How to file an insurance claim for your small business

December 04, 2014

It’s important to know how to file insurance claims so that your business isn't caught paying for damages it would otherwise be insured for.

Disasters can sometimes hit your small business. Here are some things to remember the next time you’re caught filing an insurance claim, to ensure your business receives all the coverage it needs.

1. Always report your insurance claim immediately

Reporting insurance claims after too much time has passed allows room for additional damages to be incurred on your property, which may not be related to the incident you’re reporting, which is what your insurance company will be willing to pay . The faster you report your incident, the faster your insurance paperwork will be filed, the insurance company can begin and finish its investigation, and the police can evaluate the situation if needed. Additionally, if your delay prejudices the insurance company’s review, the company may be able to deny your claim outright.  

2. Leave the evidence alone

It can be tempting to pick up a hammer and make some quick repairs to your workspace so that you can get back to work. Before you take any steps to repair the damage to your property, make sure to photograph the evidence of these damages, so that you can use it as proof to back up your claim at a later date.  

3. Assess the damages

Make a list of damaged inventory and equipment, repair costs and lost hours of work time that occurred as a result of the incident. When applicable, have an outside authority audit the damages to your property to be used as further support for your insurance claim.  

4. Examine your insurance policy

Insurance policies are not all made equal – be sure to examine yours to make sure you’re aware of any conditions, requirements, loopholes or clauses that could potentially limit the amount of coverage you receive.  

5. Work with your claims adjuster and insurance company

Stay in contact with your claims adjuster, so that you can shoot him any questions you have as you go through the process of filing your claim and make the best and most informed decisions you can in your situation.

Remember, property damage can happen to any small business owner. The best thing you can do to prepare your business is to have an insurance policy that covers potential future expenses and the know-how to use those policies to your advantage.

Have you had to file an insurance claim for your small business? If so, what are some methods you found that helped the process go smoother?

The contents of this article and the linked materials do not offer legal, business  or insurance advice related to the needs of any specific individual business. Hiscox Small Business Insurance is underwritten by Chicago-based Hiscox Insurance Company Inc., which is rated ‘A’ (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company. Additional information can be found on the Why Choose Hiscox? page. Coverages are subject to underwriting and may not be available in all states.