How To Settle An Insurance Claim Without A Lawyer – Home Insurance Claim Settlement Process helps you to make good the financial loss that occurred due to natural or man-made disasters. It helps you to restore your dream home and prized possessions in it. It makes you resilient against impending disasters and gives you hope to start over after a financial loss occurs as a result of an insured contingency. Claim settlement process is considered a somewhat complicated process where you have to be vigilant about the way you report the cause and extent of financial losses. For the exact amount of damages on account of the eventuality suffered, you must make sure that all the facts have been fully and truly reported. Any discrepancy in your reporting or recording of the cause or amount of damages could prevent you from receiving the proper claim.
Let me now take you through various steps you can follow to claim the amount of loss caused by any insured peril:
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In case of any eventuality, you should take immediate measures to reduce the damage. You should call the respective disaster management authorities to reduce the severity of the loss. Imagine that your house is on fire, then apart from taking steps to put out the fire yourself, you must immediately call the fire department. Precautionary measures taken to prevent the fire from spreading help to save the remaining property.
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In another scenario, if you find your house broken into, your next step should be to lodge an FIR immediately at the police station. In case of home property that is damaged by a natural disaster like flood or cyclone, you should call the disaster management personnel for help without much delay.
Any failure on your part to take control of the situation can be interpreted as your lackadaisical attitude by the insurance company, and it can affect the indemnification received under the claim process.
Once you have taken control of the situation under loss limitation measures, the next step is to notify your insurance company; within the time limit or deadline specified in the policy, about the eventuality by calling their 24/7 free helpline number. Your insurer will require basic information about what happened, how it happened, whether only the house property was damaged or the contents were also disabled and the extent of the damage in monetary terms suffered by you to start the claim process. It is a very crucial step, if you delay the intimation of the insurer, you may face problems with the determination of the claim. Make sure to provide all reasonable details, as what is left undocumented would not be taken into account in the calculation of the amount of compensation. The right step taken at the right time goes a long way in speeding up the matter.
Your home insurance policy not only forms documentary evidence of the contract between you and the insurance company, but it also contains all risk-related information. It tells you about the amount of the insured sum, the type of risks covered and excluded, how to submit the claim and the deadline for reporting a loss. In case of financial loss, you should check your home insurance policy about the scope of the coverage and whether the cause of the loss falls within its action or not. If you cannot find your policy, contact your insurance broker or insurer immediately.
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When the disaster management team is done with reducing the loss, you may find the house in a bad shape. Do not try to put things back in their proper place, as it may involve manipulation of the place where the damage occurred. Instead, you can document the entire scene by taking photos, and you can even record video to keep the evidence intact. Especially in the case of burglary, your recorded video can greatly help you recover the actual amount of damages at the time of settlement of the claim.
The insurance company calculates the amount of the loss after an inspection, but it will be prudent to make a preliminary evaluation of the damage yourself. Does not depend entirely on the insurance company’s loss estimates. It is so because there is always a tendency of the insurer to underestimate the amount of liability that is paid to the insured. So, if you make some efforts to evaluate how deep a hole has been burned in your pocket due to the disaster, then it will help you to get the right amount of the claim.
Based on the information you provide to the insurer, the home insurance company would request an appointment from a licensed surveyor to assess and settle the loss. Surveyors must be appointed to conduct an impartial inspection of the damage and speed up the claim process. Usually, it is not mandatory for an insurer to appoint a surveyor every time you report a loss. However, if the estimated amount of loss is more than Rs. 20000, then the IRDA regulations make this requirement mandatory.
So if your insurer tells you that your house will be visited by the investigator, you should be present on that particular day to help the investigator conduct the investigation well. For establishment of your identity and preparation of surveyor’s report, the surveyor would ask you to submit the following documents:
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Any failure on your part to provide the required documents may delay the loss assessment process. After a detailed inspection, the surveyor prepares a report with the following details:
– Details and value of the salvage, and how it was disposed of or proposed to be disposed of
– Details of other insurance policies on the same property, and the distribution of loss and expenses between co-insureds.
After the surveyor’s report is prepared, you should check it thoroughly to enter the details of the loss correctly. You should remember that any mistakes in the preparation of the report will affect your chances of getting the full claim amount.
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The IRDA has prescribed a certain time limit for the general insurance companies regarding claim processing and settlement. Normally the surveyor must submit the surveyor’s report within 30 days from the date of his appointment. If your insurance company requires an additional survey report, it should be submitted by the surveyor within 15 days. After that, your insurer will give you an offer to settle the claim within 30 days of receiving the report and all other documents. If you accept the offer, the insurer will pay the claim amount within seven days of such acceptance. If there is a delay by your insurer in paying the claim amount, you are entitled to an interest rate of 2% above the bank rate of the claim amount.
In the event of a discrepancy that amounts to a rejection of your claim, the insurer must provide you with written reasons for such rejection within 30 days of receiving the survey report and all other documents.
Let me now take you through the Grievance Redressal Mechanism set up by IRDA that you can follow in case of dissatisfaction with the Claim Settlement Process:
1. You should first approach your insurance company and register your complaint with them. If you are not satisfied with their response, then you can approach the IRDA.
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– Visit www.igms.irda.gov.in and register your complaint in the Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS), which is an online system for registering and tracking insurance grievances. or
– Write a complaint letter to IRDA and post it to the address “Consumer Affairs Department, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, 3rd Floor, Parishram Bhavan, Basheerbagh, Hyderabad:4” OR
– Call the IRDA call center on its toll free number 18004254732. The call center is operational from 8 am to 8 pm and from Monday to Saturday. You can register your complaint in Hindi, English or any other Indian language.
3. After your complaint is registered with IRDA, it will take up the matter with your insurer. The insurer must resolve your complaint within 15 days from the date of receipt of such complaint.
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4. If your grievance remains unresolved, IRDA may also advise you to contact the Insurance Ombudsman and seek redressal as per the procedure in the Redressal of Public Grievances Rules, 1998.
KishorKumar Balpalli, believes that financial literacy and discipline is the key to financial freedom. KishorKumar is a certified financial planner, personal finance blogger & the founder of an award-winning wealth management platform. simplifies investing for individuals and enhances business growth for registered investment advisors by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning. The AI of the machine plus the intellect of the human advisor enables comprehensive & client-centric advice at a fraction of the cost of a conventional advisor.
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