‘Claim rejected’ are not the words any insured person wants to hear after a loss. Yet it’s quite astonishing just how regularly the Ombudsman is contacted to settle claim disputes. The fact is that often the insured party failed to comply with a specific part of their insurance contract. Here a few ways to ensure your claim gets processed with a positive, stress-free outcome.
Details, details, details…
Make sure you’ve left NOTHING out in the information that you need to supply your insurer with. It’s dishonest if you fail to disclose something or misrepresent facts and also be aware of any spelling or administrative errors.
You must have an insurable interest in the asset
You are not allowed to insure assets that technically do not belong to you. For example, many parents want to insure their children’s vehicles under their policy because it’s cheaper. Most insurers prefer that children’s cars are insured in their own separate policy, especially if the car is registered in the name of the child and they are no longer financially dependent on their parents.
Keep it legal
If your policy allows anyone else to drive your car with your consent, the person driving at the time of an accident must have a valid driver’s licence. If not, you will not be covered and your claim could be rejected.
Prevention is better than cure
Do everything in your power to prevent possible losses by anticipating. For example, don’t leave your car keys in the ignition, or have any valuables lying on the seat next to you when driving. This is an open invitation for a car theft or a smash ‘n grab. Rather lock your valuables in the boot.
Roadworthy is trustworthy
It’s crucial to keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition. A prime example is worn-out tyres, which may cause your vehicle to skid on a wet road and you crash into the car in front of you, or you have a blow-out and crash. If your tyre tread is less than the minimum amount allowed (1mm), there’s a good chance your claim may be rejected.
Keep it all covered
Make sure you stay up to date with your insurer’s security requirements regarding cover for theft or hijacking and the implications of not meeting these requirements. So provide your insurer with proof of installation of any tracking devices or other security features they require to cover you.
For home contents insurance, reassess their value on a regular basis to make sure you’re not underinsured and, if needs be, contact your insurer to update their value. If you don’t, your claim may not be rejected entirely, but you certainly won’t get sufficient funds to cover your losses.
If you’re involved in an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs the insurer may reject your claim, even if you were not the guilty party. Take a taxi, call an Uber or get a lift rather.
Keep your monthly premiums up to date
If you submit a claim and your monthly premium has not been paid, you will not have cover. If you have a problem with making a payment, contact your insurer as soon as possible to make alternative payment arrangements.
Your broker’s there for you
Your premiums are based on your risk profile and the type of cover you require. Consult your broker on a regular basis to make sure you have the best cover to suit your profile and needs (if they change). Also, your broker can help you navigate through all the technical policy wording and requirements, which differ from insurer to insurer.