Insurance is a term we hear almost every day. From life insurance to health and travel, almost everything we do today is insured, which means we have a safety net if anything untoward happens.
The current pandemic has particularly shown us how important it is to prepare for the unexpected and how insurance works to protect us and our property, including our cars. It is therefore essential to know the details of our automobile insurance policy. Here is a list of things you should know when making an insurance claim for your car.
How Important Is Auto Insurance?
Comprehensive auto insurance coverage provides you with significant benefits and is extremely important when considering healthy financial health and well-being. First of all, you cannot buy a car and drive it in India without some form of auto insurance.
According to the Motor Vehicle Act 1988, it is compulsory for all vehicles in India to have third party liability insurance. Also, instead of buying only the minimum amount of insurance or choosing the cheapest policy available, it would be beneficial to invest in comprehensive auto insurance coverage that actually protects you against all issues, including all natural and man-made disasters. Second, auto insurance helps you recover from unfortunate incidents in several ways. These include:
- Provide financial benefits to survivors in the event the accident results in fatal injuries.
- Provide coverage against possible legal action, including legal costs, in the event of legal action following an accident.
- Providing coverage on invoices for vehicle repairs following damage caused by accidents.
- Provide coverage for any other man-made or natural calamity causing damage to the car.
- Auto insurance also allows customers to benefit from premium discounts in the event of theft.
- Owning multiple policies with the same insurance provider also offers significant discounts on premiums.
- Comprehensive auto insurance policies also allow you to extend coverage to others who drive your car with your permission, protecting you even when you’re not behind the wheel.
- If you do not make a claim at the end of your policy or term, you will be eligible for a non-claims bonus on renewals, provided you meet certain predetermined terms and conditions.
What is the auto insurance claim process?
The main goal of purchasing an insurance policy is to make sure that when you need it, the insurance money can help you meet the associated expenses. From this perspective, when it comes to insurance, the âmoment of truthâ is defined by the ease of the claims and settlement process.
Once you have decided to buy a car and take out comprehensive insurance coverage, you may be wondering how to go about making a claim for an accident or other untoward incident. Here is a detailed analysis of all the things you need to keep in mind when it comes to the auto insurance claim process.
First of all, an insurance claim is a formal demand, from the policyholder to the insurer, demanding compensation for the damage or loss suffered. Once the claim has been processed and verified, the insurer offers compensation in accordance with the guaranteed coverage to the customer, within the framework of the insurance contract.
Types of complaints
There are two ways you can make the claim – cashless method or refund method. After an accident, if you have your car repaired at a partner garage, your insurance claim is settled cashless. Insurance companies have links with chain garages, so it’s best to find out which garages are in partnership with your insurance company, for better and faster claims resolution.
In this scenario, the insurer makes direct payments to the partner garage, which makes it more convenient. If you have your car repaired at a garage that is not a partner of your insurer, you will need to make the payments and get the invoices.
Once this operation has been carried out, you can be reimbursed for the repair bills by the insurer. Refund requests may also be made when you have third party claims against you. If you pay the third party directly, you can obtain a reimbursement from your insurer, according to the terms mentioned in the policy. Here are a series of questions that arise when filing an auto insurance claim.
Documents required when filing an automobile insurance claim
Depending on the nature of your complaint, you will need to submit some or all of the following documents:
- Copy of your automobile insurance policy
- Copy of your driving license
- Copy of your car registration certificate
- First information report (FIR)
- Estimation of damages and repairs
- Medical report (only in case of physical injuries)
- All records of other expenses claimed
- Photographs if available
Steps to File a Personal Vehicle Damage Claim
You will need to follow these steps when filing a claim for damage to your own car:
- First of all, you need to make sure you let your company know in advance before sending your car to the garage for repair. Once done, the company will send an expert to examine and verify the damage, which will facilitate the reimbursement of claims. You and your insurer will both receive copies of the examiner’s report, providing proof of the damage caused and an assessment of the extent of the damage.
- Second, you must complete and submit the designated claim form to your insurance provider. This can be done both online and offline. However, you need to make sure that you don’t leave out any important details.
- Third, along with the form, you need to submit the requested documents which usually include a copy of your driver’s license and registration certificate. In the event of theft or traffic accident, you must also hand over a copy of the FIR filed with the police.
- Once the car is repaired and you receive the invoice, you must submit a copy of the invoice to complete your claim.
- Following the review and verification of all documents, the insurance company will process the claim and reimburse you for the damage suffered.
Steps to File a Claim for Third Party Damages
If you were involved in an accident that caused injury to a third party or damage to property of a third party, you can follow these steps to file the claim:
- Inform your insurance company as soon as you receive the notice of loss. Along with this, also submit your car registration certificate, driver’s license and FIR filed with the police.
- The insurer will provide you with the services of a lawyer once the documents have been verified.
- Once the case has gone to court, if you are required to pay damages, your insurer will make payment on your behalf, up to the sum insured.
Steps to file a theft claim
If your car has been stolen, you can take the following steps to file a claim with your insurer:
- First of all, as soon as possible, file a complaint with the police and file an FIR. Once done, send a copy of the FIR to your insurance company. Along with this, also send a copy of the final police report along with the registration certificate.
- Once the documents have been verified and all the formalities completed, the insurance company will reimburse you for the sum insured.
What to do after a car accident?
Accidents are unexpected and they tend to confuse us. If you are in an accident, these things can help you file a claim more effectively:
- Immediately assess yourself and your car for damage. Depending on your condition, decide whether or not you need medical assistance.
- Try to write down the contact details of the other party, in case another vehicle is involved in the accident. This will help identify the other party earlier.
- If possible, write down the contact details of nearby witnesses as they may corroborate your story.
- Inform your insurance company and ask for an expert.
- If you have access to a partner garage, you can now choose the cashless claim option to make the process easier.
- Most insurers require that claims be filed within 24 hours of the accident, so make sure you don’t delay this.
- Keep all required documents handy to ensure your request is processed as quickly as possible.
Owning a car is a pleasure, but it is also a responsibility. It’s important to be fully prepared in the event of an accident, and comprehensive auto insurance is the only way to be properly prepared. In addition, it is also important to be familiar with the claims process because often we get worried and forget important details after having an accident.
Remember, it is best to make the process for reimbursing your claims by your insurance company easier. So take all possible measures to ensure that you can successfully file a claim following an unfortunate incident. As they say, prevention is always better than cure.