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How to file a car insurance claim?

​​​​Owning a car is probably a dream of every individual and the fulfillment of this dream brings an added responsibility of having a car insurance​​​. Buying a car insurance policy is considered as responsibility mainly to meet the requirement of a third party liability/ damage, in case of an accident. To avail such kin​d of requirement, you would need to file a claim request with your car insurance company. In this article, Arundhati Singh writes about the ways to file a claim towards any kind of damage and/or loss of your car or to meet a third party liability.

A lot has been written and said about benefits and importance of having a motor insurance. However, while most of us do understand the significance of having a motor insurance policy, there are many among us who actually fail to avail the provided benefits under such plans. One of the primary reasons of such drawback is believed to be improper communication at the time of filing a claim.

There can be many circumstances which could lead to a car insurance claim. If a claim is not filed correctly, the claim becomes invalid. Therefore, at the time of filing a claim, one should make a note of the below mentioned factors -

No Claim Bonus (NCB)
NCB is the discount in premium enjoyed by you for not making a claim in the previous year(s). In Reliance General Insurance, this discount can be accumulated on a yearly basis starting from 20% at first claim free renewal, 25% in the second, 35% in the third, 45% in the fourth and 50%in the fifth and continued for subsequent claim free years. However, the bonus amount is different for different companies.

Reliance General Insurance has introduced the No Claim Bonus retention add-on cover with private car insurance. This helps you to retain your valuable No Claim Bonus at a small additional premium. Click here to understand No Claim Bonus Retention.

It would really be good if you do not have any accidents as that will naturally give you a claim free year and make you eligible for a No Claim Bonus. However, if during your car insurance policy period you meet an accident, by availing your excess amount, you can still maintain your NCB. For instance, if you have a voluntary deductible of Rs 5000 and following an accident your cost of damage exceeds the deductible amount and stands as Rs 7000, first calculate what discount would be eligible for if have a claim free year. Suppose, following a claim free year, you are eligible for 20% discount, it would be wise if you pay cost of your car damage out of your own pocket. This way you would retain a claim free year and remain eligible for the discounts at he time of renewals. However if even then few 1000s gives you the pinch on your budget and affordability, or if the bills are really too high, do file the claim.

Voluntary Excess/ Voluntary Deductible
As we all know, higher is your voluntary deductible lower will be your car insurance premium. Voluntary deductible the amount that you agree to pay yourself towards a claim before the insurance company picks up the balance. It is the minimum amount that you declare to bear at the time of claim which is directly proportional with your premium discount. For instance, if your claim amount is Rs 20,000 and the voluntary deductible is Rs 3,000 then you have to bear the first Rs 3,000 and the claim will be worth Rs 17000. Your deductible amount will differ as per the cubic capacity (CC) of your vehicle.

In case of an accident, if the cost of damage is less than your voluntary deductible amount, then it is advisable to not file any claim. In such a case, because the cost of damage is lower than your excess amount, irrespective of filing the claim, the expenses will have to be paid by you. However, if you car incurs big damage and its mending cost exceeds your car insurance policy’s excess amount, then definitely file a claim.

Take a look at the routes of filing claims towards car insurance in India: 

Making a Car Insurance claim is an extremely easy and straightforward procedure. There are two scenarios while making a claim. You can opt for a cashless facility or for reimbursement of the paid amount.
 
The following are four steps for making a car insurance claim.
 
Intimate the Insurance Company: Your Insurance Company needs to be informed about the claim within a week. You have the option of registering the claim online, calling the Insurance Company, or by contacting them through email or SMS. Make sure you have the policy copy handy while you register the claim.
Get your vehicle inspected: On intimating the Insurance Company a Claim Surveyor will pay you a visit for verifying the authenticity of the claim. He will conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle.
Provide requested documents to the surveyor: The Surveyor will ask you for certain documents such as Policy copy, FIR of the accident, Driving license, Copy of Registration book, estimate of repairs etc.​
Make payments: In case you are not opting for cashless facility, you will have to make the payment for the garage and​​​
submit the bills for reimbursements. Otherwise, your payment will be made by the Car Insurance Company. The prices for             repairing automobiles are sky rocketing these days. Therefore it’s a wise decision to guard yourself from the financial losses         by buying an automobile insurance​​


Documents like proof of insurance - policy / cover note copy, copy of registration book, tax receipt, copy of motor driving license (with original) of the person driving the vehicle at the material time, police panchanama/FIR (in case of third party property damage/ death/body injury), estimate for repairer where the vehicle is to be repaired, repair bills and payment receipts after the job is completed, are the documents you may be asked to submit while filing a claim request in case of accident.

However, if you are filing a claim towards theft, the documents you may be asked to submit are as follows:

  • Original certificate/policy document
  • Original registration book, with theft endorsement from concerned RTO, and tax payment receipt
  • Previous insurance details- policy no., insuring office/ company, period of insurance
  • All the sets of keys/service booklet/warranty card
  • Police panchanama/ FIR and final investigation report/JMFC report
  • Acknowledged copy of letter address to RTO intimating theft and making vehicle "NON-USE"

It is advisable to maintain account of all your spending followed in relation with the accident, to use the same to get reimbursed under your car insurance policy. Accordingly, it is always considered wise to maintain the copies of your paperwork intact, as they may come handy at the time of reference.

If yours is a case of an accident and you have hurt someone in the same, then above anything else, it is your responsibility to provide help to the injured. Call for police and inform the closest hospital. The police may attack you with chain of questions. Maintain your calm and give them all the details. If your car has also suffered damages, take measures to protect it from any more breakage and try to call for a tow-assistance to garage. However, before sending your car to the repair center, inform your car insurance company about the event, as it may wish to get your car inspected it and judge the damage before putting it under repair.

Related Articles: 
When can your auto insurance claim be rejected?
Advantages of buying car insurance online​