After having bought your dream vehicle, you have protected it with the most optimum insurance plan. Now that you are all set to take it out on a long relaxing drive, a singular pleasure that you have always wanted, you should check whether you are aware of the terms and conditions in your insurance document.
This is crucial because motor insurance protection is essentially the safety net that safeguards you and your vehicle from all unpleasant eventualities. So, as the policyholder, you are expected to be well aware of what is covered under the plan and what is not. Reading through the policy documentation is the best way in which you can get first-hand information about the plan coverage.
In addition to the coverage, it is also crucial that you are aware of the steps you need to take in the unprecedented event of a claim. Again, reading through the policy documentation helps you in making a judicious decision at that point of time.
Types Of Motor Insurance Claims
- Based on claim settlement process - Motor insurance claims can be broadly classified into two types, based on the claim settlement process:
Cashless claims - Getting your vehicle repaired at a cashless garage is the most optimum way in which you can proceed after a devastating accident. The striking benefits of this mode of claim settlement are as follows:
- The policyholder is not required to pay any significant amount upfront for the repair work. He/she will only have to bear the deductibles/excesses and depreciation of car parts. The remaining expenses will be paid directly by the insurance company to the network garage.
- The services offered at cashless garages are of the best quality. The use of latest equipments and the presence of informed personnel ensure that there are minimal delays in the repair work. Most network garages offer a 6-month quality assurance certificate for all repairs done there.
- The policyholder may receive additional benefits such as courtesy car service for a fixed duration while the insured car is undergoing repairs at a network garage.
- The survey and multi-level approval processes at the insurer’s side happen in a quick manner when the motor vehicle is undergoing repairs at a network garage.
- Some insurers offer free pick-up, towing assistance, and car wash facility when you opt for cashless claim settlement.
How To Initiate A Cashless Claim After An Accident
If your vehicle has been involved in an accident, you can initiate a cashless claim in the following manner:
- First you should note down the number of the other vehicle/vehicles involved in the accident. Also, get the names and contact details of the witnesses, if possible.
- In case there were third-party injuries/death or property damage, loss of keys, malicious damage, or any other such critical issues, you should file an FIR at the nearest police station.
- You should also contact the insurance company and report the accident. You will receive a reference/claim number.
- You will be informed about the documents required for claim processing by the customer care representative from the insurance company. Additionally, you will be provided the details of network garages in the locality, where you can get the repairs done.
- You can take the vehicle to a network garage. A customer service manager (CSM) will get in touch with you within 24 hours of claim registration.
- You should submit all the relevant documents to the CSM/dealer and get an estimate for the repair work. Once the CSM approves the estimate, he/she will give a go-ahead for the repairs.
- The insurance company will make the claim payment to the garage after the repair work is completed.
- The CSM will intimate you on the balance amount that you will have to pay under the heads of deductibles and depreciation.
- Reimbursement claims - You can choose to get your vehicle repaired at a garage that is outside the network of the motor insurance company. If you follow this route, you will have to pay the entire repair amount to the garage after the repair work and then raise a reimbursement claim under the motor insurance policy. The insurer will validate the claim documents submitted by you and provide you the claim payout.
How To Initiate A Reimbursement Claim After An Accident
In case your vehicle has met with an accident, you should follow these steps to raise a reimbursement claim:
- You should take note of the vehicles that are involved in the mishap. Also, get the contact details and names of the witnesses.
- You should then get in touch with the insurance company at its toll-free number and report the incident. Some insurers also enable you to raise claims through SMS; in this case, you will receive a call-back from a customer care representative of the insurer.
- Within 24 hours of claim registration, you will receive a call from the Customer Service Manager (CSM) of the insurer. You will have to submit all original bills, invoices, etc. to the CSM and get these verified.
- The insurance company will then initiate the claim settlement process.
- The reimbursement for the approved claim amount will be offered directly to the customer.
Based on claim incident - Motor insurance claims can also be differentiated on the basis of the incident that gives rise to the claim. Let us take a look at this in detail.
Own-damage claims - If your vehicle is equipped with a comprehensive motor insurance policy, you get the own-damage cover that protects you in the event of an accident. Listed below are the steps to raise own-damage claims:
- Inform the insurance company about the accident with the least possible delay. Most insurance companies do not honour claims that are raised after 48 hours from the time of the incident. In case you have bought vehicle insurance through a third-party insurance broking website, you can get in touch with that company and narrate the incident. You will receive the guidance of the third-party company throughout the claim settlement process.
- You should also approach the nearest police station and file an FIR, as it adds weightage to your claim.
- An inspection will be scheduled by the insurer, after which you can move the vehicle to a network garage. You can also choose to get the vehicle repaired at any garage outside the network of the insurance company and raise a reimbursement claim later on.
