What to do when you make a claim
Most people don’t ever expect they’ll need to make an insurance claim and they may only make a handful of claims in their lifetime, so it’s no surprise many of us aren’t sure how exactly we make a claim.
“The best thing you can do is ring your insurer as soon as possible,” says QBE General Manager of Short Tail Claims, Arron Mann.
“We do this every day and we can give you the best advice on what to do next.”
“We understand it’s hard to remember the steps in the process during a time of stress, whether you’ve been involved in a car accident or after an incident at your home. Ring us as soon as possible and we will guide you through the process.”
Here’s a series of steps from the experts at QBE to help our customers navigate the process.
At a glance: What to do at claim time
- Stay safe and contact the authorities if necessary
- Ring your insurer straight away
- Check your Product Disclosure Statement
- Collect and provide as much information as possible.
Safety is the number one priority
Personal safety is the single most important concern after an unexpected incident, QBE Head of Short Tail Claim Arron Mann stresses.
“For example, a damaged building can be dangerous, so if your property or the area surrounding your property isn’t safe, don’t try to enter unless it’s been declared ok to do so by safety authorities – whether it be the police, fire brigade or emergency services,” he says.
“If you’ve had a car accident, make sure its safe to get out of your car and keep on the side of the road or get to a safe spot.”
Contact the authorities if necessary
If you do find yourself affected by an extreme weather event or natural disaster, seek out and listen to the advice issued by emergency services. This could relate to staying safe, accessing help, or returning to your property.
If you’re affected by a crime, for example a home break-in, you’ll need to contact the police.
“Whether it’s vandalism, theft or another malicious act – particularly if it involves another person being injured – you need to call the police as soon as possible. Follow their directions and be sure to provide as much information as possible about the incident,” Mann says. “It’s crucial to take note of the incident number and the police report number they provide to you too because you will need to include this in your insurance claim.”
Read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)
It may be helpful to review your insurance policy by reading through the PDS to check your claim meets the policy requirements and none of the circumstances are listed as an exclusion.
“Your insurer will do this anyway for you when you lodge a claim,” Mann says. “However, at this point its good for you to check this for your own peace of mind. You can also check your Certificate of Insurance to know what excess may apply to your claim. Again, we’ll tell you this information, but it can give you some peace of mind.”
Contact your insurer immediately
Make contact as soon as possible and have as much information as you can.
“Claims are best lodged over the phone so they can be processed straight away,” says Mann.
“Don’t panic if you can’t find your insurance policy documents. We keep an electronic copy of all policies and if you bought insurance through a broker, they should have your details handy too.”
Provide as much information as possible
When you lodge a claim, you will need to provide some information.
While the type of information required will depend on the circumstances of the claim, these are some of the most common types of documents that may be asked for:
- Lists of items damaged, lost or stolen
- Police report number
- Valuation report
- Photographs or videos of the event, property damage or items
- Product makes, models and serial numbers
“If some of these documents are missing, just talk to us about it. We know not everyone keeps every document they’ve ever received, but it’s worth writing out all the details of the incident right after it happened because it will be fresh in your mind and you’ll probably be able to remember the smaller details,” suggests Mann.