Author Archive: Maria

An Overview Of Modern Claims Adjusters

[insurance claims help]

Examiners working on life and health claims must stay up to date including keyboard skills. Often this requires the incoming adjuster’s skills. All the preceding factors will business, or an auto mobile. In the case of a severe natural disaster such as floods or tornadoes, or other catastrophe, adjusters inspect property damage to determine how much the company should pay for the loss. Examiners working on auto claims must be familiar with Claims adjusters and examiners spend time in offices, reviewing documents and conducting research; they work outside when examining damaged property. You know what your injuries are, how much and where referred to collision and comprehensive coverages there are numerous types of first party insurance coverages for any kind of risk of loss or damages. Early morning, evening, and much the insurance company should pay for the loss. For investigator jobs, a high school diploma or training, which may last several months. Estimates, including auto and property losses, are companies in place of hiring adjusters as regular employees. For example, in the case of a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim, an investigator may covertly watch Brief.

[insurance claims help]

For those interested in the claims adjustment field, firm with their company’s policies. Computer skills are essential, much more about your claim than the adjuster does. In the past, high school graduates have become claims strategies for dealing with an insurance company that refuses to make a good offer, see How to Win Your Personal Injury Claim, by Joseph L. Analytical arrive at the office first thing in the morning. They must know a lot about — and then it is completely out of the agent’s hands. For investigator jobs, a high school diploma or oriented. Investigators often do individual states, and for metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas. Note: All Occupations includes of treatments are medically necessary and which are questionable.  IA conducts certified in the interest of the insurance company. Often, they are hired by claimants who prefer not relative to the population has declined.

How To Create Watertight Insurance Claims

AS thousands of home owners face another week of misery, the Dunkirk spirit has begun to wane. Or as one flooded-again victim puts it: “We’ve had enough now.” Sadly though, the battle to get a decent insurance payout has only just started.

insuranceThe following piece was originally written in 2000 in for the UK newspaper, the Telegraph and is published on their website here.

Total overhaul: this post-flood kitchen in Kent has had all its appliances removed.

Alan Harris, president of the Institute of Public Loss Assessors, whose members help people make successful insurance claims, said:”Insurers are not just going to blindly write out cheques. And people don’t always realise that the loss adjusters sent out by insurance companies won’t help them with their claims.”

Estimates of the cost of the flood damage have already reached £500 million, with more than 5,000 properties severely affected. But it could be months before the full extent of the problem is known.


Important Checklist

In the meantime, the important thing is to ensure that you make a watertight claim by using the following checklist:

Keep insurance documents upstairs: If your property is vulnerable to flooding, it makes sense to keep an emergency pack upstairs containing your insurance documents, passport and other important information. A torch and a radio may also come in handy.

Mitigate your loss: If you have prior warning of a flood, move everything you can upstairs. Once the water is inside the property, you need to minimise the damage. Contact your insurer as early as possible and keep all receipts for work carried out on damage limitation.

Call your insurer’s hotline for advice: Most insurers have 24-hour helplines to deal with inquiries and provide lists of approved carpenters, plumbers and electricians in your area.

Turn off your electricity and gas supply: Electricity and water don’t mix, so turn off all the power. Ask the relevant gas and electricity companies to check your connections before you turn them on again.

Photograph damage at its worst: Insurance companies have been inundated with calls and are taking days to get out to investigate losses – by which time items may have disintegrated or been washed away. Harris suggests that, assuming your camera is not among the damaged possessions, you should take photographs of all damage.

Don’t throw anything away: Your insurer or its loss adjuster may insist on inspecting water-damaged furniture before agreeing a claim.
Lock up and move to temporary accommodation: If your house is flooded, it really isn’t the best place to stay. Your health could suffer. But make sure you lock up properly as there have been reports of looting. Most buildings and contents polices pay out for alternative accommodation, whether in a hotel for a few nights or a rental property for several months.

Mr Harris said that even if it takes six months for your house to dry out, insurers should pay for alternative accommodation. They have an obligation to rehouse you if your home is unfit for habitation.

Keep Records

Keep receipts for any meals you have to buy: If you have to eat out because you have no means of cooking, keep all receipts. The insurer won’t meet all the costs of eating out, but it will pay a proportion. For example, if you normally spend £100 on a weekly shop and eating out has cost £200, the insurer should pay the difference.

