Having an insurance contract on your car can help you relatively hedge your risk against the case of an eventuality, just like an insurance contract on your health, home, and other assets. A certain premium must be paid to the insurer in return for a payout/compensation in case of damage or theft to your vehicle. Note that all vehicles in India have to mandatorily be insured as per the law by the Government of India.
What is a car insurance claim?
A car insurance claim is the process of a policyholder asking the insurance company for a payout from the contract due to damages in case of an accident. The policyholder does have the right to ask the insurance company for the appropriate compensation as he is paying premiums as agreed upon in the contract.
Note that in case you do not get into an accident that requires the trigger of your insurance contract over its term, no compensation will be paid out.
Types of car insurance claims
There are broadly two types of car insurance claims you can choose from, which are:-
1. Cashless claims: this claim gives policyholders the freedom to have their cars repaired without needing to pay upfront, as long as your car is repaired in a garage that is part of the insurers' network. Your insurance company will directly pay the garage for the repair, which is convenient for you as the policyholder as well.
2. Reimbursement claims: Not all insurance companies offer cashless claims for various reasons. Therefore, policyholders of non-cashless insurance contracts will have to pay for repairs themselves, later filing a claim with the insurance provider for reimbursement of the expenses.
At the scene of the Accident
At the scene, immediately check for any injury to yourself or anybody else involved, as well as your insured vehicle. Call an ambulance for medical assistance in case of any injury to anyone on the scene. Be very careful to not make any statements admitting guilt to the police, witnesses, other affected parties, or insurance adjusters, whether it was your fault or not. Do note the names, contacts, and vehicle registration numbers of the other party, and if possible take some photographs of the accident scene and note down any other related details that seem relevant to you. If any other party present was responsible, your insurance company will work directly with their insurer for the expenses.
If damages incurred by your vehicle exceed the limits mentioned in the policy, then your insurance company may offer you an amount for the vehicle, less any deductibles. If you are unable to agree on a figure, do consider consulting a lawyer.
In case of an accident
If your vehicle is damaged due to an accident or other external means, inform your insurance provider first within a stipulated time (to avoid possible claim rejection). This period is usually within 24 hours of the accident.
Once the insurer is informed, they will appoint a surveyor, who further investigates and examines the damages. The insurer will send approval to a garage in their network to start with the repair work once the survey is completed. Depending on whether the claim is cashless or reimbursement, your expenses will be either take care of by your insurer or you’ll be required to pay for the repair, post which you’ll be reimbursed by your insurer.
You’ll be needed to submit a copy of your driving license, your proof of insurance, tax receipt, copy of RC of the vehicle with original keys, copy of the original FIR, original repair invoice and payment receipt (in case of reimbursed claims), and the discharge-cum-satisfaction voucher obtained from the garage with a revenue stamp.
In case your car is stolen?
In case you’ve found your vehicle stolen, immediately file an FIR with your nearest police station and inform your insurer about the theft. You’ll be required to submit documents related to your vehicle including the registration certificate, driving license, insurance document, original bike keys, etc.
In the scenario of the vehicle not being found within a certain time, the police will issue you a non-traceable certificate, with which the insurer will settle the claim under the total loss category.