Having comprehensive car insurance is like having an additional airbag. It protects you from the financial impact of accidents and other unfortunate events that may cause damage to your vehicle. That's why all motorists must protect their vehicles with a comprehensive coverage of a four-wheeler insurance policy.
However, merely having a motor insurance plan is not enough! One should also be well-versed of the policy's coverage and have a basic understanding of the processes that may crop up during the coverage period. Ahead, we are going to shed some light on one of the most important aspects of car insurance – the claims process. Being well versed with the claim process will make filing a claim against your motor insurance policy hassle-free. Let's begin!
Firstly, what is a car insurance claim?
No matter how safe your drive, your car can still sustain damage. It could be due to the fault of other motorists, or could be caused by fires, riots, or natural calamities. Getting these damages fixed can turn into an expensive affair. Fortunately, if you have a car insurance policy, you can ask the insurer to foot the cost of the repairs. All you must do is file a claim!
A claim is nothing but a formal request to your insurance company to provide financial compensation for losses covered under your insurance policy. It is a simple process that has gotten even easier, thanks to the internet and the digitalisation of the insurance industry.
Types of car insurance claims:
There are two basic types of claims – cashless claims and reimbursement claims. Let's look at both these types of claims and see how they work and differ from each other.
Cashless claims: As the name suggests, these claims ensure cashless repair of your vehicle. This means that you do not have to spend any money from your pocket to get the damages repaired. Instead, the insurance company will step in and cover the repair costs on your behalf. The only requirement is that you must visit one of the network garages of the insurer to get the repairs done.
Reimbursement claims: If you cannot visit one of the network garages, you can get the repairs done at any other service station of your choice. Once your car is fixed, simply submit all the bills to the insurance company, and they will reimburse the repair costs as per the terms specified in the policy.
When can you claim car insurance?
There are several instances wherein you can claim car insurance. The first and most obvious cause is an accident. You can also file a claim for numerous other unfortunate events such as theft, damage due to fire, riots, earthquakes, and other natural/man-made calamities. However, the claim process might vary slightly depending on the situation.
Claim Process for Accidents:
Step 1: Intimate your insurance provider.
Regardless of the type of insurance, be it health insurance, home insurance or any other insurance for that matter, the first step in filing a claim is to inform your insurance company.
Step 2: Get your vehicle to the garage.
Here you have two options – visit a network garage or get the repairs done at a garage of your choice. If you visit a network garage, you can enjoy cashless repairs. On the other hand, if you visit any other garage, you will have to cover the expenses out of your pocket and then claim reimbursement for the same.
Step 3: Drive away in your repaired vehicle!
Once the repairs are done, you can take the delivery of your vehicle and get back on the road again. In case of reimbursement claims, remember to fill out the claim form and submit it to your insurance provider along with all the required bills and documents.
Claim Process for Theft:
Step 1: Inform your insurance provider
The first step of the car insurance claim process is to inform your insurance provider. Remember that this needs to be done quickly, within the first 24 to 48 hours of the incident if possible.
Step 2: File an FIR
In case of a stolen vehicle, it is mandatory to file an FIR with the police station under whose jurisdiction the theft occurred. They will try to trace your vehicle, and if they are unable to, they will provide you with a non-traceable certificate. Keep this and the FIR carefully as they will be required in the following steps.
Step 3: Filling and submitting the claim form
Next, you will have to submit the duly filled claim form and submit it along with all the required documents, such as the copy of your FIR, the non-traceable certificate, your RC book, your license, and so on.
Step 4: Claim settlement.
If all your documents are verified, the insurance company will settle the claim by offering pay-outs as specified in your car insurance policy.
How to claim vehicle insurance in case someone else damages your vehicle?
If the accident is caused by someone else, you have the option to claim compensation under the offender's third-party insurance cover. This entails a slightly longer process, but it ensures that you do not hamper the No Claim Bonus applicable on your policy.
Step 1: Document the scene of the accident
Photos and videos of the accident will help establish who is at fault. They will also act as evidence and help in the further steps of the claim process.
Step 2: Obtain the details of the third party
Since you would be filing a claim under the offender's policy, you will need to obtain their insurance and contact details to proceed further.
Step 3: Intimate their insurance provider and file an FIR
Once you've obtained their insurance details, inform the offender's insurance provider of the incident, and visit the nearest police station to file an FIR.
Step 4: File a claim in the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT).
This needs to be done at the MACT under whose jurisdiction the accident took place. They will review the case and decide on the compensation to be provided.
Step 5: Receive compensation.
The third-party's insurance company is liable to provide compensation as stated by the MACT. This will ensure that you receive compensation for the damages without hindering the NCB of your insurance policy.
Disclaimer: The above information is indicative in nature. For more details on the risk factor, terms and conditions, please refer to the Sales Brochure and Policy Wordings carefully before concluding a sale.