The importance of filing a claim properly

Short-term insurance policies are guarantees against forking out hefty sums when the worst happens, be it a car accident, theft or damage to your possessions.

But simple mistakes on your part when filing a claim can sometimes leave you facing a financial loss as a consequence of not following the correct procedures.

Christelle Fourie, the managing director of MUA Insurance Acceptances, says there are basic steps you should consider when you file a claim with your insurance provider to ensure they are aware of what is expected from you and how the claims process will be handled.

Whether you have a car accident, your possessions are hit by hail storms or you damage your plasma TV, filing an insurance claim is something most people have to do at some point in their lives.

Follow these tips to ensure a smooth claiming process and ensure you get the maximum benefit from your insurer:

Know what you are covered for
1 Read your insurance policy so that you understand what you are covered for, as the policy and type of claim may have a big impact on the outcome.

It is also important to speak to a broker, who can explain any stipulations the policy may contain prior to filing a claim. The more you know ahead of the claim, the better.

Act quickly
2 File your claim immediately, while the incident is still fresh in your memory.

The claims process can sometimes become lengthy so the sooner you get started, the sooner your claim can be settled. Most insurance policies also require a claim to be reported within a certain period, which is usually 24 hours. If you miss this deadline, your claim may not be covered.

Pay attention to detail
3 Take note of everything that happened before and during the incident. It is also advisable to take photographs if possible, as well as write down the details to ensure that you are able to provide all the required information to your insurance provider.

If a third party is involved, make sure you also take down all of their personal information to ensure they can be reached for further discussions.

Don’t admit liability
4 When you are involved in an accident with another party, don’t admit liability even if you believe you were at fault. Rather take down all the other party’s insurance details, provide them with yours and submit your claim to your own insurance company as quickly as possible.

File a police report if you’re in a car accident
5 When motorists are involved in traffic accidents, it is important to report the accident at the nearest police station even if no one was injured in the incident. Most insurers require a case number, which you will receive at the police station after you have filed a report.

Be honest
6 When determining which party may have been liable for an accident, it is vital that you are completely honest about how it occurred and whom you believe is in the wrong. If you were not at fault, you must also remember not to say anything that could be interpreted as an admission of fault.

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