A car insurance policy is a mandatory requirement as prescribed by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. That is why every car driving on Indian roads carries a valid insurance cover. This cover comes in handy in times of any contingency involving the car. In case of accidents or facing car related damages, a claim arises in the car insurance policy. There are three instances of car insurance claims which are as follows –
The most common instance of claim is when the car is involved in an accident. In an accident, three types of claims might arise –
- Third-party claims – when your car injures or kills any third person or damages any third party property
- Own damage claims – when only your car faces damage. For instance, you ram your car in a tree or a light-post
- Both third-party and own damage claim – when you injure any third party or damage any third party property and your car also faces damages.
- Theft of the car
When the car is stolen, a theft claim arises.
How to make a claim in these instances?
Whether your car is involved in an accident or it is stolen, you are required to follow a proper procedure to make a car insurance claim. Here are the steps to be followed in each of the above-mentioned instances of claims –
In case of accidents
- Inform the insurance company immediately on the toll-free number mentioned on your Policy Copy when you face an accident & intimate the claim. Mention the policy number and the details of the accident to the call centre of the respective insurance company.
- Once the claim is intimated, you have to move your vehicle to the Insurance company’s nearest network garage for cashless claim settlement. Network garage details will be provided by the call centre team & if you have to go for a reimbursement claim you can move your vehicle to any nearby workshop at your convenience
- Police FIR is Mandatory if there is any Third-party Injury involved in the accident, or if the accident is major. Even in the case of Good Carrying Vehicle, police FIR is mandatory
- A surveyor will visit the garage and assess the loss and will give the necessary approval to start the repair work
- You have to fill the claim form and submit it in the workshop along with the Policy Copy, RC Driving Licence of the driver who was driving the vehicle at the time of the accident and all copy of all other vehicle documents in case of Passenger Carrying Vehicle & Goods Carrying Vehicle.
- Any third party claim, if applicable, is settled by the insurance company based on the rulings of the motor accidents tribunal.
- When the repairs are completed, the insurance company settles the bills with the workshop. You might have to pay a part of the claim from your own pockets. Once all the costs are settled, you can take delivery of your car.
In case of theft of car
- Inform the insurance company of the theft immediately.
- An FIR should also be filed immediately in case of theft
- A claim is then to be filed with the insurance company. You have to submit the RC book, copy of the FIR, copy of the driving license, copy of the intimation sent to the RTO and the policy document
- Once the police issue a ‘non-traceable report for the car after three months of loss of the car, the claim would be settled by the insurance company
- You would have to transfer the RC book of the car in the name of the insurance company along with a letter of subrogation transferring all rights of your car to the insurance company.
- Once these formalities are done, the IDV of the car is paid as a claim.
Types of car insurance claims
Car insurance claims are of two types – cashless and reimbursement. Here’s what these claims are –
Cashless claims – under cashless claims, you get the car repaired at the preferred workshop and once your vehicle is ready workshop mail the bills to the insurance company. The insurance company releases its liability and you have to just pay the difference amount and take the delivery of your vehicle (Difference Amount = Total Bill Amount – Insurance Co Liability Share)
Reimbursement claims – when the car is repaired at a non-networked garage, once your vehicle repair work is completed you have to pay the complete bill amount and take the delivery of your vehicle and submit original bills to the surveyor. On receiving the bill the insurance company will reimburse the approved amount via NEFT to the insured’s account in 8 to 10 working days.
Things to look out for when making a car insurance claim
There are things that should be kept in mind when making a car insurance claim. These things, if considered, help in getting the claim settled quickly. Here are the things which should be kept in mind at the time of claim –
There is a component of compulsory excess in a car insurance policy. This excess represents the portion of the claim payable by you. In every claim, you would have to compulsorily bear the excess.
Similarly, there is also a concept of voluntary excess. However, unlike compulsory excess which is mandatory, voluntary excess is chosen by you. If you choose a voluntary excess, you would have to pay the chosen portion of the claim. Voluntary excess, if chosen, earns you a premium discount.
Car insurance policies have exclusions that are not covered under the plan. If a claim is made for such exclusions, the claim would be rejected. So, before making a claim, check whether the claim is covered or excluded.
If your car is being repaired, depreciation would be applicable on the parts being repaired. The insurance company would, thus, pay a portion of the actual bills after deducting the applicable depreciation (On Plastic Parts 50% on Metal Parts – As per Vehicle Age, & on Glass No Depreciation ) You would, then, have to bear the cost of depreciation and pay the unsettled claim yourself.
- Preferred garage
Cashless claims are settled only if the car is repaired at a preferred garage. So, before taking your car for repairs, check the preferred garages in the area. You can also find the garage from the insurance company’s toll-free number while registering the claim and take the car to the networked garage.
- Loss of No Claim discount
When no claim is made in a policy year, the car insurance policy allows a premium discount in the next year’s premium. This discount increases every subsequent claim-free year. If, however, a claim is made, the discount becomes zero. So, avoid making small claims. Pay the repair costs of smaller claims from your own pockets to avoid losing the accumulated no claim discount.
- Documents required
Every claim requires a valid set of documents which should be submitted along with the claim form. Some common documents include copies of the driving license, RC book, policy bond and FIR, if applicable. So, when making a claim, make sure that the relevant documents are handy.
- Using add-ons
Add-ons are additional coverage features that enhance the scope of coverage of the car insurance plan. If you have selected add-ons in the policy, see if the add-on proves useful at the time of claim. For instance, if you have a roadside assistance add-on and your car is stranded in the middle of the road, you can call the insurance company and use the add-on for arranging assistance. Similarly, in the case of a zero depreciation add-on, the insurance company would pay the full claim, without deducting depreciation. So, see if the selected add-ons are being used in case of your claim.
