For anyone with insurance, the real test of the value of this investment comes when you need to lodge a claim. But just exactly how does the claims process work? Particularly for ‘first-time insured’ individuals, this can be a confusing time made worse by the fact that a claim typically follows a loss – which may be an accident, theft or damage to your vehicle or home.
The first step is to report the incident to the police and then register your claim with your insurer. Depending on the incident which led to the claim, you may need to provide supporting documentation; generally, at a minimum, a police case number is required.
At this point, you now await the outcome of the claim. The process may feel confusing and even frustrating, especially as the outcome is necessary to get your life back on track.
Keep reading to find out what happens after your claim is registered.
First off, you are allocated a claim number. Keep the number close by for future reference. A claims representative will be allocated to your claim and will work with you and other relevant parties to gather the documentation required to finalise your claim. They will also validate the claim: assessing whether the incident is covered by your policy and whether you’ve met the terms and conditions of your policy.
At times, your insurer may appoint an assessor to verify the details of the event for which you are claiming. Any relevant documents will be sent to him/her: If the assessor asks questions, you must answer truthfully and in full. They will make an appointment to see you in order to assess the damage; create a report and submit it to the insurance company. If the insurer is satisfied, the assessor can authorise repairs or replacements.
Once your claim has been approved
After validation and assessment, if it has been found that you have a valid claim, insurance companies like MiWay have the option to pay out cash, replace or repair the insured item – or any combination thereof.
If your insurer decides on repairs, you will be advised of the most convenient supplier or repairer on their panel of pre-approved contractors. DO NOT go ahead and have your car, home, contents or possessions repaired before you have received written consent from your insurer, as this may affect the outcome of your claim.
Even more convenience: Online claims
Some insurers have provided online systems to make registering a claim as easy and convenient as possible. For example, MiWay clients can log into the company’s MiXpress self-help online portal and register their claim; the process can also be initiated through MiWay’s mobile app. The app features a step-by-step tool which is especially useful in the aftermath of an accident, prompting the policyholder to use their smartphone to take on-scene photographs and submit them together with the claim.
Useful tip: Keep all documentation regarding your claim close by for easy reference. This includes all correspondence with your insurance company, affidavits you may have made to the police, and records of phone calls to the insurance company (with dates, reference numbers and the names of the people you spoke to).
This is an outline of the claims process; not all incidents are the same and not all claims processes are as straightforward. When in doubt, ask the claims representative about the exact procedures that you need to follow. Remember, your insurer is there to help get you back on track and aims to pay out all valid claims rapidly and without any fuss.
For more information on home, content and vehicle insurance, visit www.miway.co.za
MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970)