When Insurance Agencies Don't Pay Up....

2 May 2017
With recent events we have seen incidents of flood victims failing to have their insurance claims expectations met.  These decisions can be devastating to those who have suffered loss in extreme circumstances.  So what can you do to ensure that your expectations are met if you had to make a claim?
Most insurance agencies will do everything they can to have a legitimate claim paid out.  However the odd agency that may not be so vigorous in finding ways to pay claims.  You need to research who your agency is and what their claims payout record is.   While cost is obviously a consideration it is the claims payout record and experience with claims that is the number 1 priority when an Insurance broker makes a recommendation. 
Ensure you have the right Insurance product.  Having house insurance may not cover the contents that are lost so you need to make sure your policy covers what you need to have covered and more importantly you need to be aware what your policy DOESN’T cover.  
Ensure you are covered at the right level.  If for example you have $40,000 worth of chattels but you only have $20,000 worth of contents cover and you have $20,000 worth of damage the insurance agency may deem that you were only 50% insured and could pay out only 50% of the cover (in this example $10,000) – after all it would be odd if the exact 50% that wasn’t insured was the 50% that ended up being wiped out.  Of course if 100% of the chattels was wiped out it would also mean that only $20,000 would be paid out meaning you were underinsured anyway and unable to replace what you had lost.
We recommend you review your insurance at least on an annual basis or upon the purchase of a major asset.  What was covered 10 years ago may not need to be covered today and what you purchased in the last 10 years may require an adjustment on your insurance policy.  On top of that policies change all the time and you could be missing out on the benefits of these changes if you don’t review you cover regularly.
If you have a legitimate claim which is denied you could feel intimidated by the big insurance companies and feel helpless in challenging an adverse decision.  Most of us think that going to the media would be the best outcome but not every story is good TV and the result may depend on the coverage that the story gets which may not be a fair outcome for you.  The Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman has been set to resolve complaints about insurance and financial services.  Their service is free and they are independent.  They are an impartial referee who will make a ruling on your dispute and your insurer will have to abide by the ruling.

Published In Whakatane Beacon

This post was written by

Trish Marsden - who has written 96 posts

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