Saturday, December 26, 2009

Advice on making insurance claims

Thee are three types of insurance claims that can cause you a big surprise and out-of-pocket payment. They are:
a) health care
b) personal accident or travel
c) motor repair
d) home repair or reinstatement

Here is a common example. You have been paying premiums for an expensive health insurance policy for many years. You went into hospital thinking that the entire bill is covered. When you submit your claim for reimbursement, you are told of the items that are not covered, the caps, exclusions, deductibles and other items. Your claim can be less than half of the amount that you spent.

Your claim for personal accident or travel is also subject to exclusions, limits and deductibles. A similar situation can occur with a motor repair bill. You are told about the Excess, exclusion or other limits.
The hospital and motor repair bills can occur every few years, so many people have been taken aback by their poor claim experience.

A similar situation, but less frequently, can occur if you have to make a claim for damage to your property caused by some of the perils,such as fire, flood, theft and other disasters. When you submit your claim, you will be told about the items that cannot be claimed.

Here is my advice. Before you go for medical treatment, before you repair your car or home, before you spend money thinking that they can be claimed - check with the insurance company. Let them tell you about what is covered, and what is not covered. You can then decide on what to do about the treatment or repair.

Do not be shy to ask for an estimate of the treatment or repair bill, and send it to your insurance company for them to check against the insurance cover. The insurance company may be able to assist you to find a doctor or repairer that can do the work within the amount covered by the insurance policy.

Tan Kin Lian


Singapore Short Stories said...

I agree with you, Mr Tan that the onus is on us, the owners of the insurances to do checks.

Anonymous said...

Mr Tan,
Merry Christmas and Happy New year ahead. Thanks for you effort to help educate Singaporeans on Financial issues.

May I just give some suggestions for travel insurance claim?

For most traveller, they will bring the travel insurance policy with them but not the claim form. This claim form cannot be found in the policy document. It needs to be downloaded and printed by the insured. This form is critically important as it will inform the insured what documents are required when one is claiming. The required documents are different for different claim situations. Thus, when even one required document is missing, the insured may have difficulty in claiming.

It is also not easy to understand what is the required documents as stated in the claim form. Therefore, call the insurance company hotline and ask. Do not be afraid that you will have to pay high telephone charges. It is better to clarify than to leave it to chances. You may also call home and ask a family member to ask the insurance company. Just imagine when one returned home and have problems in claiming, it will even be more frustrating and expensive to call oversea airport/hotel/police for document / verification. Idea is do it there and then!

Recent travel claim: I got quite a considerable compensation for baggage delay (for than 24 hours delay). I got all necessary docuemnts during the trip and called the insurance hotline to confirm. I submitted the claim form and documents when I came back home. I got the compensation in 2 weeks time. No question asked.

As Mr Tan suggested, do not be shy about asking. You have to do your part in getting the prove!

Lion Investor said...

This is very sound advice. We have read so many cases of people who found out (too late) that only a tiny portion of their medical bills are claimable.

Too many people assume that their bills will be covered (and they can stay in any ward) just because they own a medical insurance plan. Not all plans are the same and sometimes, you get what you pay for. The devil is in the details.

Anonymous said...

Many insurance agents think that without them you cannot claim. Their sales pitch is that you WILL need them in the future. This is the ONLY benefit that you will get from this type of agents.

Tan Kin Lian said...

I like to share this joke about making insurance claims.

The policyholder suffered a loss to his property and called the adjustor to make a claim. He explained what happen. The adjustor replied "sorry, this is not covered".

The policyholder said, "Let me explain again what has happened". After listening, the adjustor said, "Sorry, that is not covered also".

The policyholder got angry. He told the adjustor, "Tell me what is covered, and I will tell you how my loss occurred".

Be careful about the small print in your policy. Be careful about adjustors who are trained to find ways to deny the claim. This is quite a common occurrence - in an unfair, profit driven world.

C H Yak said...

I agree with Mr Tan that one must be very careful with Loss Adjustors.

They exist more to deny claims than to help in reaching a fair compensation.

I must warn that they also behave so in a court hearing.

The damn thing is our Court may half-believe them as "pros" and treat the opposing party with reservation, even in an accident claim involving pedestrain.

They are trained to hide certain truths professionally when giving evidence in Court.

The problem is that the ignorant party may be a "layman" unwary of the legal trap set up by the opposing lawyer and loss adjustor.

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