Processing insurance claims can be difficult for any family. Policyholders, justifiably or not, believe their insurance claims have merit, and will seek full payment. Insurers, while legally bound to honor an insurance claim, have an interest in not having to pay out too much. Reconciling the two interests can be done, but you need to be organized. Be sure you read your policy carefully, document an event well, and then be assertive when submitting to the insurance claim process.
A word about applicability. The below advice on insurance claims applies mostly to property and casualty insurance, although some financial insurance, such as life insurance and liability, are perfectly applicable. Business insurance, bond default insurance, and other type of financial insurances are extremely murky. To determine how best to proceed with insurance claims for these policies, consult a business lawyer.
The first thing you should do for any insurance claims is to see if the policy covers the event, and if so, what is the payout. Take home insurance. Let us say your home is destroyed by a flood. Unless you have insurance from the federal government, you cannot file insurance claims. Now let us say fire or tornado destroyed your home. Does insurance cover such events? What is the payout? Does it pay based on the assessed value of the home, the purchasing price of the home, or the cash value to actually replace the home?
Once you establish you have legitimate insurance claims, document it. If a house is destroyed, take detailed photographs, and keep relevant news clippings, police reports or weather reports. Submit these with any insurance claims form.
Once the insurance claims form is submitted, be assertive. Many insurers are tempted to offer the least possible payout. Be firm in your assertion of a claim. Often, they will work with you, and may even offer more than you were looking for.
The insurance claims process can be frustrating, but one must be organized. Being organized and assertive ensures you get what you need to move on. It also offers you piece of mind that you stood up for yourself.