- Once the garage provides an estimate for the repair work, your insurer will have to provide the approval for the same. After this, the repair work commences.
- As soon as the repair is done, the insurer settles the cashless claim. For reimbursement claims, you will have to go through the process of submitting all relevant bills/invoices separately. The insurer will validate the documents submitted and make the necessary payout.
Third-party liability claims - If you were responsible for an accident (involving your insured vehicle) in which a third party has suffered some losses, you will be drawn into a third-party liability claim. In such a scenario, your insurance company will pay for the damages incurred by the third party, under your insurance policy. Listed below are the steps involved in the same:
- The first thing to do here is to file an FIR at the local police station. Ideally, the victim will have to do this and keep a copy of the FIR with him/her.
- The third party will need the details of your vehicle insurance policy, so that he/she can raise a claim under it.
- All third-party liability claims of critical nature are settled in the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT). The victim will file a case at the tribunal that is closest to the place of the accident or to his/her residence.
- The involvement of various parties makes this a very lengthy and strenuous process. So, if there are no deaths involved in the accident, it is advisable to settle this outside court on the basis of a mutual understanding.
- It should be noted that there are no specific limits on the maximum compensation amount under a third-party disablement/death claim. The compensation depends on factors such as the extent of disablement and the earning capacity of the victim. For third-party property damage claims, the upper limit is usually Rs.7.5 lakh. However, the actual amount will be decided by the court.
Theft claims - Being victim to a stolen car is one of the worst things that a car owner could be involved in. In case you find that your vehicle is stolen, here is what you should look to do:
- First and foremost, lodge an FIR at the nearest police station.
- Also intimate the insurance company of the loss. When doing so, you should submit the following documents:
- A copy of the vehicle’s registration certificate (RC)
- A copy of your driving license
- A copy of the FIR
- The first two pages of your policy document
- A letter about the theft, addressed to the RTO
- The police department will try to trace the vehicle for about 6 months, after which it files a Non Traceable Report.
- Following this, the RC will be transferred to the insurance company along with a letter of subrogation.
- Once the insurer receives all relevant documents, the claim will be settled.
- Own-damage claims - If your vehicle is equipped with a comprehensive motor insurance policy, you get the own-damage cover that protects you in the event of an accident. Listed below are the steps to raise own-damage claims:
Motor Insurance Claim FAQs:
- What are partial claim settlements?
There may be instances where the insurance company does not pay you the entire claim amount. This is usually seen in circumstances where the level of vehicle damage assessed by the insurer is different from your assessment. The specifics of the incident that gave rise to the claim and the extent of vehicle insurance coverage under your policy also play a part in this. In order to avoid such incidents, it is advisable to be well aware of your motor insurance coverage and the exclusions, in particular.
- When should I not raise a motor insurance claim?
In case your vehicle has suffered a minor damage that can be fixed easily at a low cost, then you should definitely refrain from raising a motor insurance claim. You should be aware of the fact that a claim will require you to foot the amount corresponding to deductibles and depreciation of replaced vehicle parts. You will also lose the No Claim Bonus (NCB) that you have accumulated under the policy. So, if you are looking to raise a claim, assess whether the claim amount will be much higher than all the components mentioned above. If not, it makes more sense to pay for the repairs yourself.
- What could be the reason for a motor insurance claim rejection?
A motor insurance company could reject a claim on the following grounds:
- Driving without a valid license
- Delay in intimating the insurer of the claim incident
- Using a second-hand car without motor insurance
- Consequential damages to the car
- Driving while intoxicated with drugs/alcohol
- Getting the vehicle repaired without informing the insurance company
- Using the vehicle beyond the limits specified by the manufacturer
- Installing of a CNG/LPG kit without informing the insurer
Apart from the above, if the insured vehicle is too old, the repair cost could be very high. In this situation, the motor insurance company may reject the claim.
- Can I lodge a consolidated claim for a set of repairs that were done on my vehicle over a period of time?
- Can I raise a claim after the expiry of my motor insurance policy for an event that happened while the policy was in force?
- After I raise a claim under motor insurance, will my renewal be affected?
No, this is not allowed. Each event will have to be notified to the insurer as and when it occurs and a claim should be raised immediately.
Yes, this is allowed as long as you adhere to the insurer’s general stipulations regarding the timeframe within which a claim should be lodged following an incident.
Raising a claim under your motor insurance policy implies that you will lose the NCB that could give you a significant discount on renewal premium. So, your policy will be more expensive. The claim event also has a considerable impact on the policy renewal process. If you are someone who raises frequent claims, your insurance company may classify you as a high-risk individual to cover. Hence, you may be offered a higher rate on motor insurance.
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