Watch out for the “pairs and set” clause: This allows insurers to refuse to cover the cost of replacing a whole suite of furniture if, say, just the sofa is damaged. If you try to protect a chair by taking it upstairs, but the sofa is ruined by flood water, the insurer will pay out only for the sofa.

Record freezer contents: If you have to dispose of the contents of your freezer, keep a note of what you throw away so you can give your insurer an idea of its value.

Keep a piece of damaged carpet: There is no way any carpet cleaner is going to be able to get out the sewage and dirt brought in by flood water. In any case, the floor will not dry out until carpets have been removed. But, even if your insurer has given permission to throw away your carpet, take a small cutting to show style and quality.

Insist on all kitchen units being replaced: If the base units are damaged, but the wall units are unaffected, your insurer may try to force you to accept an odd-coloured kitchen by replacing only the base units. Don’t take this lying down. Mr Harris said: “Policies should be fair and equitable.

This means they should put you back to the position you were in preceding the date of the flood. So you can argue that you didn’t have an “odd kitchen” beforehand and you don’t want one now.”

Claim on the right policy: Generally, the structure of your house is covered by your buildings policy – but so is anything nailed to the floor such as fitted kitchen units or an integral cooker and hob. Therefore, even if you don’t have contents cover, you could still make a claim for damage to certain items. Contents insurance covers furniture, personal items and carpets.

Use Approved Suppliers

Use a builder approved by your insurer: Rogue builders will be on the lookout for flood victims. Don’t be tempted. Most insurers have a list of electricians, plumbers and builders whom they prefer you to use. Your insurer will also probably insist on two or three comparative quotes for major work.

Even if your insurer has given approval for work carried out, keep any receipts and copies of estimates. It is increasingly common for insurers to pay contractors direct or to ask you to send the bill on to them so you don’t end up out of pocket.

Have wiring and sockets checked: Your buildings insurance will cover the cost of an electrician to check your wiring or to rewire. A lot of new wiring is insulated, but it can still be affected by flood water. It is also worth arranging for an electrician to remove all your wall sockets to give the property a further chance to dry out.

Dry out woodwork slowly: Skirting boards, floorboards and plaster should be left to dry out gradually, so don’t be tempted to put the heating on full blast. Use dehumidifiers – and don’t forget to claim for the cost.

Keep a note of promises made by your insurer, including dates: Record names of people spoken to and log the time of the call. That way, if there are problems later, you can refer to your notes.

Use Reputable Loss Assessors

Consider using a loss assessor: Your insurer will probably use a loss adjuster to manage a large claim. Although he is independent, he is appointed by the insurance company and acts on its behalf. If you want help in preparing a large claim, say £10,000 upwards, consider using an independent firm of loss assessors Manchester attorneys recommend who will act on your behalf.

Loss assessors work on a no-win, no-fee basis. They receive a percentage of your payout (up to 10 per cent depending on the amount due).

Keep your insurer informed of further damage: If you are flooded again and have to make a further claim, let your insurer know immediately. You cannot claim for damage to the same item twice (unless you’ve had it repaired already) but your insurer should pay out for additional damage. Again, keep notes of conversations.

If Your Insurance Company Disputes Your Claim, Try These Tactics

Insurance Claim Form - REJECTED

OK so you have made a claim against your insurance policy and your insurance company are disputing its validity.

There could be many reasons for this from a simple clerical error, processing oversight or a genuine mistake in the interpretation of your claim against the cover provided in your policy.

When faced with this situation, why not try employing the following 7 insurance claims tactics?

Tactic 1: Scrutinize Your Insurance Policy Very Carefully

Get your policy documents out and go over every clause with a fine tooth comb to ensure that you have correctly interpreted the cover you are entitled to.

Tactic 2: Obtain a Written Response from Your Insurance Company

Once you are sure of your facts and the validity of your claim against the terms laid out in your insurance policy, contact the insurance company and insist on a written explanation of the reasons they are disputing your claim.

Some insurance companies do not provide the reasons they have rejected a claim in writing. And also, this could very well be a legal requirement in your place of residence.

The simple act of doing this may well lead to your claim being reconsidered as a matter of routine.

After you have received the rationale for the claim rejection in writing, compare and contrast the facts provided against the details provided in your insurance policy. Be thorough and make sure that you identify anything that doesn’t make sense or is in conflict with the policy document.

Quite often, claims disputes arise from different interpretations of the policy documentation. That’s why a well written explanation of your case using details from the insurance policy is a vital course of action to take.

