By Ashwini Dubey
Purchasing a car is a major financial and long-drawn decision for most Indians. From choices spanning brands, models, price points and colours to shortlisting the one that will suffice all requirements and suit your budget is not straightforward. But you invest time in the process. It’s also important to think how to safeguard your vehicle, and that where motor insurance comes in.
About 11% of global deaths due to road accidents happen in India. Moreover, with 450,000 accidents per annum, India accounts for world’s highest road accidents, according to a World Bank report of 2021. Under the Motor Vehicle Act 1988, the government has provided the first layer of security to all car owners by making third-party liability insurance mandatory. This protects them against third-party accidents or other damages.
But it doesn’t cover damages to own car. Hence, comprehensive motor insurance is recommended to save you from financial and mental agony. This type of insurance, while covering the standard third-party liability, also shields against situations such as theft, natural calamities, injuries or demise caused by a mishap, etc, to your own car too. It’s the starting point to a smooth ride.
Understanding the car insurance claim settlement
If a car gets damaged due to a mishap or calamity, the policyholder can file for a claim settlement with the insurance firm against damages borne. This process can be done online and offline, regardless of how the policy has been purchased.
Now let’s learn what to keep in mind for a smooth motor insurance claim settlement:
Inform your insurance provider: Notify the insurer about the accident and file the claims online within a few hours. This step should be performed at the earliest or within the stipulated time; else, the chances of the claim getting rejected may increase. This is because the insurance firm requires every minute detail related to the incident, and any slip-up is treated as a red flag. So, inform promptly and accurately. If filing online, the customer may also be required to upload proof such as relevant photos and videos of the vehicle and incident, a copy of the registration certificate, driving licence, etc. It’s advised to click pictures and make a video immediately after an accident as the insurer may require these at the time of claim.
Visit the network garages: Once informed, the damaged car can only be taken to the nearest network garage as directed by the insurance company. The number of network depots may differ from one insurer to another. You will be able to find a claim settlement form at the workshop, or you may be required to download it. A surveyor will be appointed who will verify the extent of the damage incurred and share a repair estimate, by using scientific tools and data analytics. Lastly, take a receiving document of the repair receipt from the service station and get an assessment to know the possible expenditure.
Proof of accident or loss: To get reimbursed for the claim, it is essential to collect evidence in the shape of photographs of the damages incurred by the vehicle. Also, record the names and contact details of the other person involved, and the witnesses. This information validates the accident and makes your case stronger at the time of compensation. A copy of the police FIR is also required, which must be submitted to the insurer. In the case of theft or hooliganism, the insured can get a no-trace certificate from police authorities to certify that the car is stolen and untraceable.
Determine the claim type: This is crucial as it impacts the no-claim bonus at the time of paying the renewal premium and can also be a reason for rejection. Hence, it is vital to determine the type of accident and the claim to be filed for it. For instance, if it is an accident involving a third party, the options available are raising a claim under your insurance policy or selecting the other party’s insurance coverage only if it is not your fault. The latter, however, preserves the no-claim discount at the renewal time. The entitlement can be made via the cashless route, where the insurance provider directly settles the amount with the network service station. It can also be done by choosing the reimbursement of expense mode, which pays the policyholder for the incurred repair expenses during the claim settlement process.
Never hide anything from the insurance company: Facts are facts, these shouldn’t be exaggerated, hidden or fabricated. If done so, the accident will be considered a fraud and the claim will be rejected.
Read the policy document thoroughly: When filing for a claim, read the policy document carefully to understand the settlement process, the extent of the coverage and any formalities required.
To conclude, these are a few things that need to be remembered for a straightforward motor insurance claim settlement. But there are instances when the insurer cannot file a claim, such as informal compromise with a third party after the incident, driving without a valid licence or under the influence of alcohol, and if your policy is expired.
Select a policy that provides exhaustive automobile coverage and offers online and offline claim payment. Be cautious and file the claim wisely to minimise your chances of it being renounced.
The author is head, Motor Insurance Renewals, Policybazaar.com. Views are personal