3 Important Tips to know before making an insurance claim
1. Hang on to sales receipts for big value items.
If you were to suffer a total loss of a big-ticket item, you will be required to show your proof of ownership to the insurer.
It’s important to keep your receipts for all contents items if possible. This is especially true for jewellery over 10K – Be sure to get a professional valuation done regularly so you’re able to prove the authenticity and current value.
What can be used as proof of ownership?
- original purchase documentation, such as receipts
- purchase dockets
- guarantee/warranty cards
- credit card statements
- photographs picturing the items including serial number/VIN number
- owner manuals or valuations for the items claimed.
2. Don’t carry out repairs on your insured property before you have it assessed
This is one area that often trips people up. When people suffer a loss, they often immediately get tradespeople in to carry out repairs. However, it’s unwise to carry out repairs prior to notifying your insurer and having the damages professionally assessed.
Give your insurer time to look at your claim and send their authorised people to fix it.
Example 1: Hotel owner James had an air-conditioning system break at his hotel. He got a repairer in to fix it. James was charged $120,000.00 and paid it, thinking they would be able to claim the full extent for repairs from their insurer. On assessing the claim, the insurer found that the repairer had charged excessive labour costs. It was found the repair costs would have been substantially lower if the insurer organised the repairs directly. So, the repair costs were found to be unreasonable, and the insured was only required to pay the cheaper amount.
Example 2: Mandy noticed a leak in her bathroom. So, she had a tradesperson come and have a look at it and proceeded to do a major renovation. After she had renovated, and paid for it, she then presented the insurer with a claim for the water damage.
As she had not notified her insurer of the damages prior to the repairs being carried out, Mandy had to do a lot of work to prove the damage after the fact. This can be tricky if evidence wasn’t gathered beforehand.
Moral of the story: If you notice damage at your house. Always take photos and call your insurance broker to inform them of the claim. Follow their instructions of what you need to do. If emergency repairs are required, keep thorough records.
3. What can I do if a damaged item is a health risk to keep?
The above applies unless it’s an emergency or damage poses a health & safety risk. After significant flooding, it can be important to get spoilt items such as carpets out of the house fairly soon, as these can get mouldy. Be sure to take digital photos of the damage with the time & date geo-tagged. This is particularly important when there’s a big flood event in an area, as it may take assessors longer to get there.
However, for your average insurance claim, such as a flexi-hose breaking causing flooding to the house, it is best to notify your insurer asap as they can immediately send in drying and dehumidifying equipment to attempt to dry the household items so they don’t require replacement.
Once again, always inform your insurance broker straight away and follow your insurers advice of what to do.