When Filing An Insurance Claim: 5 Common Mistakes Clients are often at war with their insurance company over claims that they file. People who call their carrier early, with good evidence and a strong understanding of their contract, will be in a much more strategic position. When people file insurance claims, whether homeowners, business, or drivers, they often make many mistakes while under duress. Adjusters can be intimidating and even bully clients into taking lowball offers or giving false information that can void their responsibilities. You can, however, get the upper hand with a little bit of preparation. Here are five mistakes to avoid when filing your next claim. 1. Delay Why are you waiting to call your insurance company? Whether a fire consumed your house, you car totaled, or your bathroom flooded, you need to let your carrier know as soon as possible. Waiting to contact them can be looked upon as highly suspicious unless there is a sufficient reason such as due to medical injury. Agents are also notoriously slow in processing claims, meaning every day you wait to file is another day you wait to receive compensation. Can you really wait to be made whole again? 2. No Approval Some people jump the gun and try to pay for damages out of their own pocket, expecting their carrier to pay them back. It can seem tempting to circumvent the process in order to get the job done faster, but there are several reasons not to do this. Some insurance companies are extremely strict and will only approve certain auto shops or construction companies to perform any work on your property. If you take the matter into your own hands, you may have to pay out of pocket as well. 3. No Evidence Anyone can file a claim, but to get approval you're going to have to show some evidence that you aren't just full of hot air. Pictures are generally standard even following a car collision. Most cell phones have built-in cameras so there are few excuses for not having photos of your car (and the other driver's) immediately following the accident. Home damage should likewise be documented through photographs. If any other property was damaged (for example if there was a flood), then keep these items if possible to show an adjuster. 4. Not Preparing Do you know how much compensation you are entitled to receive? Most people don't because they don't go over their most recent policy before filing a claim. Read over it carefully, and if you can't find it, ask for it to be sent to you. It is in the best interest of your insurer to pay you the least amount possible, but you may be entitled to more. Be prepared before negotiating with them and you will have more power. 5. Acceptance Do you feel you are not being offered enough compensation but accept it anyways? Stop. You don't have to take the first offer. You can appeal or even get a lawyer if necessary. It may not be worth it if the difference isn't that great, but if you feel the compensation is significantly lower than what it should be, there's no reason not to question it. You are paying a lot of money for a service, so you should be treated fairly.