for the necessary repairs, and estimates should be free.

  • A claim adjustor telling me I did not request OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) glass in my vehicle. I had to remind the claim adjustor that their calls were recorded for “quality training purposes” and they should listen to the call when I reported the claim and repeatedly requested OEM glass for my vehicle.

***If you are paying additional money for OEM parts or other added coverages for your vehicle then you are entitled to use those coverages during the claim. You should not accept less than what you paid for. Knowing what is included in your policy and understanding how the policy should perform is important during the claim process. An insurance agent is a huge resource for this.

  • A claim adjustor telling me it only costs $300 for a plain piece of glass for the back window of my vehicle that is manufacturer tinted, on a hinge system, with a heating element, and an open sensor.

***Find a body shop that you know, like, and trust to do excellent work, can complete the work timely, and can help you manage the claim process. You are not required to use the preferred or recommended body shop from your insurance company. They may not know the intricacies of your vehicle. Also have an excellent mechanic that you know, like, and trust if there are issues with your vehicle during and after the claim, you may want your mechanic to be involved.

  • A claim adjustor declining to accept a claim for their policyholder that was drinking and driving and struck my parked, unoccupied vehicle in the middle of night, which was confirmed by a police report.

*** You can report it to your own insurance company and they will subrogate against the responsible party on your behalf. They may even waive your deductibles if they are able to get the other insurance company to accept fault for the claim.

I have been involved with hundreds of claims and appreciate the knowledge I gain from each any every claim. However, I believe everyone should be treated fairly, that the claim process should be stress free, and you should be put back the way you were before the claim. This is what I want for everyone. I don’t think you are asking too much of your insurance company.

My role is not to just to sell an insurance policy, my job is to advocate on your behalf to make sure you are treated right and are happy at the end of the day. This goes for the policy and claims.

This is not a bash on insurance companies or the insurance industry. Insurance companies due wonderful things for their policyholders (they are giving premium refunds to their policyholders right now), and there are absolutely wonderful claim adjusters out there. I have spoken to many of them. I am just an insurance professional providing insurance policies for 20+ years that is frustrated by the claims process. If I am frustrated then I know I am not alone with that complaint.

I can not guarantee you that you will get everything you want or will be 200% satisfied every time but you should not take a claim process laying down. You should not go with the flow. Your home, your vehicle, your business is an asset. It is an investment. It is an investment in you. Take control of your claim and fight!

Author: Pamela Dodge, CIC, CISR, CPIA, ACSR

Knowledgeable, creative insurance professional with 18+ years in the insurance industry, specializing in personal insurance programs.

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