“Moment of Truth” 5 Steps to Fair Settlement at Claims Time

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It doesn’t much matter where you buy your insurance, or whether you get the cheapest price, or if at renewal time you select the same policy year-after-year . . . until you file a claim.

All of a sudden when you file a claim—what you paid, your level of coverage and the reputation of the insurance provider—they all become deal makers or deal breakers. Claims time is where the rubber meets the road. It is the ‘moment of truth.’

When disaster strikes . . . what do you need to do to get a fair settlement when you file a claim?

1. Strong Advocacy

To get a fair settlement at claims time it’s important to have someone in your corner. An independent insurance broker is just such an advocate. (This is in contrast to a “captive agent” or a “direct writer” who in essence acts as both your judge and jury!) Your independent insurance broker advocates for you to ensure that:

  • Your claim is handled in a timely manner—when you need it and not when someone gets around to it
  • Proactively communicates with you and stays on top of your claim each step of the way
  • Applies their expertise and experience in your behalf with the underwriter so that you get a fair settlement—without the hassles

Strength in Numbers

When you need to file an insurance claim for your home you want to negotiate from a position of strength. Park Insurance gives you that strength at claims time. How so?

When you insure with an independent insurance broker, you are part of something much bigger, much more powerful. You take on the buying power and influence of thousands of fellow clients.

Here is how it works. The insurance company wants your business—and to keep it. So it knows that it has to consistently deliver great coverage, competitive pricing, and a high level of customer service because you now belong to a much bigger group with much greater clout.

So, the insurance company is more motivated to keep you satisfied throughout the entire insurance cycle, including settling your claims fairly and quickly.

Tip No. 1: Get the clout you need. Insure with an independent insurance broker. You’ll be happy you did when you make a claim.

2. Right Coverage

The next critical element that leads to fair compensation and satisfaction when filing a claim is to obtain coverage uniquely appropriate to your home and assets. Getting the right coverage is like a fireman or police officer who carefully chooses their protective equipment that is unique to their needs. When trouble comes up they’re covered.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that everyone’s life changes—frequently. Maybe you renovated your home or moved to a larger one; or, you’ve added a suite to your home so its value has increased; maybe you started a home-based business, etc.

In all of these situations, and others, it is important to update your coverage. For example, if you don’t update your insurance coverage when you add a suite to your home, then the policy you bought prior to adding the suite may not adequately cover your losses when making a claim. In fact, you could void your entire policy!

Tip No. 2: Re-assess your home insurance policy each year. You’ll be happy you did when you make a claim.

3. Expertise

Insurance Expert. You need to buy your insurance from an expert—not from a call centre. The insurance experts take the time to understand your precise needs. They know the right questions to ask so you’re not left with gaps in your coverage; gaps that could come back to bite you at claims time.

They will also take the necessary time to clearly explain the differences in coverage and their relevant importance to your home or other properties.

Risk Advisor. An independent insurance broker also acts as a risk advisor. They are a resource of information on how to take preventive measures to protect your home and assets. Or, how to minimize your losses.

In addition, as new risks emerge (and they always do), or as your insurance needs change, an experienced broker stays alert and pro-actively keeps you informed of these changes so that there are no gaps in your coverage.

Think of your insurance broker as a part of your safety network, in a similar way to the local fire and police departments. Your broker’s level of knowledge, experience, and expertise are all critical to getting satisfactory results at claims time.

Tip No. 3: Get an insurance expert on your side. Reduce your risks. Increase your level of satisfaction when you make a claim.

4. Excellent Service

Excellent customer service begins long before you call for a quote or become a customer. It starts with philosophy—customers before profits. This customer services philosophy continues throughout the entire insurance cycle.

Excellent service can be tricky to identify, particularly if you’ve never done business with an insurance provider before. One sure way to asses this is by what clients say about their experience with the company. Are they repeat customers? Would they recommend the company to their friends or colleagues? In this regard, a 2012 survey of claimants under one of Park Insurance’s group programs found that 98.8% would recommend the Program to their friends or relatives!

Tip No. 4: Select an insurance broker who can deliver excellent customer service throughout the entire insurance cycle. You’ll be happy you did at claims time.

5. Value Pricing

We all love to get a “steal of a deal.” We like having bragging rights when we get a better price on a product or service compared to what a friend or colleague got. However, think of home insurance as a parachute. Or, maybe the brakes on your vehicle. When there is so much at stake, a cheap parachute or cheap brakes is not that appealing. It’s not something we brag about. Or take chances with.

Similarly, saving a few dollars on your home insurance policy could become your worst nightmare if you are left with insufficient coverage when you really need it – at claims time! When buying home insurance it’s better to focus on getting great value. Value pricing is balancing all of the foregoing elements, which will put you in the best position to get a fair settlement when filing a home insurance claim.

Tip No. 5: Go for true value: 1) Strong Advocacy, 2) Right Coverage, 3) Expertise, 4) Excellent Service, 5) Competitive Pricing. You’ll be happy you did at claims time.

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