When an unthinkable disaster or accident happens to your business, it’s easy to get flustered and distracted in the chaos. Understanding the common mistakes business make when filing claims can help better prepare you for when your business is damaged. You can’t prevent the unthinkable, but you can control how you handle it.
Here are some common mistakes business owners make when filing insurance claims:
1. Not reacting immediately: many business owners make the mistake of immediately cleaning and fixing damages before calling their insurance provider. It’s imperative that you have a trained insurance adjuster assess the damages fully before you begin any cleanup efforts. This prevents confusion later on about how bad the damages really were and ensures you get the most out of your claim.
2. Not providing thorough or correct documentation of damages: Before touching any of the damage, take pictures and videos of each piece of damaged property. The more documentation the better. Many owners frantically try to fix damages as quickly as possible to get their business back up and running. In this state of panic, they completely forget to document the damages. Failure to document can make it difficult to prove a claim and can hurt your business more in the long run. When documenting, try to use a high-resolution camera and plenty of light to prevent glare or other obscures. The goal of the photos is to show the damage in as much detail as possible. Photos taken before the damage occurred can also be helpful.
3. Taking account of witnesses: Look for any eyewitnesses of the event and be sure to get their contact information as well as a verbal or written statement. This additional evidence will help support any disputes in your claim.
4. Not having a plan: emotions can be high when an accident or disaster occurs. Having an emergency plan in place will help you follow step by step what needs to be done. In the event of a disaster, this will make sure that nothing gets missed. Your business should have on hand a step by step plan outlining what to do in an emergency, a list of important contacts, and a hard copy of your insurance policy.
5. Not fully understanding your insurance policy: it’s important to read the fine print of your policy and understand all the in and outs of your coverage. Knowing what needs to be done before an accident occurs will make filing a claim a lot less stressful.