If your claim is for theft or malicious damage, contact the police and make a note of the crime reference number.

How to claim

Do not accept blame, even by apologising, as this could incriminate you in liability claims. You should then contact your insurer as soon as you need to make a claim:

  • Call the claims team on the number listed in your policy documents. Some insurers run online claims systems, so you can quickly log your claim.

  • Give further detail by speaking with a claims adviser or submitting a claims form. If your claim is for theft or damage, take an inventory so you can give accurate replacement costs.

  • Send supporting documents as requested by your insurer. For example, they may need receipts, photos, or copies of health and safety policies for public liability claims.

  • Your insurer will assess your claim and may send someone to visit you in person. They will decide if your claim is valid and how it should be settled.

Most business insurers run a 24/7 claims helpline, so you should be able to speak to an adviser immediately.

What can you claim for?

It depends on what your policy covers, so check your documents for full details of what you can claim for.

Most business insurance policies include cover for:

  • Public liability

  • Employers' liability

  • Professional indemnity

  • Legal expenses

  • Commercial property damage

  • Business interruption

  • Goods in transit

Does it cost to claim?

Yes, you need to pay your policy excess if you claim. You may have to pay this before your claim is paid, or your insurer may deduct it from the value of your claim.

Depending on the value of your claim, the price of your policy may increase when you renew. You can still shop around to find the cheapest cover, but you must give insurers full details of any previous claims.

How will your claim be paid?

It depends on what you claim for:

  • Liability claims are usually paid straight to the third party. For example, your employee or a member of the public.

  • Business interruption claims are usually paid to your business by cheque or BACS transfer.

  • Commercial property claims can be settled by repair, replacement or reimbursing you with a cheque or BACS transfer.

How long does it take?

It depends on the complexity of your claim. For example, property damage claims may only take a few days for your insurer to settle. But liability claims may rely on advice from solicitors or legal professionals, and could take months to resolve.

Once your claim has been settled, most insurers can make payment within 5 working days. Some pay claims by BACS transfer, which only take 24 hours.

What if your claim is refused?

Your insurer may refuse your claim if:

  • Your policy does not cover the cause of loss or damage

  • You did not follow the claims procedure correctly

  • You gave false information when you took out cover, or when you made your claim

If your claim is refused, see if the reason is clearly stated by checking your policy documents.

If you think your claim has been unfairly refused, you can complain to your insurer. After 8 weeks, if you are still not happy with their resolution, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).