A car insurance policy is a mandatory requirement as per the rules of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. Thus, if you have a car, you should have a valid car insurance policy on it. A car insurance policy can come in two variants. One is the mandatory third-party liability policy which covers any financial liability that you face if any individual is physically hurt or killed by the car or if the car damages any individual’s property. This cover is mandatory as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The other type of car insurance policy is a comprehensive car insurance policy. This policy covers third party liabilities as well as the damages suffered by the car itself (called own damage cover). The coverage under your car insurance policy would, therefore, depend on the type of policy that you buy. Whatever type of policy that you buy, do you know how to claim car insurance?

Car insurance claim

A car insurance claim is said to occur when you face a contingency which is covered under your car insurance policy. In that case, you can make a claim on your car insurance provider and the insurance company would compensate for the financial loss that you suffer. 

Car insurance claims can be of three types. They are as follows –

  1. Third-party claims
  2. Own damage claims
  3. Theft of the car

The car insurance claim process would depend on the type of claim that you suffer. So, let’s understand how to claim car insurance for different instances of claims –

How to claim car insurance for third party claims?

A third party claim is said to occur in any of the following instances –

  • If a third party is physically injured or wounded due to the car
  • If a third party is killed by the car
  • If a third party property is damaged by the car

In any of the above-mentioned instances of claim, the claim process would be as follows –

  • File a police FIR immediately after the claim occurs
  • Inform the insurance company of your claim by calling the company’s claim helpline number
  • The claim would be dealt with in the motor accidents claim tribunal. The tribunal would assess the damage caused and determine the third party compensation which is payable
  • The tribunal’s orders would be communicated to the insurance company after which the company would pay the specified compensation to the third party and the claim would be settled.

How to claim car insurance for your own damage claims?

If the car suffers any damage, it is called an own damage claim. Own damage claim can be settled either on a cashless basis or on a reimbursement basis. The claim process for both these types of claim settlements is as follows –

  • Cashless car insurance claim
  • Cashless claim settlement happens when you get the car repaired at the networked garage of the insurance company. In that case, the insurance company settles your car insurance claim directly with the garage and you don’t have to bear the cost of repairs yourself. The process for availing cashless claims is as follows –

    • Inform the insurance company immediately after you suffer damage and there is a claim. Informing the company would help you in registering your claim with the insurer 
    • The insurance company would inform you of the nearest partnered garage wherein you can take your car for cashless repairs. In case the car is badly damaged and cannot be taken to the garage, the insurance company might also arrange for towing facilities
    • Once the vehicle is at the garage, the surveyor of the insurance company would visit the garage to assess the extent of claim suffered
    • The surveyor would, then, prepare a claim report estimating the claim amount and submit the same to the insurance company
    • Based on the surveyor’s report, the insurance company would approve or reject your claim
    • If the claim is approved, the garage would begin repairs on the car
    • Once the repairs are done, you can take the delivery of the car and the insurance company would settle the repair bills with the garage directly
  • Reimbursement car insurance claim
  • If you get your car repaired at a non-networked garage, the claim would be settled on a reimbursement basis. You would have to bear the repair costs initially and then get the costs reimbursed from the insurance company after the repairs have been done by submitting the repair bills. The process is as follows –

    • Inform the insurance company immediately of the claim and get your claim registered
    • Take the car to the garage of your choice for repairs
    • The surveyor of the insurance company would visit the garage and assess the damages
    • The surveyor would prepare a claim estimate and submit it to the insurance company 
    • The garage would repair your car and you would have to pay for all the repair costs incurred
    • Once the car is repaired, submit all the repair bills issued by the garage, in original, to the insurance company along with a claim form
    • The insurance company would assess the bills and the claim form and reimburse you for the expenses incurred on repairs of the car.

How to claim car insurance for theft claims?

In case your car is stolen, it is said to be a theft claim. The claim process for such a claim would be as follows –

  • Inform the insurance company immediately of the theft of the car and get your claim registered
  • File a police FIR with the local police station of the area from where the car was stolen
  • The police would try and find your stolen vehicle 
  • If the police are unable to trace your car, they would issue a non-traceable certificate 
  • You should submit this certificate along with the claim form to the insurance company for getting your claim settled. Both sets of keys of the car would also be required to be submitted for the claim
  • Based on the police certificate, the insurance company would pay the Insured Declared Value (IDV) of your insurance policy and settle the claim

Documents required for car insurance claims

In case of a claim in your car insurance policy, a list of documents would have to be submitted to the insurance company to get the claim settled. These documents are as follows –

  • Policy bond or Certificate of Insurance 
  • Police FIR for third party claims and theft claims
  •  Copy of your driving license 
  • Copy of the RC Book of the car
  • A claim form which should be filled in stating the details of the claim and signed by the policyholder of the insurance policy
  • All repair bills issued by the garage in original (for reimbursement claim settlements)
  • Photo identity proof of the policyholder like a copy of the PAN Card, passport, Aadhar card, etc.

