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Insurance Article

How to Make a Car Insurance Claim

February 27 2017
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Follow these steps to make a successful claim on your car insurance

Along with the luxury and comfort of owning a car comes the added responsibility of keeping your car and loved ones safe. Comprehensive car insurance is a smart choice when buying a car. While Third-Party Car Insurance is mandatory by law, a comprehensive car policy will keep you protected against any unforeseen damage.

Type of Car Insurance Claims

  • Cashless car insurance claims:
  • As the name suggests, a cashless car insurance claim ensures that all the expenses for car repairs under your policy are covered directly by the insurance company. This claim process works for all the network garages that are enlisted with your insurance company. However, be aware of the damages that are covered under your cashless four wheeler insurance policy, as any non-covered damages expenses will have to be borne by you.

  • Car insurance reimbursement claims:
  • Unlike cashless car insurance claims, this particular type is based on the reimbursement model. You pay for the repairs and then submit the expenses for reimbursement from your car insurance provider. The claims are subjected to the terms and conditions of your motor insurance policy.

Dos To Remember When Making a Car Insurance Claim

Following steps should be followed to make a claim after your car has met with an accident:

  1. Report To The Police & File An FIR

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    There are no two ways about this. In case of a car theft or major accident, you need to file an FIR with the police or else your claim will not be settled. Though not mandatory for minor accidents that cause dents, it’s always a good idea to lodge an FIR and hold a copy of the same. This is especially true in the case of third-party accidents that might have caused bodily injury or even death.

    In case of theft, after filing the FIR the police department will issue a final Non-Traceable Report, usually after six months of unsuccessfully trying to locate the car. After this, you will need to complete the transfer process of RC of your lost car in the name of your insurance company along with a letter of subrogation. The claim settlement will be done once all the documents are submitted to the insurance company.

  3. Inform Your Insurance Company

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    Immediately intimate your insurance company after the accident. Most of them follow stringent timelines which is mentioned in the car insurance policy document. Remember if you fail to inform your insurer within 2 to 3 days of such an incident, you may lose your claim. Do this as soon as possible, even if you are away from home or someone else has caused the accident.

  5. Provide Insurer With All Relevant Documents ASAP

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    In the event of an accident, make sure to send all the documents to the insurer at the earliest. Unless the required documents are submitted on time, the car insurance claim process will not be initiated. Some of the important documents for submission include driving license, registration certificate (RC), and car insurance claim form.

  7. Assess Damage & Gather Proof

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    The damage suffered by your car needs to be assessed. Once you’ve notified the insurer, an inspection will be scheduled. A surveyor will come and ascertain the extent of the damage. It’s wise to take pictures of the damage incurred and ensure that you have penned down the details of the witnesses as well. Also, if possible, take a picture of the third party’s car insurance papers as well, as it helps to expedite the claim process. Post-assessment, you’ll also be guided to the nearest network garage and your car will be towed there.

  9. Know Your Car Insurance Policy

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    Once you receive your car insurance policy, be extra vigilant and read through papers thoroughly. Sections such as inclusion, exclusions, etc. are most important to know as these come into play at the time of a motor insurance claim. If the damages incurred are in the exclusion list, then your claim is most likely to be rejected.

Car Insurance Claim Don’ts You Can’t Ignore

  1. Do Not Panic & Flee

  2. In the event of an accident, it’s best to stay calm. Do not flee the accident spot or move your vehicle from the accident location as it is a vital element of the proof chain. Immediately inform the police and wait for law enforcement to arrive. Running away from the scene of the accident or moving your vehicle can even lead to rejection of your car insurance claim.

  3. Do Not Hide or Exaggerate

  4. When opting for a motor insurance claim, you should refrain from either hiding the facts or overstating them. Many insured feel that such tactics can reward them with higher claim amounts. Instead, such a move can not only lead to claims rejections but also legal troubles.

  5. Avoid Third Party Settlements

  6. Under no circumstances should you settle with a third party in the event of an accident. Such a settlement without informing the police of the incident is considered to be illegal and can easily lead to a claim rejection. More often than not, third parties would try to settle the issue with monetary reparations. This should be avoided at all costs. Follow the proper procedure and stay safe.

  7. Beware of Insurance Companies Insistence on Settlement

  8. When it comes to motor insurance claims settlement, ensure that you have adequate legal help. Insurance companies are known to pressurize customers to accept the very first settlement amount. It’s best to stand your ground, go through the policy papers thoroughly, seek legal advice, and only then should you come to a decision. Remember, the settlement amount can be increased if properly negotiated.

Should You or Should NOT Make a Claim?

In every car insurance claim, certain expenses have to be borne from your pocket. This figure is called Voluntary Deductible, which the insured agrees to pay and the rest gets covered under the policy. There is also a No Claim Bonus (NCB) that insurance companies offer. This is a discount you earn on the annual premium of your policy if you do not claim in a given year and the policy is renewed.

For example, the NCB applicable to you is 10% which is ₹5,000. And the voluntary excess you’ve agreed to pay is ₹3,000. In a scenario where your car has suffered minor damages and the bills are somewhere close to your voluntary excess figure, it is advisable not to claim and bear all the repair costs. Safeguard your NCB for future renewals as it can significantly reduce your premium. However, if the damage is serious and repair costs are high, go for the claim.

Now that you are aware of what to do and what not to when it comes to car insurance claims, here are some reasons why your motor insurance claim can get rejected.

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