Five things that you should never do in the case of a household insurance claim[Dagmar Gilden | 10.04]
According to Dagmar Gilden, Asset Insurance Product Manager at Seesam, an increasing number of people each year are becoming aware of the need for Home Insurance, although a surprising number of those people make mistakes when reacting to an accident, mistakes that may come back to haunt them.
‘Regardless of whether it is a roof that was damaged during a storm, a living room that suffered water damage, a home that was damaged by fire or vandals, acting hastily and without thinking in those situations may affect the volume and the extent of damage, as well as the compensation that is received for the damage. Doing so also complicates the work of the insurer and the police,' said Gilden.
Seesam’s representative put together a list of the five most common mistakes that people make when it comes to a household insurance claim, and is sharing advice on how to handle things in the right way.
Hold off on starting construction and repair work!
Theft is typically accompanied by a great deal of confusion and broken items, a neighbour’s residence may be damaged due to the bursting of a water pipe or a leaking washing machine, and an unattended candle may end with even greater chaos. A person’s initial reaction in such a situation is to repair their home as quickly as possible and only then to notify their insurer or the police. This means that the insurer is no longer able to determine the cause and extent of the damage. For example, in the case of theft, it is important not to disturb the crime scene, so that the police are better able to perform their work.
If the clean-up process really can’t wait, then the situation should be photographed, for example, using a mobile phone.
Repairs should not be started until the insurer grants consent to take further action.
Do not throw damaged items away!
People often tend to throw away damaged items, but later wish to receive compensation for them. It is important to preserve all of the property that remains, regardless of how poor its condition. The more evidence a person has about the objects requiring compensation, the easier it is for the insurer to assess the amount of damage and provide compensation.
In the case of household insurance you can take pictures of the damaged objects, where the extent of the damage is visible, and send them to the insurer. The best thing to do would be hold onto the damaged items until the amount of damage has been determined.
Don’t throw away your receipts!
In Seesam’s experience, it is often the case that people don’t keep the receipts for brand new items. At the same time, receipts are the simplest means for proving the amount of damage. In the case of the absence of the corresponding documents it is more difficult to assess the extent of the damage and loss adjustment takes longer.
Don’t forget the police!
In the case of theft the crime scene should be preserved as it is, the police should be immediately notified, and a report should be filed. By working together with the police, there is a chance that thieves might be caught quickly and the stolen items could possibly find their way back to their owner.
In many cases people don’t consider a small lie to be criminal and provide flawed information regarding the circumstances of the loss. It is well known that a lie has no legs! The police and insurer often cooperate on cases, and everything is examined with the greatest of detail. The individuals who get off easiest are those whose claim for compensation is simply refused by the insurer, but actually it may unexpectedly become clear that the police are dealing with the matter and punishment is waiting for them instead of the hoped for proceeds. Estonian law permits the committers of fraud to be punished with up to five years of imprisonment.