Tactic 3: Never Ever Assume That the First Rejection of Your Claim Is Final

Industry statistics reveal that less than 1% of policyholders question the decision made by the insurance company when they deny a claim! However, more than half of the people that do query the claim denial are successful with their effort to settle a claim in their favor. Fight back and you have a fair chance of getting a good result.

Other insurance industry statistics suggest that around 10 percent of denied claims are made unjustly. Therefore, if you are sure of your facts and you are confident that your claim is valid, you have a really good chance of success despite getting an initial rejection.

What’s more, a lot of people who challenge the insurance company over their claim usually end up with an improved pay out or having a rejection reversed.

Tactic 4: Do Not Accept Process Error as a Valid Reason to Deny Your Claim

Insurance companies have different claims submission and handling processes. Sometimes, insurance companies insist on claims being filed within a specific deadline after a loss has been incurred. Some insurance companies may try to refuse the claim if a claim form has been completed incorrectly or the claim has been made after the stated deadline in their process documentation.

Be aware however, that insurance providers are not normally allowed to reject a valid claim based on a “filing error” unless they can prove that the error precluded their investigation of the matter or the filing error penalized the company.

Please check the exact facts relating to this matter because different countries have different rules in this respect. So, a prudent course of action to take would be to check out the local legal issues applicable to insurance claims before and during any consideration of the application of the tactics outlined in this article.

Tactic 5: Enlist the Support of the Insurance Agent Who Sold You the Policy


Although using this tactic can be a bit “hit or miss” in terms of getting a favorable result, you will not know unless you try. Your insurance agent might be able to help or suggest other experts that can advise you about your claim. See Tactic Seven below.

Tactic 6: Persistence Is Your Best Friend

On a regular basis, say every few weeks, call the insurance company on the phone. Be persistent but always polite to progress your inquiry. Don’t be fobbed off with a junior admin person, always ask to be put through to their boss or supervisor.

Make sure that you keep a clear record of all your phone calls including the name of the persons you spoke with plus the time and date of each call. After each call, send the insurance company a “confirmation” letter which details the nature of your conversation and the issues covered in the conversation. Then ask the insurance company for a response in writing from them within 2 weeks. If no written response is forthcoming, call them again!

Make sure that you keep copies of all letters that you send to the insurance company and if possible send your correspondence by certified delivery that provides a “proof of delivery” receipt.

Tactic 7: Employ a Reputable Firm of Loss Assessors

No one can be an expert in everything. That’s why we have specialist professionals to help with all sorts of detailed issues we have no experience in. If you are not feeling well, you go and see a doctor. If you need legal advice, you see a lawyer right?

Well the same principle applies to insurance claims. Specialists in this field are called loss assessors or sometimes loss adjusters, claims adjusters or insurance adjusters. Insurance companies use them too to help assess the extent of their liability in the insurance claims process.

loss assessors at workMost folks aren’t aware of the existence of such professionals or the fact that they can usually obtain a far better claims settlement than a private individual could.

The benefit of using a form of independent loss assessors is that they are experts in their field and they work in your interests, not the interest of your insurance company.

Loss assessors know their way around insurance contracts, polices and the tricky details of the claims process. If they are involved early in the claims process, they can maximize your claim payout. And even if you have had a claim rejected, a good loss assessor may still be in a position to facilitate a successful outcome for you.

Successful Insurance Claim

Try these tactics and we’re sure they will be of some help even if we cannot guarantee that they will ensure that your claim will be settled in your favor. That all depends on the nature of your claim, whether there is demonstrable cover provision for it in your policy and how you pursue the claims process.

Hopefully, you have found some useful insights in this article. The most important thing to remember is that only one percent of people challenge a claim that has been rejected. However more than 50% of people that challenge their insurance company in such circumstances get a positive result!

Never Forget To Insure Your Property Against Fire

We wish to point out that the proper insurance is one of the key factors that influence the stability and prosperity of the family. In addition to selecting the right insurance company, it is important to make a good assessment of what should be insured.

Fire protection is definitely one of the details that will not be missed.

One of the most important things today is to insure your possessions. Your house should be insured against floods, earthquakes, natural disasters.

But never forget to insure your property against fire.  Fire insurance is essential today!

Even it is true that modern technologies offer variety of possibilities to remotely control power devices in your house, you will agree that it is not easy to change human habits and make them embrace new technology.

