Claims happen to all of us, be it home, auto, or other. But since none of us plan on having claims or accidents, we don’t think about what needs to be done until that moment. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Preparations and Precautions

The first step is to carry continuous insurance. We have seen many accidents occur immediately after a policy has lapsed, leaving absolutely no coverage or help in paying for damages and losses. This means paying insurance on time and ensuring that you have the appropriate coverages. Full coverage may be a good idea if losing your car would be devastating or a significant financial burden. If you have highly valuable possessions, be sure that the coverages on your insurance cover that value.

With appropriate insurance coverage, precaution relies solely on you. Homes, autos, and properties should be maintained to reduce risk. Things such as regular maintenance and orderliness reduce fire and liability hazards. Driving habits should be cautious and safe, allowing room for error in other vehicles. Taking defensive driving courses may be a good option that can even merit a discount with some insurance companies. 

Protect yourself, others, and your property as best as you can. Accidents happen, but most of them are preventable. At the very least, losses can be mitigated with proper efforts. Prevent losses from accidents by preparing against the risk. Keep updated, serviced fire extinguishers readily available. Regularly backup electronic data. Acquire a fire and waterproof lockbox for important original documents. Review evacuation plans with your family so that each member knows what the plan is in case of an emergency. 

What to do First

Safety is always first. Assess the situation and determine any action required to keep everyone from further harm. Auto accidents in high traffic areas require drivers and passengers to remain in the vehicle to stay most protected. Uncontrolled fire requires distance, and excessive water necessitates higher ground. Situations may change, and adjustments for safety may be needed.

Preventing further damage is the responsibility of the insured in the insurance contract. Contacting the appropriate professionals should be done once individuals are safe. Police officers should be called for police reports in auto accidents or instances of theft or vandalism. Flood restoration should be contacted as soon as possible to reduce additional damage from flooding. 

Reporting losses should be made as soon as possible. Failing to report a claim to an insurance company in a timely manner may result in a series of issues. Even getting a police report on a minor fender bender may be important to appropriately document the occurrence and prevent other parties from changing the story.

What Information to Gather

Note the details of the accident. Claims adjusters will need to know the cause of each loss with as much detail as possible. Take photos to document the loss, especially in cases when immediate repairs are needed. Collect police reports and insurance information when other individuals or parties are involved. This all helps in setting up a claim and getting everything settled quickly.

During the claim investigation, keep track of repair estimates, medical bills, claim numbers, and contact information to have them readily available in processing the claim. Keep in mind that the adjuster will be the person to talk to for any claim-related questions and approvals.   

Finally, remember what you’ve learned when everything is said and done, and the small nightmare is over. You may be the one to offer wise advice to handle or hopefully prevent future losses and claims.

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