Tips to successfully submit your home or car insurance claims
Nobody wants to go through the effort of submitting an insurance claim and having it rejected by your insurer due to factors that were preventable or within your control. To ensure a successful claim, your insurance policy must firstly be up to date and very specific, and you need to adhere to the terms and conditions in your policy.
It’s important not to waste time in submitting your claim and to initiate the claims process immediately after the damage, theft or break-in. Most insurers have a time limit by which claims need to be submitted, so it’s best to start the process as soon as you can.
This blog provides some key tips to successfully submitting your homeowner’s and car insurance claims:
HOMEOWER’S INSURANCE CLAIMS
1. Burglar alarm do’s and don’ts
A homeowner’s insurance policy will normally include an alarm clause which requires the insured party to comply with a number of security requirements in order for the insurer to accept and settle any claims. Naturally, the alarm needs to be installed, maintained and in working condition. It is important to note that if a robbery took place due to a faulty alarm, the claim will be rejected. The onus falls on the home owner to test the alarm system regularly and keep it in good working condition.
The alarm must always be activated when the house is unoccupied, even if it’s just for short periods of time, and should be connected to a 24-hour armed response. The alarm system can never be removed without the consent of the insurer.
2. Maintain your home
Keeping your home well-maintained will reduce the risk of accidents relating to poor upkeep, for example maintaining your roof and cleaning the gutters to avoid costly damage due to deterioration and bad weather. If the insurer determines that any damage to your home could have been prevented by regular maintenance and that you neglected your maintenance responsibility, such a claim will be rejected.
3. Inform insurer of risk-changing home additions
It is imperative that your insurance policy gets amended to reflect any home improvements that change the fundamental risk of the home, for example when a thatch lapa is built close to the house which poses a potential fire risk.
4. Avoid underinsurance
Just as important as having insurance for your home and its contents, is keeping the information in your policy updated with the correct replacement values. For example, when you upgrade an electronic device or buy a new digital television it will be valued far more than your television from 10 years ago and it will need to be updated in your policy.
This is also relevant when you inherit something of value after your policy has been drawn up; again, you will have to inform your insurer of this inheritance and specify the item(s) and its replacement value.
CAR INSURANCE CLAIMS
1. Maintain your car’s good condition
The insurer will reject any claim where it can be proven that the vehicle was in a poor or not in a roadworthy condition such as faulty windscreen wipers or a tyre thread that is below the legal limit. For this reason and because it lowers your risk level, it is important to maintain your vehicle and to have your car serviced according to the manufacturer’s specifications. If not, your insurer can reject your claim if they find that the poor state of your car contributed to the cause of the accident.
2. Secure parking at night
Each policy and insurer will have their own specific requirements in terms of keeping your car safe at night; the key is to ensure that you adhere to the specification listed in your policy. Some insurers will require that you secure your vehicle behind an automated garage door and some will accept off-street parking.
Fitting your car with security devices such as an alarm and tracker are recommended as it statistically lowers your vehicle theft risk.
3. Do not drive unlawfully
It is never worth driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as the consequences can be so severe, regardless of whose fault the accident is. You should only drive with a valid driver’s license and should not be partaking in any activities of a criminal nature while driving, as this will have the effect of invalidating your car insurance. Driving too fast or in a negligent and reckless manner will also result in your vehicle insurer refusing cover in the case of an accident.
By keeping the information we listed in mind as well as educating yourself on all specifications in your policies, your chances of successful claims will be greatly improved.