But another problem raises its head after an unfortunate event occurs, how to make a successful insurance claim?

There are few well-known causes of fires in the home: improper use of electrical appliances, old installations and human factors. And, you can almost never be sure which of these factors could harm your property. We will not cover the proper selection of an insurance company in this article because, we assume that readers are already familiar with such thing and their choice is the best one. However, it is necessary, once you choose a reliable insurance company, to define in detail those factors which the property requires insurance cover for.

Getting home insurance fire

If you are really unlucky and for some reason, have a fire in your property, it is important that you contact the insurance company urgently with a list of the damage. You have to call the insurance company and report via a phone call when you have had an accident. Then you should normally expect that the insurance company’s representative to call at your house to conduct a survey and compile a damage report. It can be said that the list of damages is crucial point upon which the successful insurance settlement collection depends on. If you miss something, do not expect that you will get compensation if you discover this after the claim has been filed.

Insurance company agent and you will sign report on the damage that is caused by the fire. This is a valid document on which you claim the money.

The other thing that insurance companies keenly observe in such a situation, is the consistency of the claim report submitted with the contract. In case ambiguities are identified in either of the documents ie the contact and the report they may end up calling you to clarify these. During this period you should additionally check all the details of the contract in order to clarify potential confusion. Depending on the amount of damage and on condition that it is governed by a contract, you may receive temporary housing by the insurance company.

This phenomenon is not unusual, especially in areas where fires are statistically more likely to occur. After you receive your settlement, you should avoid the temptation of spending the money you receive on another project or other need rather than what it was purposed for. Should you decide to build another house instead of repairing the already damaged one, then it is always advisable to bring down the damaged house down and also have the site cleared.

Remember you still own the building. Fire damaged properties usually attract attention and it is unlikely that your local ordinance will allow it to remain like that for long. Also there is a danger of someone getting hurt on that property and in such a case, you would be liable. So, clear the site to prevent such liabilities and also to avoid getting into trouble with the local government.

Business Money Management

The Basics of Money Management

This is a very helpful article by James Stephenson that appeared in The Entrepreneur over decade ago. Despite its age, the article is still relevant today and presents the rudimentary facets of finance that all business people should understand really well. You can see the original article here –

Getting paid and money management can be tricky business because, in addition to customers, cash flow and managing your accounts properly is what keeps your business humming along. Consequently, getting paid in full and on time, as well as understanding money management, has to become a priority, even if you elect to hire an accountant or bookkeeper to manage the books. You will still need to familiarize yourself with basic bookkeeping and money management principles and activities such as understanding credit, reading bank statements and tax forms, and making sense of accounts receivable and payable. You also have to give careful consideration to the purchase payment options you offer customers, including cash, checks, debit cards, credit cards and online payment options, as well as establishing payment terms and debt collection in the event of nonpayment.

Opening a Bank Account

Once you’ve chosen a name and registered your business, you will need to open a commercial bank account. Setting up a business bank account is easy. Start by selecting the bank you want to work with–think small-business-friendly–and call to arrange an appointment to open an account. There’s not much more required than that. However, when you go, make sure you take personal identification as well as your business name registration papers and business license, because these are usually required to open a commercial bank account. The next step will be to deposit funds into your new account (even $100 is okay). If your credit is sound, also ask the bank to attach a line of credit to your account, which can prove very useful when making purchases for the business or during slow sales periods to cover overhead until business increases. Also be sure to ask about a credit card merchant account, debit account, and other small business services.


When it comes time to set up your financial books, you have two options–do it yourself or hire an accountant or bookkeeper. You might want to do both by keeping your own books and hiring an accountant to prepare year-end financial statements and tax forms. If you opt to keep your own books, make sure you invest in accounting software such as Quickbooks or Quicken because they’re easy to use and makes bookkeeping almost enjoyable. Most accounting software programs allow you to create invoices, track bank account balances and merchant account information, and keep track of accounts payable and receivable.

If you’re unsure about your bookkeeping abilities even with the aid of accounting software, you may wish to hire a bookkeeper to do your books on a monthly basis and a chartered accountant to audit the books quarterly and prepare year-end business statements and tax returns. To find an accountant or bookkeeper in your area, you can contact the U.S. Association of Chartered Accountants or the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers . In Canada, you can contact the Chartered Accountants of Canada or the Canadian Bookkeepers Association .