How to make a claim without a driving license or RC book?
There might be times when you do not have a valid RC book for the car. For instance, when you buy a new car and you have applied for registration, it would be some time before you are issued an RC book. Alternatively, you might lose your RC book due to unavoidable circumstances.
Besides the RC book, there are instances when you might be without a valid driving license. For example, if you are learning to drive to apply for a license and you suffer a claim, you would have no driving license to make a valid claim. Similarly, if you lose your driving license, making a claim would be difficult.
To protect against the financial loss suffered due to the loss of the RC book or the driving license, there is a loss of RC add-on offered by many insurance companies. This add-on pays you compensation if you lose your RC book or driving license so that you can apply for a duplicate one. This add-on is beneficial because –
- It bears the financial cost of a duplicate RC book or driving license
- It gives you financial security in case you lose the RC book or driving license
- It can help you deal with your claim easily
In the event of a loss of RC book and/or the driving license, you should file a police FIR immediately. Moreover, you should apply to the local RTO for issuing you a duplicate RC book or driving license. In the case of a claim, you would have to make the insurance claim without a driving license or RC book. You can submit the police FIR and the application for a duplicate RC book or license as you have made with the RTO. Based on these documents, the insurance company would settle your car insurance claim without a license or RC book.
Tips to file a correct car insurance claim
You need to follow car insurance claim rules to file a successful claim. However, when following the stipulated car insurance claim rules, given below are certain car insurance tips that would smoothen the claim process –
- Always keep your car insurance policy handy at all times. The insurance certificate is a one-page document that you should keep in the car like your RC Book and PUC certificate.
- Inform the insurer immediately whenever you suffer a claim. This would help in getting your claim registered. Moreover, you can use the claim registration number for checking the status of your claim.
- Keep all claim-related documents handy. Also, make a copy of all the documents that you submit for your records.
- If you are not conversant with the claim process, talk to the claim helpline number of the insurance company. The company would guide you through the process and help you raise a successful claim.
When can a claim be rejected?
There are instances when your car insurance claim might get rejected. These instances include the following –
- When the claim occurs due to your negligence
If you are a negligent driver and due to your negligence the claim has occurred, such a claim would not be paid by the insurance policy. Moreover, if you are negligent in maintaining your car safely, your claim can be rejected. For example, in the case of theft claims, if it is found that you left your car keys inside the car which led to the theft, the claim might get rejected.
- When there is no proof of an accident
If you make an accident claim but there is no proof that certifies the accident, the insurance company might reject the claim. So, ensure that the accident can be certified through videos, eyewitnesses or even a police FIR in the case of third party losses.
- When you provide false or fraudulent details when buying
Insurance plans are contracts of utmost good faith. You are required to provide all the correct details of the car when buying the insurance policy. If, however, you provide wrong or misleading information and the insurance company finds out that you provided fraudulent information, your claim would be rejected.
- When you do not follow the claim process correctly
You are required to follow the claim process properly to get your claim settled. If you do not follow the right process there are chances of claim rejection.
- When you claim for an excluded expense
Car insurance policies have a list of exclusions. If the claim features under such exclusions or if the expenses incurred are not covered, the claim would be rejected.
- When proper paperwork is not submitted with the claim form
You are required to submit a set of documents to validate your car insurance claim. If, however, you do not submit the right paperwork or if important documents are missing, the claim might be rejected.
- When there is a delay in making a claim
You should inform the insurance company immediately when there is a claim. If you delay in informing the insurer or if you delay in raising a claim, the insurance company gets suspicious of fraudulent activities. As such, if you make a claim after a long time after it occurs, there might be chances of claim rejection.
- When the policy is in a lapsed state when the claim is made
Your car insurance policy has a specific coverage duration, usually one year. You are required to renew the plan every year to enjoy non-stop coverage. However, if you do not renew the policy within the due date, the policy lapses and the coverage stops. Thereafter, if you incur any claim when the policy is in a lapsed state, such a claim would not be paid by the insurer and your claim would be rejected.
What should you do when a claim is rejected?
In case of rejection of your car insurance claim, you can take the following steps –
- Check if the claim you made was for an excluded coverage. If it was, you would have to bear the claim yourself.
- If proper paperwork was not submitted due to which the claim has been rejected, make sure to submit all the required documents. Find out the list of documents the insurance company wants and submit them. Also, retain all original bills related to repairs of your car following a claim. These bills might also be required by the insurance company
- If you have not followed the correct claim procedure, try and find out your mistake. Correct the mistake and follow the corrected procedure of making a car insurance claim
- In case of delay, complete the claim process as quickly as possible. Inform the company of the reason for the delay. Keep all documents handy so that the claim process is settled without further delays
- In the case of a lapsed policy, there is no way out. Your claim would be rejected and you would have to bear the claim yourself. Try renewing your car insurance policy on time every time to avoid claim rejection in future.
- For any other reasons, if you believe that the claim has been unjustifiably rejected, you can make a complaint with the company’s internal grievance handling department. If you are not satisfied with the company’s grievance handling department you can also make a complaint with IRDA, insurance ombudsman or escalate it to the consumer forum.
How Turtlemint helps?
Turtlemint is an online platform that not only helps with the purchase of a car insurance policy online it also helps with claim settlement. Turtlemint has a claim handling department that helps you with your car insurance claims. You can contact Turtlemint in case of a claim and Turtlemint then coordinates with the insurance company with the settlement of your claim. Thus, Turtlemint helps in the easy and speedy settlement of your car insurance claims.