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Insurance is designed to cover losses, and no one should ever be prevented from filing insurance claims. In fact, filing insurance claims is often encouraged. However, before filing an insurance claim there are several factors to consider.

Date of Loss

Most insurance policies are “occurrence” policies, meaning coverage must be in place when the loss occurred for it to be covered. Sometimes a loss can occur over a long period of time, and the date of loss is difficult to pinpoint. When this is a possibility, “claims-made” policies can be available. Under a claims-made policy, coverage must be in place when the insurance claim is reported for it to be covered. Claims-made policies will often exclude coverage before a predetermined date. This is to prevent someone from starting a policy after the loss, and expecting that loss to be covered.


Deductibles apply to most, but not all, coverages. The deductible is your share in the cost of the loss. Before filing an insurance claim, it is important to determine your deductible, and to gauge whether damages will exceed that deductible.


Some losses are covered, and some are not. To determine whether a loss is covered, review your policy or consult with your agent.

Surcharge (Premium Increase)

Oftentimes, insurance claims will lead to a surcharge (premium increase), something to keep in mind when deciding whether to file.


Sometimes insurance claims can lead to a cancellation, which usually occurs at renewal, in which case it is referred to as a non-renewal. At renewal, the number of insurance claims over a certain period will be reviewed. Sometimes the type of insurance claims and the payouts on those insurance claims will be reviewed as well. If thresholds are exceeded, the policy may be non-renewed. Any new insurer will find out about the insurance claims, and the non-renewal. Due to insurance claims or non-renewals, only high-risk insurance may be available, which is typically more expensive and has coverage limitations.

Other Party Negligent

If another party is clearly responsible, then you can choose to bypass your policy and file an insurance claim under their policy. There is a chance that their policy will cover more than your own. However, if the fault is not clear, the other party is not cooperating, or coverage under the other party’s policy is not adequate, it is recommended that you file an insurance claim under your own policy, assuming you carry the appropriate coverage and damages exceed your deductible. If you do file an insurance claim under your policy, and the other party is ultimately determined to be negligent, you may receive reimbursement for your deductible through the subrogation process.

You Are Negligent

If you are responsible, or even accused of being responsible, it is recommended that you file an insurance claim under your policy. What may seem to be a small loss can quickly balloon, and it’s best to have an insurance company on your side.

Duty to File an Insurance Claim

Under the terms of most insurance policies, the insured has a duty to file an insurance claim after a loss, sometimes even a potential loss, within a specified period of time. Not doing so can invalidate coverage.

Need Help With an Insurance Claim in Washington?

Although the claim adjusters are the claim experts, they cannot answer all questions, so our agency contacts our customers after a claim to offer assistance.  Please contact us to learn more about the services we offer.

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