Why is record-keeping important when it comes to insurance claims?
Experiencing an insurance loss can be an emotional and stressful time, then having to make an insurance claim can feel daunting. As part of most insurance claims, there will be documents to find and submit as well as forms to complete so that your insurer can process the claim. We have an in-house claims team who are on hand to help you every step of the way from first notification all the way through to the settlement. Although our experienced team are always on hand to help it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with some of the documents and records that you might be asked to produce in the event of a claim. Good record keeping can help to speed up the claims process, reduce the amount of time and money that is spent on investigations, and help to ensure that the claim is paid fairly.
Here are some of the important records that you should keep in case of an insurance claim:
Police reports: If the claim involves criminal activity, you should always report this to the police. The police crime number can then be submitted to your insurer. In the event of a road traffic accident, you don’t need to report a collision to the police if you’ve exchanged details, nobody was injured and there are no allegations of driving offences. You must report the collision to the police if you were unable to exchange details at the scene if anyone was injured, or if you suspect that the other person may have committed a driving offence. You can use the police reference number for insurance purposes.
Witness statements: If there are any witnesses to the accident, you should get their contact information and ask them to write a statement about what they saw.
Photographs or videos: If possible, you should take photographs or videos of the scene of the claim. These images can be used to document the damage to property and, if appropriate, injuries that were sustained. Record the position of the vehicles on the road, the number of peple in each vehicle and the weather conditions which are all important factors.
Receipts: If you have any expenses related to the claim such as property repairs or expenses, you should keep the receipts. These receipts can be used to show the insurance company the cost of your losses. What we tend to say to people are take photos of videos of expensive items, this applies to domestic and commercial settings.
Accounts and Financial records: It is always important to be able to access up-to-date records of accounts and financial statements. If you suffer a flood, fire or storm damage to your business premises, as well as the physical damage to your property and stock the running of your business could be interrupted. In these cases, it is likely that your insurer will need copies of your financial accounts, such as profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
Health and Safety records: If the accident is work-related, you should keep all Health & Safety records, such as risk assessments, incident reports, and training records. These records can be used to show that you have taken steps to prevent accidents and that you are complying with Health & Safety regulations. If there is any CCTV footage of events, then that should be stored, particularly if it is a public or employers liability claim.
By keeping these records and having them easily accessible, you can help to ensure that your insurance claim is processed quickly and fairly.
In addition to the above, here are some more reasons why record-keeping is important:
- To help you remember the details of the event. It can be difficult to remember everything that happened during an accident or other incident, especially if it was traumatic. By keeping records, you can help to jog your memory and make sure that you don’t miss any important details when you are notifying us of a claim.
- To provide evidence to your insurer. It is the policyholder’s responsibility to prepare the information and evidence to support your claim, such as crime numbers, witness statements, photographs, or receipts. By keeping records, you can make it easier for the insurance company to process your claim and get you back up and running quickly.
- To protect yourself from fraud. Unfortunately, there are people who try to file fraudulent insurance claims. By keeping records, you can help to protect yourself from being accused of fraud.
- To comply with regulations. There are several pieces of legislation that require businesses to keep certain records, such as H&S records, financial records and data security and processing records. By keeping these records, you can help to ensure that you are following your legal and regulatory duties.
It is important to develop a record-keeping system and to train your employees on how to use it. This will help to ensure that you have the records you need in case of an accident or other incident.
If you have any questions or would like to talk to one of the team, please give us a call at 01823 442214.