The most important aspect of insurance is that it protects you against financial liabilities, whether they are as small as luggage damaged during your trip or as large as expensive surgery. If something happens to you that is covered by one of your insurance plans, you will need to file a claim for financial compensation. But since different types of insurance have different claim procedures that are loaded with fine print, filing a successful claim can be frustrating. Below, our goal is to break down the basics of filing a claim, from common procedures to filing with multiple insurance companies.
- filing a claim
- claim processing times
- file a claim with multiple insurance companies
- appeal a denied claim
- tips to reduce denied claims
steps to file a claim: what you need to know
Each insurance company has different claim processes. To break it down even further, each type of insurance also has different processes. In general, there are three things to consider when filing a claim: the time between filing the claim and the insured event, the documents you need, and the filing route.
The period of time between the occurrence of an insured event and the time you must file a claim is generally 14 to 30 days. however, depending on the type of insurance and the insurer, you may have a larger or smaller window of time. For example, you must report a car accident within 24 hours and begin the claim process immediately. other smaller auto insurance claims can be filed within 14 days. health insurance claims have longer claim filing windows. For example, some insurers allow you to file a claim for hospitalization within 90 days of the billing date up to 120 days for pre- or post-hospital treatment claims. You can find out how soon you need to file a claim by reading your policy document. however, it’s best to file your claim as soon as something happens so you can get paid as soon as possible.
The documents you need depend on the type of claim you file. they are essential to ensure that your claim is processed correctly and without delay. Make sure that all the documents you present are legible and are the copies indicated by the insurer (original or copies). You will also need to keep these documents for a certain period of time after you submit your claim in case problems arise with your claim.
You should also consider how you should submit your claim. As insurers embrace new technology, we see an increase in online or mobile filings. In most cases, you can claim online or by email for general insurance claims (ie travel, auto, home, maid, etc.). for death or hospitalization claims, you may need to email, fax, or mail claim forms and documents. private health insurance will require you to submit your documents electronically to the hospital. Almost all insurers that have a physical office in Singapore still allow you to visit one of their branches to drop off your claim.
claim processing times
How long your claim will be processed depends on the insurer and the type of claim you are filing. Some claims can be submitted and processed automatically, such as medical claims for fwd travel insurance. Other claims, such as auto insurance claims, may take longer as they require extensive investigations. From our research we found that it is fairly standard to expect processing times of a couple of weeks for most types of claims. To avoid longer processing times, you must submit all appropriate documentation with all correct information. something as small as misspelling your name can add weeks to your claim processing time.
sample of insurers and their established processing times
Some insurers only list the recognition time on their website, while others tell you how long it will take to process your claim. the acknowledgment of receipt only indicates that the insurer has received the claim from her. Processing time is the time it will take for your insurer to process (review) your claim before making a decision.
file a claim with multiple insurance companies
It may be possible to file a claim with multiple insurers. however, your success rate depends on the type of insurance policy you are applying for. life insurance and related products (endowment, investment-linked, critical illness, personal accident) allow you to claim across multiple policies. however, you should be aware that there will be an overall limit on the amount you can claim.
You cannot claim through multiple Integrated Protection Plan policies, as you will not be able to purchase more than one. If you have another health insurance policy provided by your employer, you will first need to claim under your group or company policy and then file a claim under your integrated protection plan. your payment will depend on the remaining amount not paid by the first insurer.
Like health insurance, general insurance policies such as home, auto, travel, and cleaning will not allow you to file the same claim with multiple insurers. Home insurance requires you to file a claim with the MCST or HDB council before filing a claim with them. payment will only occur if the damage or loss is not covered by the municipality of hdb or mcst or if the loss or damage is greater than the limits of the insurance contracted by the municipality of mcst or hdb.
However, you can still buy multiple umbrella policies if you find that one of your policies doesn’t have enough coverage. you will not be able to claim for the same event, but you can claim for different events in different insurances (for example, claiming medical expenses with one insurer and travel delay with another insurer). however, duplicating your insurance coverage can be costly. instead, you should compare plans carefully and only buy a plan that fully covers your concerns. If you’re concerned about insufficient coverage, we provide detailed guides for a variety of popular insurance policies, including travel, auto, home, health, and life.
appeal a denied claim
If your claim was denied, you may be able to argue the denial. however, it is a multi-step process that is complicated and can be time consuming. Before you decide to appeal a denied claim, you should read why the claim was denied. It could be because you submitted a claim for an excluded event, accidentally forgot to disclose important information, or forgot to submit a required document.
If you believe your claim was denied for any of these reasons, you may file a complaint directly with your insurer. your complaint must be acknowledged within 3 business days and a progress update will be reported within 14 business days. If you are not satisfied with the answer, you can appeal to the insurer’s CEO. If that doesn’t correct the situation, you can file a complaint with the Financial Industry Dispute Resolution Center for free. You can file a complaint for free by fax, mail, email, or in person.
tips to reduce denied claims
The best way to reduce the chances of your claim being denied is to thoroughly review your policy document. Your policy document will distill everything that is and isn’t covered and also tells you which events fall into which categories. You will find that the exclusions are not limited to certain events, you may also have your claim denied if your insurer believes you were negligent or did something that increased the risk of an insured event. For example, something as seemingly innocuous as leaving your car door open while you run to pick up something from the store can land you in trouble with your car insurance. You must also make sure that you fully disclose all of the appropriate information in your application. for example, denying that you have a pre-existing condition will get you in trouble with your insurer and you will not be able to claim for that condition.
You should also submit as much documentation and relevant information as possible when filing your claim. this is imperative for policies that have a high number of fraudulent claims, such as travel insurance.
Finally, you must follow all instructions when submitting a claim. Every insurer has a dedicated claims section that tells her the steps she needs to take, the forms she needs to fill out, and the best way to file her claim. If you have any questions, you can always contact your insurer and they will be able to help you.