A Comprehensive Guide to Car Insurance Claims

The purchase of a new car, although quite exciting to the new car-owner, brings with it a set of added expenses. The operating costs and maintenance charges are an inherent part of these expenses. But to protect yourself in the case of an unforeseen incident, like an accident that causes considerable damage to your vehicle, it is best to be covered by an effective insurance policy.

Purchasing a comprehensive car insurance policy is beneficial in multiple ways.

Claims for Damage to Your Own Car

If you have been involved in an accident that has damaged your car, you need to follow these steps to claim insurance,

  • Notify the insurer

    In order to ease the process of insurance approval, the insurance company should be intimated about the accident at the earliest possible time. Most insurers follow strict timelines, and these rules are mentioned in the insurance policy documentation.

  • Get the car towed to the garage

    After an accident, you should never drive the car to the garage. Driving may lead to additional damages that the insurance may not cover. In such a scenario, you should take the assistance of Roadside Assistance (if included in your insurance cover) or engage professional towing services.

  • Go to a Network Garage

    Network Garages are usually listed on the insurer’s website. It is beneficial to take your car to one, as it enables the insurer to settle the expenses for repair of your car directly with the garage. Hence, you need not be involved in the end-to-end reconciliation process.

  • Schedule an inspection

    All repairs on your damaged car should be done only after a surveyor from the insurance company has performed a detailed inspection of the vehicle. Usually, insurance companies schedule surveys within 2 days of the claim notification.

  • Car repair

    After the survey of your car and your insurance claim, the insurer sends an approval for the evaluated repair costs. Once the garage receives the approval, they can start work on the repairs.

  • Miscellaneous costs borne by you

    Some repair charges like compulsory deductibles and costs associated with consumables will be paid by you. Once these formalities are completed, you are good to go.

Claims for Third-Party Liabilities

This is relevant in a situation where you/your car were the cause of damage to someone else’s vehicle or property. This is also applicable when a person has suffered an injury during the accident.

So, when a third-party claims for damages on your insurance policy, you need to follow these steps,

  • An FIR should be registered at the local police station by you or the third-party.
  • For a third-party claim on your , you need to share a copy of the policy with them.
  • As per the 1988 Motor Vehicle Act, the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) is responsible for settling all third-party liability claims. This is where the third-party should file for the claim. However, considering the time taken to settle such claims, it is advisable to do so outside the tribunal.

Claims for a Car Stolen from You

If your car is stolen, you need to follow the procedures below,

  • File an FIR at the local police station.
  • Inform your insurer about the same and raise a claim for it. Documents to be submitted with the claim include,
    • A copy of your car’s RC
    • Copy of the FIR
    • Copy of your driving license
    • The first two pages of your car insurance policy document
    • A letter addressed to the RTO
  • Once the police issues a non-traceable report, you need to transfer the RC of the lost car to the name of your insurer, with a subrogation letter.
  • After completion of all formalities, the claim will be settled.

In summary, it is important to read your policy document carefully and keep a copy of the same in your car at all times. When you make a car insurance claim, you will be giving up your No Claim Bonus (NCB); so it is imperative to weigh out your options before doing so.

GST Update: GST of 18% is applicable on car insurance effective from the 1st of July, 2017

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