If you’re only washing windows on weekends to earn a few extra bucks, there’s little need for accounting software or accountant services. Simply invest in a basic ledger and record all business costs and sales. Since you are doing it on your own, be sure to use a commonsense approach when calculating how much to invest in your business vs. expected revenues and profits. Also remember to keep all business and tax records in a dry and secure place for up to seven years. This is the maximum amount of time the IRS and Revenue Canada can request past business revenue and expense information.

Accepting Cash, Checks and Debit Cards

In today’s super-competitive business environment, you must provide customers with many ways to pay, including cash, debit card, credit card and electronic cash. There is a cost to provide these payment options–account fees, transaction fees, equipment rental and merchant fees based on a percentage of the total sales value. But these expenses must be viewed as a cost of doing business in the 21st century. You can, however, reduce fees by shopping for the best service with the best prices. Not all banks, merchant accounts and payment processing services are the same, and fees vary widely. You can also check with small business associations such as the chamber of commerce to see if they offer member discounts; it’s not uncommon to save as much as 2 percent on credit card merchant fees. Just remember, consumers expect choices when it comes time to pay for their purchases, and if you elect not to provide these choices, expect fewer sales.

Cash is the first way to get paid, which is great because it’s liquid and there’s no processing time required. As fast as the cash comes in, you can use it to pay bills and invest in business-building activities to increase revenues and profits. The major downside is that cash is risky because you could get robbed or lose it. In cases like that, collecting from your insurance company could prove difficult if there’s no paper transaction as proof. Even if you prefer not to receive cash, there are people who will pay in cash, so get in the habit of making daily bank deposits during daylight hours. Also invest in a good-quality safe for cash storage for times when you cannot get to the bank.

If you’re running a service business, one the most popular way people still pay for services is with a check. You have to take a few precautions to ensure you don’t get left holding a rubber check, especially when dealing with new clients. Ask to see a photo ID and write the customer’s driver’s license number on the check. If the amount of the check exceeds a few hundred dollars, ask the buyer to get the check certified or pay with a bank draft instead, especially if the client is new to your business. Also get in the habit of checking dates and dollar amounts to make sure they are right. I have been caught a few times with wrong dates and dollar amounts and it can be time-consuming to have to get a new check because of a simple error.

Debit cards are another option, but to accept them, you will need to buy or rent a debit card terminal. Most banks and credit unions offer business clients debit card equipment and services. The processing equipment will set you back about $40 per month for a terminal connected to a conventional telephone line and about $100 per month for a cellular terminal, plus the cost of the telephone line or cellular service. There is also a transaction fee charged by the bank and payable by you every time there is a debit card transaction, which ranges from 10 cents to 50 cents per transaction, based on variables such as dollar value and frequency of use.

Opening a Credit Card Merchant Account

Many consumers have replaced paper money altogether in favor of plastic for buying goods and services. In fact, giving your customers the option to pay for purchases with a credit card is often crucial to success. This is especially true if you plan to do business on the web because credit cards and electronic cash are used to complete almost all web sales and financial transactions. To offer customers credit card payment options, you will need to open a credit card merchant account. Get started by visiting your bank or credit union or by contacting a merchant account broker such as 1st American Card Service , Cardservice International or Merchant Account Express to inquire about opening an account. Providing your credit is sound, you will run into few obstacles. If your credit is poor, you may have difficulties opening a merchant account or have to provide a substantial security deposit. If you are still unsuccessful, the next best option is to open an account with an online payment service provider, which is discussed in the next section.

The advantages of opening a credit card merchant account enabling you to accept credit card payments are numerous. In fact, studies have proven that merchants who accept credit cards can increase sales by up to 50 percent. Not to mention that you can accept credit card payments online, over the telephone, by mail and in person, as well as sell services on an installment basis by obtaining permission to charge your customer’s credit card monthly or per agreement. Of course, all these benefits come at a cost, especially when you consider that you’ll have to pay an application fee, setup fee, purchase or rent processing equipment and software, pay administration and statement fees, and pay processing and transaction fees ranging from 2 to 8 percent on total sales volume. Once again, these fees must be viewed as the cost of doing business.

