Have you left it too late to make an insurance claim for damage?

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Have you left it too late to claim for your damage?

When loss or damage takes place in your home or to your belongings, the first thing you will be grateful for is that you have the insurance to repair or replace. In most cases, insurers will happily cover damage or loss to property and belongings, as long procedures are followed and the correct timeframe is considered.

Let’s take a look at some general terms and conditions that we follow in terms of the claims procedure.

Report your claim with a reasonable timeframe.

It is critical that all incidents giving rise to an insurance claim, be reported to your broker/insurer within 30 days of the incident occurring. This allows for the person claiming to gather all necessary information and documentation (e.g. police reports) to file to the insurer. Claims made months or years after an occurrence are unreasonable and will not be covered.

Within this thirty days, you are required to provide your insurer with the necessary documentation as stated above, which includes:

  • Written details of the event.
  • Any proof, information and sworn declarations that may be required.
  • Any document or details of any communication received in connection with a claim.

The insurer is not liable for any claim after twelve months have expired from the date of the event that resulted in the claim, unless the claim is the subject of a pending court action between the client and the insurer, or is a claim for sums for which you may become legally liable to a third party.

Take necessary action to prevent further damage.

If damage to a property or belongings is the result of negligence on the part of the owner, your claim may not be paid out by the insurer. For example, if you are aware of water damage in the ceiling, but choose to ignore it until it becomes critical to replace your ceiling or parts thereof, the insurer may not be liable for this cost. Simply because you were aware of the damage that was occurring and did nothing to prevent it further.

You must take all reasonable precautions to prevent loss or damage, bodily injury, and accidents, and take the necessary steps to prevent further damage following an insured event.

Things you can do before and after an incident has occurred to avoid not being covered.

  • Notify your broker if you are going to be away for a long period of time. Some insurers require notice if you are away for more than 30 consecutive days, some more than 14 consecutive days.
  • Keep your emergency assist numbers handy for any incidents that happen on the road or travelling to your destination.
  • Notification of a claim to your broker can be a mere telephone call. You do not have to necessarily put anything in writing. The sooner, the better.
  • In this day and age of smartphones and free internet/wifi, take a picture of damages sustained and use the CC&A App to notify us of any claims or potential claims.

Knowing what is required of you in the event of an incident occurring, and taking the necessary precautions to prevent as much damage and loss as possible, will help you immensely in the long run. Speak to your broker about what is and is not covered by your insurance and possibly relook at your cover for the new year ahead.

Stay safe for the holidays and remember to keep your insurer informed.