From the Claims Desk

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The most common problem we see with physical damage claims is late reporting or repairing damage before reporting the claim. This is a serious issue because it violates policy requirements and does not allow the insurance company the opportunity to adjust your claim.

When you have a claim or think that you may have a claim it is imperative that certain requirements are followed so the claims process is not jeopardized. They are spelled out in the Duties after an Accident or Loss section of the policy. In this article we review two important requirements of that clause.

1. Notify Charter lakes as soon as possible when you have a claim or think you might have a claim.

2. Allow the insurance company to inspect the damage before repairs are made.

This 1st requirement is extremely important and is the area where we tend to have the most problems when it comes to settling claims. If at anytime you have an incident that has the potential to turn into a claim, a five minute phone call to our claims office can alleviate this reporting requirement. Our claims office can determine in short order if we need to pursue the matter or if we can just make note of the incident and not submit a formal claim. Many time incidents that happen today do not show up for several months. We have to know about incidents when they happen to protect you properly.

With regard to requirement #2, the key here is “before” repairs are made. The reasons for this include the following:

a. The insurance company cannot adjust your claim properly without inspecting the damage before it is repaired. The insurance company has to determine the cause of loss to adjust any claim. If you repair the damage before it can be inspected, you impair their ability to determine the cause of the loss.

b. You remove the insurance companies’ ability to recover from an “at fault” 3rd party that would normally be responsible for the damage to your boat.

Collision with submerged objects account for approximately 60% of all claims we see. We recently changed the policy to expedite the adjustment of submerged object (SSO) claims. This allows us to adjust an SSO loss without prior inspection, thereby speeding up the process by days. The key is to contact Charter Lakes as soon as possible, provide the information we need allowing us to expedite the settlement, getting you back on the water as quickly as possible. One quick phone call can make all the difference.

Your policy has several other requirements under the “Duties after an Accident or Loss” section of you policy.  We encourage you to  familiarize yourself with them and call Jim Hacker at 800-879-2248 with any questions regarding claims.