How to file a claim on your business insurance
Insurance is a funny thing – we buy it, hoping we’ll never need to use it. But things happen, and when they do, you’re glad you’re covered. Here’s what you need to know when something happens and you have to file a claim on your business insurance policy.
What do I do if I think I have a claim?
As soon as you think you may have a claim, contact your insurance company. Even if you’re not sure if the incident is covered, call or email and ask.
If your claim involves property damage, notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible and take pictures before you take any action to correct the situation. And follow any instructions given to you by the claims specialist at your insurance company regarding securing your property or making repairs.
What information do I need to file a business insurance claim?
3 Items you need before filing a business insurance claim
- Your policy number
- The name and address of your business
- The nature of the claim, including as much detail as possible. If you’re being sued or threatened with a lawsuit, the documentation of the basis of the suit will be helpful.
As each claim is unique, your claim specialist will tell you what additional information you may need.
I’m being sued. Do I need to get a lawyer?
Speak to your insurance company first. In some cases, your carrier will suggest a lawyer who is experienced in cases like yours. Your policy may cover the cost of the attorney as well as any settlement or judgment.
Be sure you don’t allow any court-ordered deadlines to pass while waiting for your insurance company to review a recently-filed claim. If a deadline is imminent, you may need to consult your own attorney.
What happens next?
Your claim will be reviewed to make sure it is covered and to determine the amount of coverage. If more information is required, your claims specialist will reach out to you to tell you what is needed.
Once the review has been completed, your claim will either be approved or denied. If it’s covered by the policy, your claim adjuster will work with you to reach a timely resolution of the matter.
Any payment you receive for a loss will be subject to the limits of your policy (which is the most your policy will pay), and your policy deductible (which is the amount you have to pay before your coverage kicks in).
Why was my insurance claim denied?
Sometimes a loss occurs that simply isn’t covered by the policy a business owner has. If you are notified by your insurance company that your claim was denied, they should tell you why. But denied claims are typically due to one of these three reasons:
3 Reasons business insurance claims get denied
- The specific type of incident that occurred is not covered under your policy. For example, a general liability policy will not cover loss or damage to your own property, only to the property of others (‘third party’ property). In addition, some policies have exclusions for specific types of incidents, and the specific type of loss may be excluded from your policy.
- Your policy was not active at the time the incident occurred, or at the time the claim was made. (Some policies will cover claims made after the policy term has ended as long as the incident occurred while the policy was active – these are called ‘occurrence based’ policies. If yours is a ‘claims made’ policy, the policy must be active when the incident happens and when the claim is filed.)
- There was an error in your policy application or your claim. If you provided incorrect information when you applied for your policy or submitted your claim, your claim may be denied. Your policy may also be rescinded if false information was provided in your application.
Your claim specialist may be able to provide more information on why your claim was denied.
Your insurance policy is a modest investment that protects the business you’ve worked so hard to build. If you need it, you’ll be glad it’s there.