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7 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make When Filing Claims

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As a small business owner, you have consistently paid your insurance premiums. When the time comes to file a claim, it can be a shock to have your claim denied and be forced to pay out of pocket – especially when you believed you were covered. These are the most common mistakes small business owners make:

Failed to Understand Covered Perils
Insurance policies cover specific “perils” only. Business owners may believe they are covered when a facility is damaged by flood, fire, earthquakes or other natural disasters – but this may not prove to be true. You need to know what your policy covers and understanding the small print is not easy. Talk to an insurance agent and ensure you fully understand what is covered, and what is not, and put a policy in place to fill the gaps.

Failing to File a Claim Quickly
If you wait too long to file a claim, it makes the entire process far more difficult and can lead to having a claim denied. Rather than attempting to repair your restaurant, call your insurance provider so an adjuster is dispatched to your facility as quickly as possible after the event.

Failing to Fully Document the Damage
Ensure you take pictures and videos of every area that was damaged. The details of damaged equipment, inventory, or goods must be very thorough. Keep a log of your conversations with your insurance company, and copies of any correspondence. Your insurance company is far more likely to pay what you deserve under the terms of your policy when the losses are thoroughly documented.

Discarding Damaged Goods
If you throw away the damaged goods, you may lose the ability to recover compensation for the loss. You have taken images and video but must retain the damaged goods so that the insurance company can confirm the losses.

Admitting Fault
You may believe you are at fault in some way if someone was injured on your property. Never admit fault as this could cause your insurance company to deny your claim. Allow the investigation into what happened to proceed without admitting fault.

Failing to Cooperate with your Insurer
Your policy will state that you must cooperate in the investigation into what occurred. When they ask for documentation, you need to be prepared to send it to them in a timely manner, including video, pictures, and receipts. If you wait or fail to send this information, your claim may be denied, or it will take far longer for any claim payment to arrive.

Paying Claims Out of Pocket
If a customer slips and falls and is injured on your property, you may feel inclined to pay their medical bills – a mistake. Your insurance policy will not reimburse you when you try to recover the cost. Many policies bar policyholders from making these payments, and if you do, your claim could be denied.

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