Small business insurance: a guide to making a claim
Your small business is your livelihood and you've invested huge amounts of time and money to get where you are today. So, protecting your business against unforeseen events – such as fires, burglaries and cyberattacks – is a top priority, and that's where business insurance comes in.
If an incident forces your business to be put on hold, having quality commercial insurance in place will help you recover financially and get you back on your feet as quickly, and efficiently, as possible.
Common insurance terms
You're not an insurance expert, so you may be a little baffled by some of the terms used in your policy documents. Let us help by defining some of the most common phrases.
Business interruption insurance: cover against loss of earnings if you have to close your business due to an incident.
Cyber liability insurance: provides protection in the event of a data breach where sensitive data is exposed or stolen by a hacker.
Excess: a set amount of money you're required to pay towards a claim.
Employers' liability insurance: protects you against claims filed by employees or former employees in relation to things such as harassment, unfair dismissal and discrimination.
Limit of indemnity: this is the maximum amount of money to which you are insured for under your policy. It will be split into a total amount for any one claim, and a total amount for all claims, known as 'aggregate.'
Loss adjuster: someone employed by your insurer to evaluate the nature and size of your claim and help you to recover as fast as possible.
Personal accident insurance: provides financial support to your business if you or an employee were unable to work due to an injury.
Professional indemnity insurance: safeguards your business in the event of a customer or other third party filing a claim against you.
Public liability insurance: covers you if a third party claims for an incident that occurred in relation to your business, including both personal injury and property damage.
Sum insured: the maximum sum your insurer will pay out if you were to make a claim.
It's really important to go through your policy with a fine tooth comb so you know exactly what you are covered for. Imagine thinking your insurer will pay out for a certain incident, only to realise you're not protected?
Making a claim
If disaster strikes and you need to claim on your insurance, here are some essential dos and don'ts that will help make the process go as smoothly as possible:
Do – report it quickly
Report the claim as soon as you can following the incident. This is mainly for your benefit; the sooner it's reported, the sooner your insurer can initiate an investigation and get your business back up and running.
If too much time is left between the incident occurring and you reporting it to your insurer, your claim could be denied.
Do – gather evidence
The more evidence you gather, the better. Take photographs of damaged equipment and inventory, and any structural damage, to support your claim, and don't move anything until you've gathered a good batch of pictures.
It'll also help if you have receipts of damaged inventory items, as well as witness statements if the loss occurred as a result or arson or burglary. Any witnesses must be willing to speak with your insurer's claims representative.
Do – take time to evaluate loss
Spend time thoroughly evaluating damage costs, as understating your losses will leave you out of pocket. List all damaged inventory and equipment, along with the cost to repair and/or replace it, and the cost of lost working hours.
It can help to use an incident auditor to assess the damages; getting an expert opinion can help to further support your claim.
Don't – forget to call the police
If the incident is crime-related, you must file a report with the police as soon as possible. You'll get a crime reference number, which you'll need to give to your insurer.
Don't – leave it all to the insurer
Once you've gathered sufficient evidence, you can make temporary repairs to the premise to stop the situation from worsening. For instance, you may want to cover holes in walls or board up broken windows.
However, you should not start any major or permanent repairs to the business premises until you've spoken to your insurer.
Time to renew your insurance? Get in touch with Stride to learn about our bespoke commercial insurance policies and risk management services.