How to File a Car Insurance Claim?
Imagine this: You head out of town in your car when suddenly it collides with an auto coming from the other side whose driver cuts from the wrong side without giving proper indications. You apply the brakes, but in vain. The car hits the auto and boom! There are no serious physical injuries on either side and you feel relieved. However, your car is severely damaged and scratches are there on its doors. You know you are in trouble.
In case your vehicle is insured, you are well prepared for the expenses that may arise due to unforeseen situations. In other words, the insurer will cover all the losses/damages caused to your vehicle without putting a burden in your pocket. However, it is possible only if you have a clear idea of how to file a claim.
A claim is an amount that a car insurance company pays to the insurer as compensation for the losses or damages to the insured vehicle. Of course, the claim process will vary as per the type of loss, like vandalism, theft, collision, hit and run, etc.; there is a standard claim procedure which needs to be followed in all the situations. Here it is=
- Contact the police= You will have to inform the police about the accident as a police report may be demanded by the insurer. If you are in a state to visit the police station, you can go there yourself otherwise, ask someone to do it on your behalf.
- Inform your car insurance company= Inform the insurance company about the accident at the earliest by calling up at the toll-free number mentioned in your car insurance policy document. You will have to give policy number and driving license details to the insurer who will give you a claim number for future references.
For registering the claim, most of the car insurance companies in India have specified the time limit. Calling the insurer from the accident spot will also help you get some assistance, especially if you need your vehicle to be towed.
After the accident, park your vehicle in a safe place to avoid any subsequent losses. Also, shift your vehicle to a nearby garage as advised by the insurer. If the vehicle is taken to a network garage, i.e.; the repair centre who has a tie-up with the insurer, you can get the insurance form there also. Else, you can download the form from the insurer’s website. Note, when getting any work done in a non-network garage, first take the approval of your car insurance company.
- Survey by claim surveyor= Once the accident is reported, a dedicated claim surveyor will be assigned to you. He/she will investigate the situation and inspect the losses or damages. Be ready with all the documents, including duly filled claim form, a copy of the registration certificate and a copy of the driving license. If a third-party is also involved in the accident, the car insurer will carry out all the discussion on your behalf. However, make sure to provide every piece of information to your insurer.
- Submit documents= Along with the police report, there are many other accident-related documents which are required to be submitted. So, ask your insurer about all the importantdocuments and submit them to expedite the process.
At the accident spot, click photos of the damages caused to your car along with losses caused to the third-party. In any situation, photographic evidence is one of the effective ways to capture all the details of the incident. Also, note down the names and mobile numbers of eyewitnesses who are ready to help you with your insurance claim. Don’t forget to note down the insurance details of the other party involved in the accident.
From the time, the accident occurred until the claim is settled, save all receipts for ameal, lodging, etc.; as in some cases, the insurer also settles these expenses.
- Get the claim settled= Once the claim professional submits the report, you will get the cost estimation for fixing the car along with deductibles that you will have to pay from your pocket. In case you are not satisfied with the claim amount, you can inform your insurer and later, file a complaint with the state commissioner’s office and try to get things sorted before filing a case in the consumer’s court.
- Act smart= Though, insurance is meant to offer you comfort in case of losses or damages, it is strongly advised not to approach the insurer for every fender-bender damage. Consider the repair expenses along with the no claim bonus (NCB) amount that you will lose if you approach the insurer. Your claim may also affect your car insurance renewal premium rates, so approach the insurer only if repair charges are substantial.
In case your car is stolen, follow the above procedure, and submit both key sets to prove that the vehicle has not been stolen due to your negligence.
Remember, your car insurance policy will offer you coverage even if the accident happens out of the city. However, to prevent further damages, make sure to get your car repaired before driving as consequential losses will not be covered under your auto insurance policy.
Things not to do
- Do not run away from the accident spot
- Do not move your vehicle from the scene
- Do not loose temper
- Do not avoid informing the police
- Do not avoid timelines of filing the insurance claim
- Do not accept any claim amount unless you are ready to consider it as final
While filing the claim, make sure to follow the law, collect all the evidence, and keep your insurance company in the loop. Do not make any commitment or settlement without informing the insurer. Be honest, while informing the insurer and never hide details that may later show you in a poor state. Remember, non-disclosure of information can work against you and the insurer may even reject your claim.