10 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Claim With Your Insurance Company

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Claim With Your Insurance Company

There are many common mistakes that you can make during the claims process that can negatively impact the outcome of your case. Listed below are 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Claim With Your Insurance Company:

Avoid These 10 Mistakes When Filing Insurance Claims

Failing to Read Your Policy: To adequately protect your business from losses you need to understand what your insurance policy does and doesn’t cover. You won’t know what risks are covered if you don’t read the policy. Be sure to read the entire contract, including all endorsements. If you have trouble understanding the wording, ask your agent or broker for assistance. Review your policy again before you file a claim. Be sure you understand the duties you are obligated to fulfill to obtain payment for a loss.

Failure to Notify Your Insurer Immediately: When an accident or loss occurs that’s potentially covered by your policy, contact your insurer right away. Claims are easier to adjust when events have just occurred and the evidence is fresh. Moreover, a delayed response on your part may make your insurer doubt the severity of the injury or damage.

Timely notice of a loss is a condition of many business insurance policies. The standard commercial property form requires you to notify the insurer promptly of any loss or damage. Likewise, the ISO general liability form requires you to notify the insurer as soon as practicable in the event of an occurrence, offense, claim, or suit. If you fail to report a loss or claim within a reasonable amount of time, your insurer may deny coverage on the basis that you’ve breached the insurance contract.

Poor Documentation: Good record keeping is essential if a loss occurs because insurers require detailed information to settle a claim. Some of the information your insurer will require is stated in the policy conditions. For example, the ISO commercial property form requires you to provide complete inventories of the damaged and undamaged property, including quantities, costs, values, and the amount of loss claimed. It also requires you to submit a proof of loss. You can substantiate your written records with photos or videos.

Document every communication you have with your insurer regarding your claim. Keep a list of the names and phone numbers of everyone you speak to as well as the date and time of the call. If you mail paper documents to your insurer, retain copies for your file.

Failure to Cooperate With Your Insurer: Cooperating with the insurer is a condition of coverage in many business insurance policies. For instance, the ISO commercial property form states that you must cooperate with the insurer in the investigation or settlement of the claim. Likewise, the ISO liability form requires you to cooperate with the insurer in the investigation or settlement of a claim or defense against a suit.

If you fail to provide information your insurer needs to process your claim, your actions may give the insurer grounds to deny coverage.1 Even if your insurer doesn’t deny the claim, your failure to cooperate may delay your claim payment.

Failure to Retain Damaged Property: If property at your premises or worksite has been damaged by a fire or other peril, you might be tempted to throw it away. Don’t do it! Leave the property as it is until an adjuster has inspected it. This is important as a typical property policy requires you to set the damaged property aside for examination. You must also protect covered property from further damage. If you discard the damaged property you may destroy valuable evidence related to your loss.

The standard business auto policy contains similar requirements regarding protection and inspection of damaged property. If a vehicle you have insured under comprehensive or collision coverage is damaged, you must take reasonable steps to protect the covered auto from further damage. Before the vehicle is repaired, you must allow the insurer to inspect the auto and any records you have that substantiate the loss (such as photos of the accident).

Not Calling the Police: The standard commercial property policy obligates you to contact the police if a law has been broken. For example, suppose your security camera captures a video of your neighbor breaking into your office and stealing computers. Burglary is a crime so you must phone the police before filing a theft claim.

The standard Business Auto Policy states that you must call the police if a covered auto or any of its equipment has been stolen. Depending on your state, you may be obligated by law to notify the police if an accident has occurred.2

A police report can benefit you and your insurer. It serves as proof that the accident or loss occurred and can help verify the facts related to your claim.

Paying Third-Party Claims Out of Pocket: Suppose a customer slips and falls on your business premises and sustains a minor injury. Should you compensate that person for his injury as an out-of-pocket expense rather than file an insurance claim? The answer is no.

For one thing, injuries that seem minor at the time of the accident may become serious. Likewise, some injuries may not be evident right away. A person whose vehicle you damaged in an auto collision may develop whiplash several hours or days after the accident.3

Secondly, the ISO general liability form prohibits any insured from voluntarily making a payment or incurring any expense, other than for first aid, without its consent. The ISO business auto policy also bars voluntary payments to third parties. If you voluntarily make a payment to someone and then attempt to recover your payment by filing a claim, your insurer may deny coverage on the grounds that you violated a policy condition.

Not Questioning Your Insurer’s Calculations: If property insured under a commercial property policy is damaged, the insurer will determine the amount of loss based on the item’s actual cash value or its replacement cost, whichever applies. Vehicles insured for physical damage under a commercial auto policy are valued based on their actual cash value.

No matter how your damaged property is valued, you should obtain realistic estimates of the cost to repair or replace it. Don’t assume that your insurer’s estimate of these costs is accurate. Repair and replacement costs vary widely from place to place. Construction costs in one area may be significantly higher than those in another.

If you disagree with an adjuster’s valuation of a loss, let the insurer know. It may refer you to a consumer complaint department. You can also seek assistance from your insurance agent, your state insurance department, or an attorney.