Role of a surveyor in car insurance claims

A surveyor is an individual whose primary task is to assess the damages suffered by the car in case of own damage claims. The surveyor makes sure that the insurance company pays for the actual financial loss suffered by the policyholder in case of damages to the car. The insurance company depends on the surveyor’s report to ensure that the claim is authentic and also to determine the extent of the claim. The surveyor acts in the interests of both the insurance company and the policyholder. Moreover, in case of a total loss of the car when the car is sold for scrap, the surveyor assesses a reasonable scrap value which can be deducted from the IDV of the car insurance policy before the company settles the claim. Thus, the surveyor’s role is integral in claim settlements in case of own damage claims.

Car insurance claim rejection

Though insurance companies try and settle all car insurance claims which are made on them, there are some cases in which your claim can be rejected. These instances include the following –

  • Policy exclusions

    If you make a claim for a damage which is specifically excluded from the car insurance policy, the claim would be rejected. For instance, accidents suffered when you are driving without a valid driving license are not covered under car insurance plans. So, in case of a claim, if the company finds out that the driver did not have a valid driving license, the claim would be rejected. Similarly, if you face any claim when driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or when committing an illegal act, the claim would be rejected by the insurance company.

  • Lapse of the policy

    A car insurance policy comes with a particular coverage duration. As the duration comes to an end, the policy is supposed to be renewed for continued coverage. However, if the policy is not renewed, it lapses. When the policy lapses, coverage stops. If subsequently, a claim is made in a policy which is in a lapsed state, the claim would be rejected.

  • Non-compliance with the claim process

    You are supposed to follow the above-mentioned claim process to get your car insurance claims settled. If the claim process is not properly followed, the claim might be rejected.

  • Lack of documents

    If you are unable to submit the required documents for a claim, the claim might be rejected by the insurance company.

  • Non-transfer of car insurance policy

    When you buy a second-hand car, the car insurance policy should be transferred to your name so that you can avail coverage. However, if you have not transferred the car insurance policy in your name and you face a claim when driving the vehicle, the subsequent claim would not be paid.

How to avoid car insurance claim rejection?

If you don’t want your car insurance claims to be rejected, there are some precautions which you can take. These precautions include the following –

  • Always read the policy document to know what is covered and what is excluded in your car insurance policy
  • Avoid making claims for instances which form a part of the policy exclusions
  • Always renew your car insurance policy on time so that you can enjoy uninterrupted coverage and make a valid claim on the policy
  • Ensure you have a valid driving license at all times
  • When you are buying a second-hand car, make sure to get the car insurance coverage transferred to your name before you start driving the car
  • Understand and remember the claim process which you are required to follow
  • Keep all the claim related documents handy, especially the copy of your insurance policy, so that they can be submitted whenever required
  • Inform the insurance company timely whenever you face a claim in your car insurance policy.

Your car insurance policy proves to be a blessing when you face a financial loss due to any accident. Know the claim process of your car insurance plan so that you know how to make use of the policy when needed.


A compulsory deductible is the part of the claim which is not paid by the insurance company. You are required to pay the deductible limit yourself while the insurance company would pay the rest of the claim amount.

No, the insurance company does not pay the repair costs fully. A compulsory deductible is deducted from the claim amount. Moreover, the depreciation suffered by the car’s parts would also be reduced from the claim amount and the remaining amount would be paid as claim. However, if you buy a zero depreciation add-on, the depreciation cost is not deducted from the claim amount. In that case, the company pays a higher claim after deducting only the compulsory deductible.

If the car is so badly damaged that the repair costs would exceed 75% or 80% of the Insured Declared Value of the car insurance policy, such a claim is called a total constructive loss. In such cases, the insurance company pays the IDV of the car insurance policy after deducting the scrap value for which the car can be sold at a scrapyard.

Theft due to negligence of the car owner is not covered under car insurance plans. That is why insurance companies need you to submit both sets of car keys to ensure that you did not leave one set of keys hanging in the car thereby resulting in theft.