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How to make a claim on your business insurance

If you need to claim on your business insurance, you’ll want the process to run as smoothly as possible. Here’s how to make a successful claim.

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how to make a claim on business insurance
According to the Association of British Insurers, policy providers pay out £22 million a day in business insurance claims. Of course, this doesn’t mean all business insurance claims succeed.

Step 1: Check your policy

Read through your policy before doing anything else as you’ll need to be sure you’re covered for the issue that’s led to your claim. Check what’s included and excluded and any excesses or claims limits that apply. 

There’s no point putting in a claim for something that’s excluded or if the excess you’d pay is greater than your claim.

Step 2: Check the claims process

Make sure you know how your insurer prefers to receive claims. In many cases, you make a claim online, in others, you’ll need to download or request a claims form. 

All insurers have a claims department email or phone number, so get in touch if you’re unsure how to proceed. 

Step 3: Build and submit your claim

While it makes sense to lodge your business insurance claim as soon as possible, don’t rush the paperwork. 

Make sure you have all the facts to hand along with any evidence, such as photos of damage and receipts for any items you’re claiming. Remember to keep copies if you’re sending evidence by post.

If witnesses are available make sure you forward their contact details and a note of who they are and what evidence they can provide. 

Step 4: Be patient

It can take time for an insurer to investigate your claim, and it may ask you for more information. Make every effort to provide what it needs without undue delay. 

If your insurer finds in your favour, you can expect a payout (if relevant) within five working days.

How long does a business insurance claim take?

Given the wide range of business insurance policies and reasons to claim, it’s hard to predict how long an individual claim will take to resolve. You can expect a public liability claim for damage caused by a decorator spilling paint on a client’s carpet to be relatively straightforward. This type of claim may only take a few days to process, whereas a professional indemnity dispute about libel could take months or even years.

Does it cost to claim on business insurance?

Business insurance is no different from other types of coverage in that you may need to pay a proportion of any claim you make. This is known as the excess. You typically have the opportunity to set how much excess you’re willing to pay when you take out your cover. Generally, the higher the excess the lower the cost of your insurance, so it’s a balancing act.

It’s worth bearing in mind that there may be a knock-on effect when you make a claim as you’re considered a higher risk, which means subsequent premiums could go up.

What if the insurer rejects my business insurance claim?

According to the Association of British Insurers, policy providers pay out £22 million a day in business insurance claims. Of course, this doesn’t mean all business insurance claims succeed. A proportion are turned down for several reasons, including:

  • Insufficient evidence

  • Claims procedures not being followed

  • Exclusions in the policy’s terms

  • Fraud

Contact your insurer’s complaints department in writing if you think your claim has been unfairly rejected.

If your insurer doesn’t resolve the matter to your satisfaction within eight weeks, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service.  

Why do I need business insurance? 

Just under half of all small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) don’t have any business insurance. By overlooking insurance cover, these firms are potentially putting their livelihood at risk as they have no protection from personal injury disputes, losses incurred due to theft or flooding and other risks.  

What is business insurance?

Business insurance is an umbrella term  –  there are actually several types of cover for small firms, be they sole traders or companies with staff. 

The main types of business insurance are:

  • Employers’ liability insurancea legal requirement if you have any staff  – temporary, voluntary, apprentices or permanent – other than immediate family, or in some cases, subcontractors 

  • Public liability insurance: covers compensation claims brought by clients, customers, and members of the public

  • Professional indemnity insurance: protects you from claims brought by clients and others who maintain you have libelled them or their business damaged by your advice

  • Legal expenses insurance: covers the cost of employing a solicitor, surveyors and other experts, as well as court fees

  • Premises insurance: this covers your workplace and/or equipment and tools your company needs. It can also protect your or your client’s stock

  • Goods in transit insurance: protects stock and items you are delivering or collecting while they are in transport

  • Business interruption insurance: covers loss of earnings or profits, as well as additional costs to your business, such as suppliers or accountants’ fees, if events beyond your control  – such as flooding, fire and storm damage – force you to cease operations

  • Cyber insurance: this covers the loss of information from computers and networks. It’s considered a wise choice for companies that conduct a lot of their business online

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