Household Claims Guide
What happens Next?
Household claims are strange to predict as practically all Insurers have a different approach to how these are managed. If you have already reviewed the section on Commercial claims, you will see that most claims will typically go through specialists such as Loss Adjusters who would principally manage your claims until conclusion. However, with the home market being so saturated and cut throat, Insurers are forever trying harder to drive costs down. Unfortunately, those cost savings ultimately affect you when it comes to making a claim.
Reporting your claim
Unlike commercial , most home insurance policies are sold directly by Insurers or via brands such as your high street banks or supermarkets. Some of these are sold via comparison sites (not to be confused with Brokers) so in most cases, you need to check your policy and find out how to report your claim. It is usually detailed in the policy wording or on the website of your Insurer.
If you placed your policy via a Broker, contact them in the first instance and they will direct you accordingly.
It is ideal to get a Claims Consultant involved before reporting your claim. However, if you are not ready to appoint one, just go ahead and notify your Insurers. You are usually obligated to notify your insurer as soon as possible and you do not want to inadvertently cause any issues by delaying notification.
The claim is usually reported to a notification team at a call centre and it is then directed to someone more appropriate to manage your claim. This will usually be one of the following:-
Desk based claims handler based at Insurers office.
This is usually for low value claims (typically less than £5,000). It can sometimes be a dedicated handler to your claim or a team of handlers dedicated to your type of claim.
A Loss Adjusting firm.
There are numerous Loss Adjusting firms but claims will usually go to the bigger firms such as Crawford & Company and Sedgewick. There are also a wide number of smaller Adjusting firms out there.
Some Insurers have their own directly employed Loss Adjusters or Claims Specialists.
Usually for contents replacements such as electrical items. They either replace items for Insurers at a discount or provide vouchers/cash to an equivalent value.
Usually appointed after fire or flood damage. These contractors try their best to restore and salvage items that have been affected. They are usually appointed early on in the claim cycle and will look for things to restore.
- They will also carry out some mitigation work to protect the buildings. This may including pumping away water and install dehumidifiers.
Some Insurers appoint Building contractors directly if your claim only involves damage to the buildings.
This can confuse Policyholders as to what role they play. They are usually appointed to project manage building repairs but not necessarily your claim. They are usually ‘approved’ suppliers of the Insurance company and have a vested interest in driving costs down.
Having your claim accepted
Depending on the size of your claim, Insurers will want chapter and verse on exactly what has happened that’s given rise to a claim. This can be over the phone or a visit from one of the above mentioned companies. Where there has been a fire, a Forensic Investigator is usually also appointed to pinpoint the exact cause of a fire and to establish whether there has been any breaches. All of the individuals above will conduct a detailed interview to establish whether your claim is covered.
Having your own Consultant appointed at this stage is critical as our role would be to ensure a qualified expert is on your side to ensure the claim is covered quickly. We would insist on being at any meeting with Insurers or their representatives and our aim would be to put together a case to ensure your claim is covered. With so many experts already involved, it becomes difficult (not impossible) for Consultants like ourselves to protect you after all site investigations and interviews have already taken place.
Negotiation of your claim
Your claim being accepted is only a portion of the hurdles you need to overcome. The difficulty with home claims is to understand what everyone is doing but more importantly how much of your interest they have at the heart of what they are doing. You will recall that the home/domestic insurance market is saturated so Insurers are continually looking at cutting cost which unfortunately leads to cutting corners and costs on your claim.
The biggest problem we observe is that the odds are stacked against the Policyholder on key decisions about their property and contents which leads Policyholders exposed to potential costs that they end up having to pay themselves for inadequate work undertaken by Insurers. We would prevent this from happening and explain to you all of your various options in order to best protect your interest and position.
In addition, your Insurer and/or Loss Adjusters will put you to task on the quantity and value of the items that you are claiming for. Where they spot mistakes and errors, they will penalise you accordingly. Sometimes they will look for other breaches, conditions or clauses that can reduce the amount of your claim. Again, a Claims Consultant will assist you in advance of these issues arising and fight your corner to ensure you get the maximum settlement you are entitled to under the policy.
In many cases, we find Policyholders don’t benefit fully from their insurance cover. Often they are not aware of their entitlement or the claim is reduced after insurers apply the ‘small print’. Whilst Insurer’s representatives, particularly Loss Adjusters, claim to be ‘unbiased’ and should make you aware of your entitlements, the reality is that they are paid for by Insurers and will represent them in the first instance.
We are always on hand to have a friendly chat with you so feel free to contact us in whatever medium that suits you.