Guide

Business insurance: the basics

Insurance losses and claims

If you have suffered a loss that is covered by insurance, you must notify the insurer as soon as possible. Legally, it is up to you to show that you have a valid claim under your policy. This means:

  • showing that you have suffered a loss
  • showing that the loss is covered under the insurance policy
  • quantifying the amount of the loss

Your insurance policy should spell out how much time can pass between the incident occurring (or you becoming aware of it occurring) and you notifying the insurer. If you report later than this, the insurer may refuse to pay.

It is helpful to provide as many details as possible so the claim can be settled quickly - for example, by taking photographs of the incident. You could consider keeping disposable cameras at sites or asking employees to use camera phones to record this information. You may also have to provide proof of:

  • ownership of items lost or damaged
  • the value of items lost or damaged
  • the cost of emergency repairs
  • the cost of permanent repairs

You may also need a police crime reference number. Failing to provide enough information can also lead to your claim being refused.

Large or complex claims

If your claim is large or complex, the insurer will probably appoint a loss adjuster to negotiate the settlement. Although appointed and paid by the insurer, the loss adjuster must remain impartial. They should also advise on what to do after the incident, including which specialist companies can carry out the repair work.

If you feel that the loss adjuster has reached an unfair settlement, you may want to appoint a loss assessor to act on your behalf in negotiations.