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How to make a claim

If you have purchased a motor insurance policy and would like your claim to be settled in a hassle-free manner,then you must...

Written by Ajay Shah |
March 8, 2010 12:56:05 am

If you have purchased a motor insurance policy and would like your claim to be settled in a hassle-free manner,then you must observe certain rules at every stage: at the time of purchase of policy and after the purchase. We also provide you with a step-by-step guide regarding what to do in case of an accident — how to register your claim and ensure compensation.

During policy purchase

• Ensure that the address mentioned in the proposal form is the correct correspondence address. In case there is a difference between the correspondence address and the address given at the time of car registration,inform the insurance company.

• Make sure that you pay the premium amount through your own cheque. Using a third-party cheque to make such payments entails the risk of it bouncing.

• Specify your correct mobile number and alternative number in the proposal form. This will enable the insurance company to inform you on time about any high-risk event in your area,such as a flood,a hurricane,other natural calamities,and acts of terrorism. It will also enable the insurance company to send you reminders when your policy is due for renewal.

• Mention the correct Insured Declared Value (IDV) or Sum Assured to avoid any financial loss in case of loss (accidental damage or theft of the vehicle). IDV is the maximum amount you can receive from the insurance company in case of an eventuality.

• In case you decide to replace your old vehicle,ensure that the facility of No Claim Bonus (NCB) on your existing policy gets transferred to your new vehicle policy. This will enable you to save a lot of money on premium paid for the new car’s policy.

• If you purchase a used car,ensure that both the registration certificate and the insurance policy are transferred to your name immediately. This will help you avoid denial of claim in case of accident.

• Ensure that the correct registration number,engine number and chassis number (at least the last six digits) are mentioned correctly in the policy.

After the policy purchase

• Keep the policy document in a safe,easily accessible location.

• Note down the policy number so that you can access it easily during times of need.

• Note the date when the policy has to be renewed and set reminders.

• Keep the 24×7 call centre number of the insurance company handy so that you can call them easily for support in case of an emergency.

An insurance company’s helpline numbers are not location specific. This is useful if the accident happens outside the city or state you reside in. In case you own more than one car,and each one is insured with a different insurer,note down the policy details of each car separately.

Motor insurance policy covers damages caused to your vehicle by any external means — fire,self ignition,lightning,theft,terrorism,riot,acts of god — so mention the exact reason for the damage.

In case of an accident

• Note the number of the other vehicle involved in the accident,if any.

• Jot down the names and contact details of witnesses,if there are any.

• File an FIR (first information report) at the nearest police station in case of property damage,bodily injury,theft and major damages.

• In case of accidents involving a third party and any type of damage (injury/property damage/death) caused,immediately inform the nearest police authority. This will enable you to avoid any legal complication in future. ‘Hit and run’ is a serious offence in India.

• If the accident vehicle is beyond repair,you are entitled to get the IDV mentioned in the policy.

• If the accident vehicle requires towing,you can get assistance through the insurance company’s help line. They will provide the number of the nearest garage or service provider.

In case of a claim

In case of a motor insurance claim,you can avail cashless facility for the repair of your vehicle through the insurance company’s ‘all India cashless garage list ‘.

However,if the car is serviced in a garage outside the purview of the insurance company’s network,then you will have to claim your re-imbursement later.

• When an accident takes place,file a report immediately with the insurance company and submit a set of claim forms to them. If a third party is involved,file a report immediately with the police.

• Contact your insurance company’s 24X7 helpline number. Get your claim number or reference number. The call centre representative will provide you details of the documents required for claim processing and also details of the preferred garage where the cashless repair facility can be availed of.

• Provide all the relevant information — location,time,parties involved,passengers in the vehicle,injury to occupants or driver at the time of accident — to the insurance company. This will make its task of processing your claim smooth.

After registering the claim

• After you lodge the claim,the insurance company investigates the accident before deciding if it will accept the liability.

• The loss assessor or surveyor will contact you within 24 hours after you have registered the claim.

• Submit a copy of documents to the dealer or surveyor and get them verified with the originals.

• The surveyor will get the estimate for the repairs of your vehicle and give spot approval after assessment.

• After completion of repairs,the insurance company will make payment of their share of the loss directly to the garage (in case of cashless settlement).

• After completion of repairs,the insured will have to make the full payment directly to the garage (in case of non-cashless settlement) and later may claim the reimbursement of the insurer’s liability from the insurer after submitting the original invoice and cash receipt to the insurance company.

The author is head-motor insurance,ICICI Lombard General Insurance

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