What to Expect From Your Insurance Agent When You File a Claim
Who you gonna call when things go wrong?
When the unexpected becomes a reality and it’s time to file an insurance claim, many policyholders don’t know what to expect from their insurance agent. What kind of guidance can they offer? Can they help you understand what’s covered and what’s not? Can they tell you whether it would be better not to file your claim?
The answers to these questions depend on your agent. Unfortunately, some agents are simply inexperienced. Others may offer only minimal guidance. Here’s why: Since independent agents don’t work directly for the insurance company, they can’t definitively advise you whether coverage will apply in your particular claims situation. To avoid misquoting or providing misinformation, many agents adopt the philosophy of turning in every single claim and allowing insurers to advise whether there is coverage.
What’s that you say? They’re “passing the buck”? Indeed, that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Of course, you didn’t call them because you wanted them to pass the buck. It’s likely that you want your agent to advise you whether there’s coverage prior to submitting your claim. That’s because, as an experienced, savvy, insured customer, you understand that claim frequency can have as negative an impact on rates as claim severity. It’s not uncommon for personal auto and home policies to be non-renewed following only one or two small claims.
That’s why deciding whether to file a claim is such an important decision. And that’s why the Covered team firmly believes that guiding clients through the often emotionally charged claims process is one of the most valuable benefits you should expect from an independent insurance agent.
We get it. When a claim occurs, you just want everything to go back to exactly how it was before the claim occurred so that you can get back to your normal routines. But the fact is that legal insurance contracts specifically define coverages and exclusions. Often, part or all of a claim may be denied, further exacerbating an already emotionally charged and stressful situation.
Your agent’s role in mediating between you and your insurer is critical to achieving a mutually agreeable claim resolution. As the insured customer, you’re required to perform certain duties in the event of a claim. Those duties are specifically defined in the Insuring Agreement portion of your policy. At the very least, your agent should generally assist in the initial report of loss.
Bottom line, counseling regarding the coverages, limits, and deductibles that may apply in a claim is a valuable service you should expect from your agent.
So, next time you have a question about filing a claim, who you gonna call? Your personal insurance advocate — your independent agent!
Got questions about your coverage? Covered’s insurance experts can help you with a free policy review. Give us a holler at (303) 302-9927 or drop us a note.