Failing to Follow Up With the Adjuster: Once you’ve filed a claim, you can sit back, relax, and wait for payment from your insurer, right? The answer is no! Don’t lose track of your claim. If several weeks go by and you haven’t heard from the adjuster, follow up with an email or phone call. Ask for a progress report.

Admitting Your Were at Fault: When an accident occurs in which someone else is injured or their property is damaged, don’t admit liability. The cause of the accident may be different from what you think. Moreover, liability policies prohibit policyholders from assuming any obligation without the insurer’s consent. An admission of fault could harm your defense. It might also constitute a breach of the insurance contract, which could give the insurer grounds to deny coverage.

Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you get the best outcome in your case. These are just 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Claim With Your Insurance Company, there are many other issues that can be avoided when you work with the team at the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers.

Spanish Speaking Car Accident Lawyer in Houston, Texas

Spanish-speaking individuals can have a more difficult time seeking justice in their personal injury cases due to language barriers. This causes them to not take action against those who have left them with financial devastation and physical trauma. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you.

Personal Injury Lawyer in Houston, Texas

If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident and suffered an injury, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work due to a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you!

Beverly R Caruthers Law Office
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Houston, TX 77027
(713) 526-9557
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In the aftermath of an accident that leaves you or a loved one injured, it is crucial to know where to turn for support and justice. The Caruthers Law Firm stands as a beacon of unwavering commitment to the cause of pursuing justice for injury victims. With a track record that speaks volumes about our dedication to excellence and passion for our clients, we have garnered recognition throughout the Houston area as a trusted name in the legal community. When you or a family member suffers an injury due to the negligence of another, the need for an attorney who is not just competent but also recognized for their excellence becomes paramount. The Houston personal injury attorney at The Caruthers Law Firm fits that bill precisely. We have earned accolades and trust from our clients because we don not just handle cases; we champion causes. Our cases frequently involve traumatic, life-altering events, such as the loss of a loved one, and our relentless pursuit of justice ensures our clients receive the compensation necessary to secure their financial future. Our dedicated efforts have successfully secured over $50 million in settlements for our clients, and our commitment to excellence has brought us national recognition, particularly in fields like birth injury law. Whether your life has been upended by a tragic accident or the negligence of another party, you can confide in Caruthers Law Firm to handle your case with the utmost skill, dedication, and compassion in your time of need. Every case we undertake is treated with the gravity and importance it deserves, and we strive to provide the best possible representation to our clients. At Caruthers Law Firm, our attorneys boast an impressive array of knowledge and expertise in various practice areas, including personal injury, criminal defense, wrongful death, and more. We fully acknowledge that each case is unique, and we value the individual concerns and needs of our clients. This understanding leads us to craft tailored legal strategies that address each case is distinctive challenges. When you choose Caruthers Law Firm as your legal representation, you can expect a high degree of professionalism, unwavering integrity, and an unparalleled commitment from the beginning of your case to its conclusion. We are not just lawyers; we are advocates for your rights, dedicated to securing the justice you deserve.

For over three decades, Beverly R. Caruthers has been on an unwavering mission to provide her clients with top-notch, tenacious, and compassionate legal services and representation. Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers has not only amassed extensive experience but has also consistently delivered high-quality legal assistance to those who have sought her counsel. Her journey to legal expertise began with academic distinction, having graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Tougaloo College, followed by the acquisition of her Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. With a primary focus on Personal Injury, Criminal Law, and Business Law, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers has honed her legal acumen in these pivotal areas. Complementing her knowledge and skills, The Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers is fortified by a collaborative team of seasoned and highly qualified attorneys. Together, they work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcomes for each and every client they serve. In the Caruthers family, the pursuit of legal excellence seems to be a cherished tradition. Briona Caruthers, following in the footsteps of her older brother and colleague, hails from Missouri City, Texas, where she graduated from Elkins High School in 2015. Venturing outside her hometown, she spent four years at Hofstra University in New York, where she diligently earned her Bachelor Degree in Legal Studies in Business in 2019. After her academic journey in New York, she returned to her roots in Houston, Texas. There, she attended the same illustrious institution where her mother, Beverly R. Caruthers, and her brothers, Eddie and Parker Caruthers, had studied—the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. In 2022, Briona graduated Cum Laude from TSU, thereby continuing the family legacy. Beyond her legal pursuits, Briona finds solace in retail therapy and enjoys exploring the world through her travels when she is not in the office, fervently advocating for her clients rights. Parker Caruthers, another member of the Caruthers family, was born and raised in Missouri City, Texas, where he completed his high school education at Clements High School in 2012. His educational journey took him to Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing in 2017. Parker commitment to legal studies led him to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at TSU, from where he graduated in 2021. During his time in law school, Parker legal prowess shone through as he secured victory in the Helen Dawn Williams Mock Trial competition, all while gaining valuable experience through internships at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Opting to take a different path by not pursuing prosecution, Parker joined Caruthers Law Firm in 2021. Beyond the legal realm, Parker passions extend to sports fandom and his role as a proud dog owner. At the Caruthers Law Firm, we take a refreshingly transparent and candid approach when assessing our potential clients circumstances. We believe in clear, honest, and direct communication, leaving aside the legal jargon to speak in terms that our clients can readily understand. Each client is treated as a unique individual, receiving personalized and attentive care throughout their legal journey with us.

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