Before an insurance company reimburses your car insurance claim, they will want to inspect the damaged vehicle. This inspection is the initial step in the claims settlement process, and it may be scheduled at the spot of the accident or even weeks later, depending on the incidents surrounding your claim.
Where Is The Claims Inspection Done?
Each insurance provider has a specific process on carrying out their claims inspection. Some insurers will appoint mobile adjusters to take a look at the vehicle, either at your residence or at the accident scene. The inspector would then perform an elaborate evaluation of the damage with photographic evidence and statements recorded from the parties involved in the mishap.
Other insurance companies prefer to inspect the car at a specified location, such as an approved body shop, where you would have to bring the vehicle. Some insurers also agree to have the assessment done at the service centre of your choice.
Whatever method is adopted by the insurer, the purpose of each inspection would be the same, i.e., to estimate the cost of repair of the vehicle.
How Is The Inspection Performed?
Listed below are the factors considered by the surveyor when performing a claims inspection:
- Detect fraudulence - The inspector?s job involves an examination to understand if the damages that were claimed to have occurred are really there. He would have to negate the possibility of the car being damaged prior to the accident, and the owner using the instance of the collision to include existing damages within the claim. If such a fraudulent intent is discovered by the surveyor, the claim will be nullified immediately. So, it is best to be honest with your insurance company, and file claims only for legitimate reasons.
Identify the actual damage and the associated repair cost - Apart from sieving out fraudulent claims, the surveyor also identifies the actual damage incurred by the car, and a reasonable cost of repair for it. This is the basis for the final insurance claim settlement.
Service centres without a standard rate card charge customers on a case by case basis. Customers who are able to negotiate well walk away with the best deal. Similarly, in the case of car damage estimates after a claims inspection, the amount that the service centre quotes will depend upon their relationship with the insurance company. Hence, it is best to get cars repaired at the network garages suggested by the insurer.
In addition to the quotes provided by the service centre, you can get an independent appraisal of your damages through another source to tally the estimates and see if they are in alliance. In case you see that you are being charged too much by the service centre, and subsequently the insurer, you can always raise fresh discussions with them to negotiate on a better quote.
- The process of inspection - First, the inspector will survey the vehicle and take photographs of all the damages that are visible. He will also take notes in a detailed manner to support the photo evidence. The parts of the car that need replacement will be marked separately. These photographs and notes are usually submitted to the insurance provider for claims settlement. The process of inspection generally lasts for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Follow up processes - The insurance claims inspector will explain the repair estimates to you in an elaborate way. You will also receive the same in a document, for your reference. In the documentation, the costs will be split on a component basis, and described in a detailed manner. You should tally the specifics in the report with the clauses in your insurance policy to understand whether you have received all the benefits that you are liable for. Once you are satisfied with the quote, you can accept the proposal, so that the insurer can issue the damage repair costs.
When the inspection is under way, you should substantiate your claim with the car?s registration documents, your driver?s license, any photographs that you have of the accident scene and your auto insurance documents. In case you have carried out any repairs on the vehicle post the collision, you also need to furnish receipts for the same.
It is to be noted that you are eligible for a fair deal on the repair cost, as per the contract that you have signed with the insurer. However, you are required to furnish all information regarding the mishap in an honest manner. You should also read your policy documents carefully to be informed about the coverage details.
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GST Update: GST of 18% is applicable on car insurance effective from the 1st of July, 2017