A claim is the occurrence of an insured peril upon which the liability of an insurance policy is engaged. In other words, you have suffered a loss covered by your insurance policy and which now qualifies you to seek indemnity (compensation).
Many unfulfilled claims expectations are as a result of not knowing what is required of you in the event of a claim, how best to seek compensation and poor understanding of one’s insurance policy.
What should you do following a burglary incident?
- Immediate claim notification: As soon as it is possible, notify your insurance company about the loss. Sometimes you may not have the specifics at hand but you have to put them in the know as soon as possible. Claim notification can be done through telephone calls, emails and text messages to your insurance representatives (or the company themselves).
- Immediately notify the police and obtain an investigation report: Police Investigation Report is a very fundamental document in processing a burglary claim. Burglary is a criminal act and the police must be informed of the crime. The absence of this report could lead to the invalidation of your claim or attract stiff penalties.
- Take detailed pictures of the burglary scene: This is a must as your insurance company would request for them.
- Take reasonable steps to mitigate the loss: Your insurance policy requires you to “act as if uninsured”. That is, do everything humanly possible to reduce the extent of the loss. And where there are financial implications, get the approval of your insurer first. E.g. securing the premises.
- Itemize stolen items and obtain an estimate of repairs in respect to damage to properties; You should immediately take stock of stolen items and where your premises was damaged, you are to obtain a probable cost of repairs.
- Produce proof of existence /ownership of items stolen; This means purchase receipt of the stolen items or other proves of their existence which could serve as a pointer to their prices, types, models, specs and age of the stolen items. For business premises such as stores, supermarkets, warehouses, stock registers would serve the same purpose.
Factors that would determine how much get as compensation are;
- The cost of repairs; of a damaged property following a burglary incident.
- Cost of replacement; of stolen or damaged contents subject to policy conditions.
Such policy conditions that would be considered include;
- Policy Excess
- Single Article Limit
- Article of Gold, Silver and Jewellery
- Reinstatement Value Conditions
The following breaches could result in repudiation of your claim or attract stiff penalties;
- Breach of Notification Clause – undue delays in notifying the claim
- Breach of Documentary Evidence Warranty – inability to provide adequate claim supporting documents.
- Acting as if insured – not taking reasonable measures to mitigate a loss.
- Breach of Watchmen Warranty (especially for business premises)– where you have no security guards available at the time of the burglary incident (or where the number falls below policy specification).
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