What is an insurance claim?

We explain what is an insurance claim and what you need to know for your business insurance policy. Learn more with our insurance claim guide.

insurance claim form
Whether it’s a four-year-old crying because of a dropped ice cream cone or two cars pulled over on the side of the road, accidents are an inevitable (and unfortunately, expensive) part of life. These are the times you really see the value of having insurance, by filing a claim.

What is an insurance claim?

Filing an insurance claim is a formal request by a policyholder to an insurance company for coverage or compensation for a covered loss or policy event. Or, in plain English, filing a claim is when you nicely ask the insurance company to pay for the accidents they promised to cover.

Okay, the definition is simple enough. We all like the idea of someone else covering the consequences of life’s inevitable accidents. But how do you make sure that you have the right coverage so that when you drop your figurative ice cream cone, your insurance provider approves your claim and pays for a new one? The type of insurance you have will determine whether you are covered by your insurance provider if someone decides to file a claim against you.

General liability vs. professional liability insurance

General liability insurance

A general liability insurance policy typically covers the following for third parties:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • Personal injury

General liability insurance is designed to protect you in the case that one of your clients or a third party experiences damages—both physical and property— due to services that your business provides.

What does a few general liability insurance scenarios look like?

  • Imagine that you’ve got some extra time on the weekends (we know, a truly crazy fantasy) and you walk dogs for some extra income. While you’re out and walking a client’s dog, you come across a park filled with families. Someone comes over and tries to pet the dog, who becomes aggressive and bites the person. The next day, you receive a call saying that the person who was bitten wants you to pay for their medical expenses.
  • Now imagine you’re an interior designer, and your client has just gotten a beautiful rug that they want you to design their living room around. As you are standing on the rug, considering how to design the room, your client offers you a cup of coffee. You take it, and at that moment the client’s cat comes bolting into the room, startling you. Unfortunately, you spill the entire cup of Joe onto the rug. Now your client wants you to reimburse them for the very expensive shampoo job required to remove the stain.
  • Finally, imagine you own a local salon with lots of frequent clients. One of your regulars shows up for his standing hair appointment. While he’s getting his haircut, it begins to rain outside, and another one of your regulars comes in with her large dog, who gives a good shake right by the door. He finishes his haircut and is almost out the door when he slips on the newly-wet floor and twists his ankle. He wants you to pay for the cost of his physical therapy.

Okay, maybe your life’s accidents are not as animal-oriented as the scenarios above. But if you’re familiar with these kinds of headache-inducing accidents, then general liability insurance can help you cover these types of insurance claims against potential injury or property damage.

Professional liability insurance

professional liability insurance policy typically covers the following:

  • Alleged or actual negligence
  • Legal defense costs
  • Claims rendered against the professional

These are the scenarios when your client says that you made a mistake, regardless of whether or not you actually did, that caused them damages or loss. If you want to sound fancy talking insurance at a dinner party, this kind of insurance can also be referred to as indemnity insurance or errors and omissions (E&O) Insurance.

What does a professional liability insurance scenario look like?

  • Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer. The bride and groom have asked you for a total of 300 shots of their wedding, and in order to reach that number you run around for hours, taking every shot imaginable, even throwing in photos of each individual piece of cutlery just to reach the mark. You edit the photographs, only to delete half of them on accident. Now, your client is suing you for negligence, saying that you breached your contract and they’ve lost precious memories, causing them emotional distress.
  • Or let’s say that you’re a hairstylist and you’ve just booked your biggest gig yet. While you’re styling the lead actor for the first set day on the schedule, he has an allergic reaction—claiming that it was your products, not anything he ate, which caused the hives. Now, the production company is filing a claim and expects you to pay for the costs of that shoot day, because they had to send everyone home because of his medical condition.

In a world where lawsuits stem from uncontrollable circumstances and the customer always thinks they’re right, professional liability insurance is an essential safeguard for any business owner. It ensures that when customers decide to say you did “your job wrong,” you’re able to mitigate the consequences. few

Filing an insurance claim

The claim process varies slightly from company. However, there’s a few key steps to take immediately after an incident occurs. Most importantly, you want to start the filing process as soon as possible –  this is your best opportunity to give your insurance company the advantage in managing and fairly evaluating your claim.

To file your claim do the following:

  1. Document what happened – write down a full incident report, including how, when, and where.
  2. Get the contact information of everyone who was there.
  3. Take photos at the scene.
  4. File a claim report with your insurance company.

Learn more about how to file a claim and what happens next. 

Thimble: insurance done right

Now that you can talk enough about insurance to cause your dinner companions to lose interest in you, let’s talk about the how.

Getting a quote is easier than actually learning about the insurance policies themselves. You can:

  1. Click “Get a quote” or
  2. Download the Thimble mobile app

Then, we’ll ask you to provide some basic information, such as details about your business/practice, your ZIP code, and your desired coverage length.

In less than a minute, you’re done! Based on your information, Thimble will generate a policy that outlines your costs.

Once you’ve received your quote, there are two possible steps that you can take:

  • If you feel there’s something to add or remove, make the appropriate changes to ensure that you’re being fully covered in the case of an accident.
  • If there’s nothing to change, great! It’s time to purchase.

After you’ve purchased your new insurance coverage, we’ll ship a Certificate of Insurance directly to your inbox. It’ll also be available on the Thimble app at all times.

You can add Additional Insureds or generate more COIs, all free of charge. And, if for some reason circumstances change, you can cancel your coverage up to an hour before the terms begin (penalty-free).

Recap: insurance claims

You now know so much more about different types of insurance claims than you did at the start of this article. Not only are you ready to impress the world with the incredible products/services that your business provides, but as a Thimble policyholder, you’ll be able to help protect your business should a mishap occur. And all you had to do was learn a couple of acronyms and the claims process, and now you’re more prepared than ever to take on your workday.

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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