A car is a luxury to own and usually, luxury assets like these need to be insured for their protection and to ease the financial burden imposed on you during an unforeseen incident.
However, when something unfortunate happens to your prized possessions, it’s quite natural to lose your mind even though you know that the insurance policy you have, will take care of you.
While filing for a claim settlement it's important to always be in control of your mind, as even the tiniest mistake could cause your claim to get delayed or rejected.
A claim request can be made either if your car has met with an accident, it was vandalized, it was stolen, or if it was damaged by a natural calamity (floods, landslides, fire, etc.)
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts that you could keep in mind while filing for your car insurance benefits.
What you can Do for Car Claim Insurance Process
1. File an FIR with the nearest police station
If your case needs to be escalated and legal proceedings are required, an informal complaint will not work, you would have to register an FIR about the accident/theft/natural disaster with the local police.
2. Intimate your motor insurance provider
The next thing you need to do after calling the police is calling your insurance company at the earliest so that there aren't any delays in your claim settlement process.
You would also need to submit these documentations below to your insurer,
1. Copy of your driver’s license
2. Car registration certificate,
4. Copy of the first two pages of your insurance policy.
5. You might also need a detailed letter addressed to the Road Transport Office (RTO).
3. Ask you insurer to assign a surveyor
Every car insurance company assigns a surveyor who inspects the damage or crime scene, he/she investigates if there are any insurance frauds or the claim request is genuine. Once he is done assessing the damage and repairs if any and compiles the reports, a “schedule of works” prepared by him is submitted to the insurer.
Make sure a surveyor visits your accident scene so that your legalities are in place.
4. File the claim form carefully
It is quite natural to be anxious and angry when something tragic happens, but that’s not going to help you here, in fact, it would be more difficult to claim your insurance benefits.
Fill the claim form accurately with no mistakes, because if there is even a minute one, your claim might be perceived as insurance fraud and might require further investigation.
To avoid this unnecessary delay, fill the details accurately by yourself.
5. Collect Evidence
It's always better to have evidence that could serve as valid proof and can back up your claim request. Here is some evidence that you could use-
1. Pictures and videos of the damages, accident scene, or crime scene.
2. Note down the name, contact number, and addresses of witnesses and other parties if any.
3. Take a picture of the insurance policy document of the third-party involved as it may help avail third-party liability claims.
6. Read the policy document carefully
To know the formalities of the claim settlement process, the exclusions, and inclusions of your cover, and the extent of your coverage, read the policy document carefully in detail so that you know where you stand.
You can also visit your insurer’s website and read their Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
7. Maintain a record of the bills and expenses incurred concerning your claim.
From the time of the incident till the final claim settlement, there would be some expenses that you might have incurred (Car repairs, Personal injury treatment, etc), record all these expenses so that you can get reimbursed by your insurance company at the time of your claim settlement.
8. Make a note of all the representatives of the insurance company you have spoken to.
To avoid any confusion and misrepresentation of your case, make a note of the name of the representative you have spoken to and the position they hold in your insurance company, you might need it if your case is escalated.
9. Make sure you know the difference between depreciated or Actual Cash Value and Replacement Cost.
Depreciated value - All cars depreciate at different rates, usually, a new car will depreciate 20% in the first year, 15% each year after that, and after 10 years, it's worth around 10% of the original value.
Some insurance companies might consider the depreciation value before settling your claim, make sure you know how to calculate the depreciation rate of your car so that you don't settle for any less.
Actual Cash Value (Insurers prefer this while reimbursing their policyholders) - ACV is also known as market value and is basically the original value minus the replacement cost and depreciation.
Replacement Cost - Replacement cost is the value that the insurer agrees to pay to replace the car according to the current market value.
10. Change the name of the insured if you have bought a second-hand car
If you have purchased a second-hand car, make sure that the insurance policy is transferred to your name as if it is not, your claim will get rejected.
11. Know the types of payout options
1. Reimbursement Claim: The policyholder pays the car repair shop directly and collects the repair bills and receipts that need to be submitted to the insurance company or the surveyor. The company then pays the policyholder within a specific period from the document submission date.
2. Cashless Claim: Your insurer will approve the claim amount and it will be communicated to the specific workshop directly. Basically, the Insurer will pay for the repairs directly to the concerned workshop.
What you don't have to do for Car Claim Insurance Process
1. Don’t move away from the accident location
Moving your car away from the accident scene either might delay your claim process or decrease your claim value (if moving your car causes further damage, your insurer might not cover those costs) or your claim might even get denied.
Just stay at the accident spot, collect evidence, and intimate your insurance company, they could even send a surveyor at the spot if it is necessary.
2. Don’t start any repair work before taking approval from the insurer.
If you start any repair work before taking approvals, it might tamper with the evidence and your insurer might not get a clear picture of the damage. This may lead to a delay or even a repudiation of the claim.
3. Do not make any settlements with the third party
It might be tempting to settle on the spot with the third party involved, but don’t get carried away. They might lure you to settle the damages informally without filing a police complaint or by not informing the insurance company, but do not get influenced by this, always remember that an FIR will help you file your insurance claim and your insurer might compensate higher than the third party.
4. Don’t lose your temper with anyone (especially the third party)
Expressing your anger and distress with the third party is not going to leave you in a good position, this might be the first instinct but it's not going to do any good, worst-case scenario, the person you collided with might run away and you won't get a chance to collect any evidence. So, stay calm!
5. Don’t hide any information or provide any wrong information to your insurance provider.
This might even be a silly mistake or might be deliberately, but if you hide any information or lie about something to your insurer, an investigation is bound to happen and your claim might even get rejected as it would be considered insurance fraud.
6. Don’t communicate with the third party without intimating your insurer.
Your third party might send you a legal notice about the claim, do not reply to any such legal document, consult a lawyer first (or reach out to us Register here), or your insurance company.
Even making any financial commitments without looping your lawyer or insurer is risky. Refrain from any communication without consulting your legal counsel.
7. Don’t give a written agreement to your insurer before you have done your home-work.
It’s always better to do your research first, study your policy document, know what’s included and excluded before you sign any document that your insurer has sent you.
Hiring a lawyer would be a good idea! (Register here if you’re seeking legal guidance, we at Insurance Samadhan are experts in dealing with all kinds of insurance grievances)
Remember, whatever your insurance company offers you, it's not the final ultimatum! You don’t need to settle for less if you don’t want to, you should always fight for what you think you deserve.
8. Don’t settle with your insurer in a hurry
Insurance companies do their best to compensate for your losses, but this is always subjective. The final settlement offer might not be the amount you thought you would get but insurers would always tell you that this is the best they could do.
As a regular premium payer, you have every right to ask for what you think is the right amount.
Hence, do not accept a cheque or Demand draft of the “final settlement” unless you’re satisfied with it.
9. Your claim might get rejected if you have been involved with any of these following-
- Driving under influence (DUI). It is a legal offense to drive after intoxication with alcohol or drugs.
- Indulging in rash driving or street racing.
- Using your personal car for commercial purposes.
Filling for a car claim request? Register here and our experts at Insurance Samadhan will guide you through it all!
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