Insurance companies love to ensure that you pay your premium.  In somewhat stark contrast however, they are often less keen to pay out when you have a claim.  I have set out below my top tips for dealing with insurance companies so as to ensure your claim is dealt with quickly, efficiently and properly.
  • Be very careful when signing up to an insurance policy of any kind.  It is absolutely essential that you read the small print since the devil invariably lurks in the detail – a cheap insurance policy may not be the best one if it lacks key areas of cover that you might expect to exist.  Assume nothing and do your homework.
  • Notwithstanding the above, do shop around on price using a broker or the internet – particularly price comparison websites.  When you are offered a renewal on say your car or home contents insurance do not let yourself be lazy – many insurance companies hike your premium knowing that many people will be too lazy to check it out.
  • Insurance companies will shamelessly seize on any opportunity to get out of paying out on a claim if they possibly can.  Make sure that you give them the minimum amount of wriggle room – renew on time and be scrupulously accurate in all the details you supply.
  • When you make a claim, do so quickly – even a long delay can give the insurer reason not to pay.
  • Fill in the claim form with the fullest and frankest possible detail – if you are dishonest the insurer will not only refuse to pay but could well damage your future ability to get insurance.  Moreover, filing a false or exaggerated claim is a serious criminal offence – so don’t be tempted.  Attach originals of all relevant documents and invoices but keep copies.
  • Do not necessarily accept a refusal or a low first offer – insurance companies try to palm off some customers with rejection or inadequate compensation.  Sometimes it is necessary to take issue and dispute their decision.
  • If you disagree with a rejected claim write a carefully worded letter to the claims department concerned explaining your reasoning and setting a deadline.  If you feel strongly that they are in the wrong, sue them in the small claims court – they hate that as it costs them so much money and on occasions, the threat of legal action can be enough to change their attitude.
  • If you feel that the insurer has acted unfairly it may well be worth using the financial services ombudsman service as an alternative to litigation- see www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.