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All you need to know about auto insurance claim procedure

Snapshot: While all car owners get the mandatory insurance for their cars, very few are aware of how to make use of it. This article deals with all possible scenarios in which one may require to take the benefit of insurance.

In case of an accident on road where your car gets damaged, there are certain things that you would require to do to get the insurance claim. First and foremost, you should know the kind of insurance policy that your car has. Basically, there are two types, comprehensive and third party. A comprehensive policy covers damages caused to your car in case of an accident, in addition to loss of lives and legal liability to third party that there might be. While a third party car insurance covers only legal liability to a third party when you are at fault. It covers the damage or injury caused by the insured, to another person or property.

Third party insurance is mandatory under motor vehicle act of India and it’s illegal to drive a car that does not have this basic insurance.  

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Claim Process

In case of an Accident 

"It's pretty easy and straightforward to make a claim in case of Comprehensive Policy."

a. You can either use the comprehensive policy of your car or make a claim from 3rd party insurance of the other vehicle owner. Using the comprehensive policy of your own car is very straightforward. You would need to inform the insurance company and police immediately after the accident happened. It’s advisable not to move the car from the place of the accident until the insurance company and police advise to do this, since this can cause problem with the claim.

b. A surveyor deputed by the insurance company will access the damages and grant permission for repair. Once that’s done, you can get the car repaired from a service centre as advised by the insurance company. Depending upon the policy that you have, you can either go cashless or pay from own pocket and get the bills reimbursed from the insurance company afterwards.

c. In case of third party claim, you would need to file claim with Motor Accident Claims Tribunal along with details of the accident, surveyor’s report, copy of FIR etc. Your insurance company will not help you with this battle and it might prove to be cumbersome task for you as well. Therefore, it’s advisable to refrain from making third party claims unless the accident caused any loss to you physically or anyone involved in the accident.

In case of theft

"The basic and mandatory third party auto insurance does not provide coverage in case of theft."

a. Having a comprehensive insurance pays off in case the vehicle gets stolen. You would need to lodge an FIR with police and inform the insurance company immediately about the same. In addition to all the documents like registration certificate of the car, policy documents and FIR, a letter addressed to the RTO intimating about the theft would be required too.  

b. After the final “Non traceable report” is submitted by the police, the claim of the insured is approved by the insurance company and the value as estimated by the insurance company is paid to the car owner. You would need to hand over the car keys to the insurance company along with a letter of subrogation.

c. In case the vehicle was financed, the insurance company uses the money to reimburse the finance company. You would need to pay the finance company the amount that exceeds beyond the claim provided by insurance company.  

Things to keep in mind

"The NCB (No-Claim Bonus) advantage can be of significant amount, therefore it's better to check before filing a claim." 

a. Besides getting help for someone who’s injured, make sure to call police and inform them about the specific details about the accident that they might ask. Make sure to take note of the registration number of the car and file an FIR in case damages done to your car are huge.

b. Establishing and deciding fault is of prime importance if you wish to get a claim from a third party insurance of the other car owner. For this, you would need an FIR and the registration number of the vehicle with which you met an accident. Corroborating this can be tricky, therefore, if you have a cell phone, take pictures if you can. Also, take contact number of the witnesses of the accident.

c. Almost every insurance company offers a toll-free number that you can contact in case of need. The contact number is also present in the policy documents. Inform your insurance company on the contact number along with details of the accident that they might ask like the date, time, place, cause etc. It’s advisable to keep a record of the conversation with yourself.

d. Informing the insurance company and filing an FIR is absolutely essential, since it would ease the claim process (third party as well as your own). You would also need documents like registration certificate of the car, valid driving licence, policy documents etc. for this.

e. All insurance companies offer you a NCB (No-claim bonus) discount for the following year premium if you do not take a claim for the previous year and this generally keeps increasing with successive years if you do not claim. It's advisable to check the NCB value that you would get for the following year and effective premium that are supposed to pay. It's better to get the minor repairs done from your own pocket in case the expenses are less than the benefits that you enjoy from NCB bonus.  

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