Claiming on household insurance

    Tuesday, 29 April, 2014

    An accident in your home does not just have financial consequences; it may have other effects that disrupt your everyday life. At Op de Beeck & Worth we have an in-house department exclusively to handle claims and we are by your side every step of the way. 

    Below is a guide to the key points involved in making a home insurance claim correctly, quickly and safely. 

    1. The first comes first 

    The first thing to do is to look at your policy to check whether the event is covered. If in doubt, call your insurance broker as soon as possible. They will be able to confirm whether or not it is covered. 

    2. Aspects to consider when making a claim 

    1. Does your home insurance policy have an excess? If it does, the excess set in your policy will be deducted from the total payout.
    2. If you are claiming a small sum, you need to consider the impact the claim could have on future renewals. That will largely depend on the number of claims you have made before and whether you have taken out other polices with the same insurance company.Insurance companies are there to handle their customers' claims but they get a bit concerned when claims are being made very frequently. If in doubt, ask your broker. 

    3. Reporting a claim

    After you have determined whether the event is covered, you must inform your broker as soon as possible. Failure to do so may jeopardise your claim. Your broker is unlikely to be available at the weekend or on a public holiday but your policy should have a helpline you can call 24/7. Make sure you inform your broker by e-mail or phone as soon as they are available again.  

    4. What can you expect? 

    Depending on the kind of damage, the insurance company may send a loss adjuster to inspect the damage or directly send specialists to carry out the necessary repairs covered by your home insurance policy. 

    5. What should I do? 

    Generally speaking, after an accident, it is always good advice to act as if you did not have an insurance policy and do your best to minimise any loss. You are expected to carry out urgent and necessary repairs to limit the damage and that is something your broker can help you with. 

    Depending on the nature of the event, photographs may really help communicate the extent of the damage (e.g. in the case of flooding). It is also vitally important not to throw away or get rid of any damaged item until the insurance company has had a chance to inspect it. 

    In case of burglary, you will need a local police reportproviding details of the circumstances together with a list of the objects stolen. It is pretty common to discover that a couple more items have been stolen after you made the police report. That is not a problem but you will have to go back to the police and make an expanded report to add to the original one. 

    After an event it is important for you to estimate the amount of money you will need to repair the damage, make the necessary repairs and replace damaged items, etc. as soon as reasonably possible. Your broker will be better able to look out for your interests if they know your expectations as a claimant right from the start of the process. 

    6. Be prepared! 

    Remember that an insurance claim will always be processed better and have a better chance of success if the insured amounts in your policy are correct and you have informed the insurance company of all your valuables and/or jewels. It is also a great help if you can prove the losses/damages with receipts, photographs and repair quotes, etc. 

    If you need any help or have any doubts about how to calculate the insured amounts, please contact info@opdebeeck-worth.com and we will advise you. 

    7. How can I make a complaint if I am not satisfied with the result? 

    If you are not satisfied with the insurance company's response to your claim, you must let your broker know and provide documents or evidence explaining why the insurance company's payout was too low. You broker will be able to use this information to fight your corner with the insurance company and bring about a better result for you. 

    If that does not have the desired effect, your broker must make a formal, written complaint to the insurance company's Customer Service Department, which must reply, in writing, within no more than 2 months. 

    If that complaint also does not provide you with a satisfactory solution, you can make a formal complaint to the Directorate General for Insurance and Pension Funds (Dirección General de Seguros y Fondos de Pensiones - DGSFP), the private insurance regulator in Spain. 

    Depending on the circumstances surrounding the event, it may also be necessary and advisable to hire an independent loss adjuster to produce a report checking the report written by the insurance company's loss adjuster.

     

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