Auto Claims: A Step By Step Process

Auto Claims: A Step By Step Process

Driver Making Phone Call After Traffic AccidentWhen you have been in an accident or your car has been stolen or vandalized, you may not know where to start or what to expect.  The call to your insurance agency or claims department to open a claim starts a process that can be confusing.  While the details of the claims process may differ from company to company and depending on the type of claim, the basic process is similar for every claim.  This step-by-step guide will get you through the claims maze.

The First Step: Filing A Claim

When you call your insurance agency to file a claim you may be understandably upset, and it can be easy to forget some of the details.  Before calling, sit down and write out the details of what happened as best you can recall.  If you were able to take photos of the damage to your vehicle, have them on hand to use as a reference.  Your call to submit a claim might take a while, so be prepared to be on the phone with no distractions, and ready to answer all the necessary questions.

The Second Step: Meeting The Adjuster

Depending on the type of claim and how your insurance company handles claims, you may need to meet with the assigned adjuster to view the damage to your car.  There may be more questions at this time regarding the incident, so keep your notes and photographs handy.  If there was a police report filed on the incident, the adjuster may wish to go over the details of the report with you.  In the case of a theft, you might also be asked for a list of what was taken from or off the vehicle.

The Third Step: Determining Fault And Value

After the adjuster has seen the damage, spoken with all parties, and reviewed the police report, a decision will be made as to who was at fault in the incident.  If it was not an accident, but a theft or vandalism, obviously no fault will be assigned.  At this point in an accident scenario, your adjuster will also be working with the adjuster from the other company on behalf of the driver of the other vehicle.  If they agree on fault, the claim goes forward.  If not, mediation may occur.

Finally, a value will be assigned to the damage done to your vehicle, deciding how much it will cost to repair and how much the insurance company will pay.  If the cost to repair the car exceeds the value of the car, then a total loss may be declared.

Final Steps: Closing The Claim

In a straightforward claim, payment will be made, the car repaired, and the claim will be closed.  More complicated claims involving bodily injury or multiple drivers may take longer.  In most cases, however, the claims process is completed relatively swiftly.

Condo Insurance

Condo Insurance

Condo Coverage

As a homeowner, obtaining a good home insurance policy that protects your home and family is one of the essential costs related to purchasing a home.  But if you own a condo there may be some additional considerations in selecting a home insurance policy that is right for you.  Here is a breakdown of the kind of coverage you need as a condo owner, and some tips on finding the right policy.

Ownership Issues

Since the actual property ownership of condos includes both private and shared property, condo insurance must cover both.  In the case of shared property, the major concern is liability insurance that will cover any damage that may be caused by your negligence or an accident that would damage shared property or the property of another condo owner.

Condo Association Coverage

Another issue to consider is whether your Condo Association has blanket coverage that will protect you from damages that may be caused by other condo owners who do not have liability insurance, or have limited coverage.  Since condo owners pay fees that include a number of shared costs, such as property maintenance and some utilities, insurance should be offered by your Condo Association to protect you in these cases.  If yours does not, you may want to check out ways to include it.  In most cases this type of shared coverage will cost each owner less than individual liability insurance and will keep all condo owners protected.

Content Coverage

Living in a gated community or secured building, as most condo complexes are, may give you a false sense of security.  If your condo insurance does not cover your unit’s contents from theft and other damage you could be leaving a huge gap in your coverage.  Also, if you own valuable items such as jewelry or antiques your content coverage may not protect the full value of these items and a rider may be necessary.

A qualified insurance agent can give you all the information you’ll need to keep your condo protected, and keep you protected from liability.


Protect Yourself: Professional Liability Insurance

Protect Yourself: Professional Liability Insurance

Whatever your profession, protecting yourself with professional liability insurance is not just a smart thing to do, but a necessity in today’s litigious society.  You have worked hard and put in years of education and work to get where you are in your career.  Without the right coverage for potential negligence suits, you could lose everything you have worked so hard to achieve.

What It Covers

General liability insurance can protect you from a wide variety of claims against you and your business, but will not protect you from the type of lawsuit that can result from the simple errors we are all capable of making.  Nor will it protect you from claims made against you that are unfounded.  Remember that even if there is no truth to the accusations against you, you can still find yourself in court defending yourself and your professional reputation against them at a very high cost to you.

Those who provide a service or advice, or in any other way use their knowledge and experience to help others are in need of professional liability insurance.  This includes things like errors and omissions insurance and malpractice insurance, both of which are types of professional liability.  The similarity is that the types of lawsuits brought against professionals are usually based on actions, advice, or services that may not have caused property damage or direct injury but nonetheless can in some way be shown to be a result of the negligence of the professional.

Don’t Take Chances

You do your best to provide good advice, to make sure that everything you do and offer to your clients is as accurate and helpful as possible, but everyone makes mistakes.  And even when you didn’t make a mistake, all it takes is someone who is unhappy with the outcome to turn on you and put the blame at your feet.  These lawsuits can cost professionals incredible amounts of money, even if you win.  Having to pay out on such a lawsuit can easily bankrupt even the most well off professional.

Professional liability insurance provides you with the means to defend your good name in court against accusations as well as to pay out on settlements when you are found to be negligent.  Without it, you could find yourself not only out a lot of money, but your reputation could be on the line because you are unable to fight an unfounded lawsuit.  Don’t take chances; protect everything you have worked so hard for with the right professional liability policy for your industry.  Your insurance agent can help you to ensure you have the coverage you need to have complete peace of mind.