How to Ensure a Smooth Process
The insurance claim process is not something everyone wants to have to do. It is true that you have your general liability insurance or professional liability insurance in place to cover you in case of an incident in which you may be held liable, but that doesn't mean you want to freely use it.
Nevertheless, it is up to you to file a claim if you are presented with a claim against you. You have to contact your insurance company as soon as possible so that they can begin the paperwork and start investigating the claim. They will investigate the claim and will refute it if there is any doubt that you may be responsible.
Initiating the Process
If you know that a claim is going to be filed against you, it can be good to go ahead and tell your insurance company about the potential claim. This means that they will notate it within their system. This can give somewhat of a head start on the claims process and is ideal for the situation.
Once you receive documentation that a legal claim is being filed against you, you will then call the insurance company and tell them about what you have received. They will most likely want you to fax them a copy of the documentation so that they can see for themselves. They can usually tell a lot from that one document.
From there, you will provide information on what you know of the incident, if you know anything. Usually, when a valid incident has occurred within your business, the injured will file an accident report with you. However, failure to file this report doesn't mean the accident is not legitimate. It just helps their case and, at times, may even help yours.
You may be asked if there were any witnesses or video footage. This is something that the injured individual will usually provide anyway, but you will be given the opportunity to provide your own witnesses. This could become a case of "they say, you say," but that is not a bad thing. You don't want to have to pay damages for something that may not have been your fault.
You will provide details regarding the place, the date, the time, and any other relevant details about the accident. The insurance company will record those details for their documents. You may also need to fill out the appropriate forms regarding the incident so that you can further explain what happened.
Once you have provided all of the information that you have provided, the insurance company then acts on your behalf. The preferred conclusion is to not have to pay much, if any at all. If a generous settlement is required, then that agreement will be reached on your behalf. That way, you can focus on what is important, which is your business, and go on with doing what you do best.
As for the effect the claim will have on your premium, your insurance company will work hard for you and that means that your premium may rise. This will help to offset the amount of the settlement because the hope is that you won't have to pay out a lot of damages in the future. The insurance company has to look out for themselves so that they can keep serving their customers.
So always make sure you answer any questions that are asked to you, provide any information that you are required to provide, and don't leave out any details when you are giving them. All of this will ensure a smooth process. And report all claims as soon as possible.