If I have to make a claim on my Insurance how can I be sure that it will go through quickly?
Insurance Companies and Brokers are only usually as good as the time they pay your claim so it is important to make sure that not only do you choose the right Company to protect you but you spend some time getting it right when you initially insure - after all, a little trouble at the beginning is nothing especially if it means your claim sails through with the minimum of fuss.
How can I make sure my insurance is right at the beginning?
Look at the policy you are taking out. Is it new for old? If it is, then you should look at what your equipment will cost to replace as new. Many photographers make the mistake of depreciating their equipment over time. Whilst this might be true for your tax contributions, generally, if you need to replace it the model you have will have been "superseded" by a newer one which invariably costs more. It is the cost of the new camera you should be insuring for - after all, that is what you will need if yours cannot be repaired!
I have incepted a policy
The important thing to do now is read the policy documents. Make sure you fully understand what is and is not covered! Usually, Insurance Companies will point out key items on the policy - if you're unsure then email or call them and ask again, after all it is better to be safe than sorry! Watch out for UAV - unattended vehicle cover. Many Insurers have limits on the times that equipment can be left in a vehicle and some, like Aaduki, will allow you to extend if you request it and sometimes pay a small additional amount.
If the policy is not suitable for your needs, most Insurance Companies will allow you up to 14 days to cancel without penalty. Remember, this doesn't mean you can have "free" insurance - it just means that you don't have to pay any cancellation charges.
Insurance contracts are just that - contracts and even if you pay monthly by Direct Debit and cancel in the middle of the policy "term" you might still have to pay the remaining months as you agreed the policy at the beginning. Be aware, if your client cancelled a wedding you wouldn't refund their deposit or fee, so don't expect your money back on insurance either.
Whenever you buy a piece of equipment you will obtain a receipt - even if it is 2nd hand on ebay! The best thing to do is to scan that receipt onto your computer at home so you can keep it. After all, if you have a claim you don't want it delayed because you have to get the receipt back from your Accountant! Insurance Companies will expect you to have kept the receipt. If you are earning an income through photography, then you should be paying tax on it and you would have to keep a receipt for the taxman for up to 6 years so bear this in mind if you make a claim. Most Insurance Companies will ask for the original receipt but a scanned copy will mean that the claim shouldn't be held up in the meantime.
I need to make a claim what do I do now?
The first thing to do is contact your Insurance Company. Most will be able
to email a claim form through to you to complete and whilst they may ask for
an original signed document back, a completed emailed claim form will
suffice to get the claim moving.
It is very important that if you have a complaint about your work, or a potential Public Liability claim that you notify the Insurance Company immediately. If no claim is made then this should not affect any No Claims Discount you have, but sometimes for these claims early intervention from the Insurance Company can stop a claim becoming VERY expensive for everyone!
My equipment is broken
Once you have completed the claim form it is wise to try and get everything
sent to the Insurance Company at once. That way, no information is missing
and there is no delay in any decision being made as the Company has all the
documents it will need.
If your equipment is broken, take it to a recognised dealer / repairer and get a quote to have it fixed. If it cannot be fixed, then get the repairer to note that on a report for you and to quote for a new replacement model. It is worth noting that some retailers send the equipment away to the manufacturer and this can cause a delay of several days. It is worth checking with your Insurance Company if they use someone on a regular basis - that might help speed up the whole process for you.
DO NOT DELAY - you might have no work booked in for 2 weeks but if the claim takes longer to settle then you will be asking for hire equipment whilst it is being dealt with. If you have waited for 2 weeks to make a claim, then the Insurance Company may say you must wait 2 weeks before they will give you any hire equipment. If you think about it, they are being reasonable - after all, you could have claimed straight away!
I have all the reports and have completed the claim form - what do I do now?
Send all the information together to your Insurance Company. Remember they have up to 5 working days to respond to you but most will confirm immediately. It is worth asking for a confirmation they have received it and to ask them for a timescale - how long do they think it will take. Remember, they may be forwarding your information on to Insurers to make a decision so may not know!
It has been 4 days - what should I do now?
Most claims are dealt with quickly but Insurers may want to think about
particular circumstances that relate to individual claims and this can cause
a delay. It is worth giving your Insurance Company a ring and seeing if they
have heard or if they can chase it up for you. Most Insurance Companies will
be hot on the case - after all they want the claims paid quickly so you
re-insure with them the following year!
Remember - your Insurance Company sometimes doesn't make the decision. It is better to stay calm and professional with them - they are usually on your side.
I want to replace my equipment with something else not the next model
Make sure you discuss this with the claims adviser when you put your claim in. It is sometimes worth adding an extra note when you submit the claim and expect to be asked "why" - in the past, this has been used as a way of making fraudulent claims so Insurers will want to now why you don't want the equipment replaced. Don't be surprised if they then choose to supply the replacement equipment you have chosen instead of allowing you the money to purchase it yourself.
I want my claim to be smooth and quick how do I guarantee this?
There is never a guarantee that your claim will go through smoothly however there are a few simple things you can do to make sure the Insurer deals with it as quickly as they can:
- Don't lie or exaggerate on your claim form. If Insurers think you are doing this they will investigate further meaning a delay in settling your claim and ultimately if they believe it is fraudulent your claim not being paid.
- Provide all the details you need together. A completed claim form, receipts for the equipment, repair report, police report (if needed) - if the information all comes in together it will be dealt with quicker as Insurers will not need to come back and ask for additional information.
- Be professional. The people you are dealing with will try and get this settled for you as quickly as possible. Shouting at them won't make an Insurer make a decision any quicker!
By trying to follow these simple guidelines it should make the whole experience less painful. Insurance Companies know that you don't want the hassle of a claim so will do their best to get you up and running as soon as they can - so anything you can do to help make their decision process quicker will benefit everyone.
Call us on 020 3633 2280 for more advice or if you have a specific question.