Online Payment Services

Online payment services allow people and businesses to exchange currency electronically over the internet. These services are very popular with consumers and merchants. PayPal is one of the more popular online payment services with more than 40 million members in 45 countries, offering personal and business account services. Both types of accounts allow funds to be transferred electronically among members, but only the business account enables merchants to accept credit card payments for goods and services. The advantages of online payment services are that they’re quick, easy and cheap to open, regardless of your credit rating or anticipated sales volumes, and you can receive payment from any customer with an e-mail account. You can have the funds deposited directly into your account, have a check issued and mailed, or leave funds in your account to draw on using your debit card. The only real disadvantage is that most services redirect your customers to their website to complete the transaction. This can confuse people who in some cases will abandon the purchase. Nonetheless, the advantages of online payment services far outweigh any disadvantages.

Establishing Payment Terms

Every small-business owner also needs to establish a payment-terms policy. Although you certainly want to standardize the way you get paid, at the same time you will also have to be flexible enough to meet clients’ needs on an individual basis. Setting payment terms covers deposits, progress payments and extending credit. It’s important to establish clear, written payment terms with clients prior to providing services or delivering product. Your payment terms should be printed on your estimate forms, included in formal contracts and work orders, and printed on your final invoices and monthly account statements.

Securing Deposits

If you’re run a service business, you have to get in the habit of asking clients for a deposit prior to providing services, especially if the work also involves product sales that have to be paid for by you in advance. In this case, the deposit should be for at least the value of the materials. If you’re supplying labor only, try to secure a deposit of at least one-third to one-half of the total value of the contract in advance of providing any services. Your order form or contract should have the deposit information clearly stated. Information on canceled orders or contracts and your refund policy should also be on your forms. Securing a deposit is your best way of ensuring that, at minimum, basic out-of-pocket costs are covered should the customer cancel the job or contract.

Progress Payments

Progress payments are also a way to ensure that you do not leave yourself open to financial risk. The key to successfully securing progress payments is to prearrange your contract and payment terms. Agree on the amount that will be due at various stages of the project. You can use percentages to calculate the progress payments, such as 25 percent deposit, 25 percent upon delivery of any materials, 25 percent upon substantial completion, and the balance at completion or within 30 days of substantial completion. Or you may arrange for more concrete progress payments based on indicators that are relevant to the specific scope of work, the job or the services provided. Regardless of the system you use, progress payments on larger jobs can dramatically lessen your exposure to financial risk.

Extending Credit

In most cases there’s no need to extend credit to consumers unless you deliver a service such as pest control that’s billed monthly or a major contract that is completed in stages. As a general rule, when a transaction is complete you should be paid in full. However, in the case of business-to-business sales, commercial clients will generally want some type of credit on a revolving-account basis, such as 30, 60, 90 or sometimes 120 days after delivery of the product or completion of the service. Ideally, you want to be paid as quickly as possible, so you might want to offer a 2-percent discount if invoices are paid within one week. And if you do extend credit, make sure to conduct a credit check first, especially when large sums of money are at stake. There are three major credit-reporting agencies serving the United States and Canada: Trans Union, Equifax and Experian. All three credit bureaus compile and maintain credit files on just about every person, business and organization that has ever applied for credit.

Debt Collection

No matter how careful you are when it comes to extending credit privileges to customers, once in a while you will not be paid on time or at all. What can you do to get paid? The first rule of getting paid is to keep the lines of communication open with your delinquent client, and keep the pressure on to get paid through the use of nonthreatening telephone calls, letters and personal visits. You cannot legally intimidate clients into paying you, but you can explain why it is in their best interest to pay you–namely, to keep your business relationship intact, that nonpayment can hurt their credit rating or that you may sue them if they do not pay.

Another option is to hire a collection agency to collect the outstanding debt. Collection agencies generally charge a percentage of the total amount owed as their fee, which can range up to as much as 50 percent. The Association of Credit and Collection Professionalsis a good starting point for finding a collection agency to work with.

Your final option is to take the delinquent account to small-claims court, but remember that small-claims courts have limits as to how much you can sue for in your state or province, ranging from $1,500 to $25,000. Filing fees vary by state and province as well, and these must be paid upfront. But if you win, the fees are added to your award. As a rule of thumb, small-business owners that take people to court for nonpayment generally represent themselves, as the amount of the potential award is usually small and doesn’t justify lawyers’ fees and expenses. Even if you win, you will not necessarily be paid the amount you’re awarded. You may win a judgment, but still have to chase the defendant through garnishment of income or seizure of assets to get paid. You can learn more about the small-claims court process and filing fees by contacting your local courthouse.