Keeping your insurer happy is always in your best interests. After all, they're the ones paying your business insurance claim.
Familiarising yourself with the ins and outs of your policy wording is the best way to know what's OK...and what's not. It's not exactly a page-turning read, but it's totally worth it.
In the meantime, if you're looking for some quick advice, here's our guide to 10 things you can do to stay in your insurer's good books and give yourself the best chance of getting your business insurance claim paid.
1. Don't be late
There's no such thing as 'fashionably late' when it comes to insurance.
Take too long returning your renewal forms, and you could end up without cover. This means you'd be completely on your own if you had a claim.
Late claim notification is another bugbear for insurers. You should get in touch with your insurer or broker at the first sniff of trouble. Check your policy wording: it says your insurer can refuse your claim if you don't keep them in the loop.
2. Make sure you're not underinsured
If you've only insured a fraction of your property, insurers use a calculation called 'average rule' to work out how much of your claim to pay.
If you've insured, say, a quarter of your kit, your insurer is entitled to pay only a quarter of your claim. Even if your claim is less than your level of cover. Read this post for more information.
3. Never call in your own solicitor
If you're on the sharp end of a professional indemnity (PI) claim, it can be tempting to call your solicitor for a bit of quick advice before picking up the phone to your insurer.
Don't do this: it's a breach of your policy wording, and your insurer is well within their right to refuse cover if you do.
Solicitors have different areas of expertise, and there's a chance yours could actually make things worse. They can also be expensive, whereas your insurer can keep costs down by using their in-house legal team.
4. Don't try and resolve a business insurance claim yourself
If there's a chance a trained legal professional could make a claim worse, imagine the damage you could do. No offence.
Don't pay your unhappy client anything, or make them an offer, without your insurer's permission. It can harm your insurer's position if you want them to take action later on.
5. Keep all your details updated
Something as small as an incorrect name, company name, business activities, or address on your policy documents could mean your insurer refuses cover.
Keep them up to date, and your chances will improve dramatically. Read our account executive Nina's post on what insurers need to know for more information.
6. Be wary of aerial photography drones
Not only are drones expensive, they're also incredibly risky.
They're difficult to control and often end up lost or damaged. Plus, 'pilots' face accusations of trespassing if flying their drones over other people's property.
No wonder insurers aren't too keen.
7. Check before you work abroad
Most UK PI policies allow you to work abroad, with certain restrictions.
Insurance is subject to geographical and jurisdictional limits. The geographical limit refers to where in the world you can physically work. The jurisdictional limit describes which countries' laws your contracts must be subject to.
You can work anywhere within these limits without telling your insurer. If you want to work outside these limits, you need to ask your insurer to extend your cover. It might cost you a bit more, but it's better than being exposed to international PI claims.
8. Agree a contract
A clearly worded contract helps protect your business by eradicating speculation and misunderstanding. It clarifies who does what, when it'll happen, how long it'll take, and how much it'll cost.
Without a written contract between you and your client, there's no physical evidence you ever had an agreement. This would make it almost impossible for your insurer to defend you in the event of a claim.
9. Get client sign-off
In the eyes of the law, your client accepts final responsibility for a piece of work once they've signed it off. That includes any errors that have gone unnoticed.
If a client says they're unhappy with your work after sign-off, strictly speaking, it's no longer your problem. Your PI won't pay to put things right, but it will still defend you if your client takes legal action against you.
Fail to get client sign-off, and your claim could be much more expensive to resolve. It should still be covered, but your insurer won't thank you for it, and it could result in your insurance costing more. Check out this post for more information.
10. Never admit liability for a business insurance claim
When you're facing a business insurance claim, it can be very tempting to say anything in an attempt to make it go away.
But, even if you think you're in the wrong, keep quiet until your insurer tells you otherwise.
Admitting liability can prejudice your insurer's position, making it difficult (or impossible) for them to help later on.
If you're still not sure whether something's OK with your insurer, our advice is always to check. If you can't get hold of them, your broker will be more than happy to answer any questions about what's covered, and what's not.
Feel free to get in touch.
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