Filing insurance claims for coronavirus? Remember these 5 tips
"Insurance companies are not really in it to really take care of the customer when something bad happens"
As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world and across the U.S., it's possible you may have to file an insurance claim.
Even if you don't need to file any claims, now could be a good time to at least look at your insurance coverage, according to Dan Karr, the founder and CEO of ValChoice, which independently rates insurance companies.
"Most people are going to have a little more time on their hands because of the isolation that they're doing and things like that," Karr told FOX Business. "I think it's a great opportunity for people to rethink their insurance."
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"As they move through different stages of life, most people outgrow their insurance company and they need to rethink it at different times," he added, saying that the needs of someone in their 20s with few assets are very different from someone looking to retire with a family.
ValChoice rates companies that offer car insurance, home insurance and even health insurance -- which has seen a spike in interest as COVID-19 has spread across the globe.
"Our number one focus is really on showing people which companies are best about paying clients," Karr said. "But we do a lot of other things, too. We have calculators so that people can figure out what the fair price is and things like that."
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As an expert in insurance, Karr also had five things people should remember when filing an insurance claim during the spread of coronavirus.
Know what's covered by your insurance policy
Karr recommended that everyone should carefully read their insurance policies before filing.
Depending on the type of insurance, an event like a pandemic might not be covered, he said. For example, travel insurance might not cover canceled trips during an outbreak.
Currently, Karr said most health insurance policies will cover COVID-19 -- but there might still be some gaps.
"I'm not sure if it's all, but apparently a lot of companies on the exchanges aren't covering the [coronavirus] testing," Karr said. "And so that's where the government -- at the federal level and at the state level -- is getting involved to try and get the carriers that are offering plans through the exchanges to cover the cost of the testing."
Check independent ratings on insurance carriers
Karr said that insurance companies often pay for good web reviews, so checking an independent service -- such as ValChoice and Consumer Reports -- will get you the best information.
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Know that you might have to fight for your claims to be paid
Karr warned that some insurance companies might ask you to resend information or have extra documentation in order to delay paying out any claims. He recommended keeping all your materials and taking notes on every conversation with your carrier.
"[Insurance companies are] not really in it to really take care of the customer when something bad happens," Karr said. "They're in it more for the small transactions and building a financial business."
Understand your large claims have a higher chance of being rejected
"I think of the small claims as like a marketing opportunity for insurance companies," Karr said. "If you're paying them thousands of dollars a year and you put in a $2,000 claim and they pay it immediately, that's a marketing opportunity."
He said that payout could get you to think the company is helpful and you might even tell your friends it's a good company. But years down the road, the company won’t always be so helpful.
"I know from experience and from all the analysis I've done, when you have a $100,000 claim or even much smaller than that, those companies are just going to stand back," he said. "They're not there to protect you. And so people need to realize that they don't have a relationship with their insurance company."
Find legal representation if necessary
Karr said that getting a lawyer involved may be the only way to get your insurance company to pay your claim.
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