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How to File an Insurance Claim

How to File an Insurance Claim

Insurance is like a security alarm system. You may sleep better knowing you have it, but you hope it’ll never be activated. If you do need insurance, however, it’s helpful to know what to do.

For a claim under any insurance policy, the first step is to notify your insurance agent that you have incurred a loss. Your agent will tell you what to do next and send along the necessary claim forms to be filled out.

The second step is to fill out those forms and submit them as quickly as possible. In the case of a life insurance claim, you may have to submit the policy document itself, along with the claim form and a death certificate. Insurance companies generally act very promptly to pay claims, but they cannot act until the paperwork is complete. Doing your share will help speed things up.

Although your agent can help you with the details, you’ll find it helpful if you’ve kept policies and any related information close at hand. For example, life insurance policies generally should not be kept in a safe-deposit box. In most states, boxes are temporarily sealed upon the death of the owner. Although an executor can obtain access to the box to locate a will and insurance policies, the need to do so could slow receipt of the funds just when they are needed most. Also, if you own homeowners or renters insurance, keep an updated inventory of your possessions, along with any documentation relating to their worth. This will help you substantiate the value of your belongings in the event of a covered loss.

You also need to be aware that when dealing with certain types of insurance, such as health or automobile insurance, some companies pay claims directly, and others only reimburse you after you have paid the bill. This payment status can be influenced by the in-house policy of your insurance company, standard industry practice, or the individual policies of providers in the field.

Policies also frequently require a deductible amount that may result in your receiving an initial bill following a covered loss. Once that amount is satisfied, there may or may not be a co-payment feature under which the insurance company pays a designated percentage of all covered claims, and you are responsible for paying the balance up to a specified amount. See your individual policies for the specific deductible or co-payment amounts that apply to your coverage.

Insurance coverage can help lighten your burden when facing difficult circumstances. You may be able to further ease your mind by fully understanding your insurance policies and the steps you need to take in order to file a claim.

*Guaranteed interest rates are based on the claims-paying ability of the underlying insurance company. Surrender penalties may apply. Additional benefits and riders may increase the cost of the premium or reduce the interest rate earned. Applicants are subject to underwriting, which may include medical history and current health.*