How to Claim Car Insurance in India

Unless you’ve never owned a vehicle for the past fifty years, you probably know that as per the rules of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988, it is mandatory for a vehicle to have insurance in case of any unfortunate incident. This means that if you own any car, you should carry a valid insurance policy along with it. And for good measure. Insurance helps you recover financially from any damages caused when your vehicle is involved in an accident.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows their way around banks and would want to spend countless hours running from one end of the city to the other, struggling to claim their own money. So in this article by Motoring Junction, we’re going to take a look at why car insurances are important and how you can claim one in case of an emergency.

Types Of Car Insurance Policies

Before we get into claiming your insurance check, let’s find out what your insurance policy will actually cover. Generally, there are two types of car insurance policies.

Third-Party Liability: The first one is the mandatory third-party liability policy which will cover all the financial liabilities that you may face in the event of an accident (including any personal injury to the habitants inside – even in the case of deaths). This cover has been made mandatory according to the previously mentioned Motor Vehicle Act 1988.

Comprehensive Insurance: The comprehensive policy will cover third party liabilities and also for the damages to your car during the accident. We popularly know this as Own Damage Cover.

Why is own damage cover important? Because, while the mandatory insurance cover will pay for the damages caused by you, it won’t cover the damages caused to you due to accident or theft. So you will have to pay for your own medical bills, car repairs, and everything else.

Now, depending upon the type of policy that you buy, your coverage may vary. What this means is that not every policy you put your signature on will get you the maximum value for your money. That is why we always recommend getting a damage cover while purchasing your vehicle, so you can recover most of your damage costs easily.

Insurance Claim

Let’s say you’ve done your research and bought the most beneficial insurance for your car. Now what? How do you claim the insurance amount when you’ve damaged your car?

The issue of claiming car insurance rises when you face any kind of contingency which will come under the policies of the insurance company that you are being covered by. In plain English, you can claim your car insurance with the help of the company you signed an insurance contract with, and if all goes well as per the contract, the insurance provider will get you your money as early as possible.

Not so fast, though. The insurance company will first look through your case to categorise it under one of three insurance claim types. Based on this, they’ll see whether or not you are eligible for the insurance claim, and only then permit the grant of the amount.

1. Third party claims

2. Own damage claims

3. Theft of car

There is a different process for each of these claims so to understand how to claim car insurance for different cases, you need to understand what kind of insurance case your claim comes under. Let’s take a look at all three, and how you can apply for each of them.

How To Claim Third Party Car Insurance

There may be instances where the third party involved in the accident has been physically injured or wounded, or sometimes even meet his/her end. In such cases, you’ll need to follow proper precautions.

First and foremost, file a police FIR as soon as the accident occurs, and issue a claim.

The insurance company must be informed about the claim. This can be done by either calling their respective helpline number or visiting the provider directly.

The Motor Accident Claim Tribunal will be dealing with these sorts of claims. They will take over to assess how much damage has been caused, and come up with the right compensation amount that is to be paid to the third party.

The order of the tribunal will be passed down to the insurance company, after which they will pay the specified amount to the third party. And with this, we can call the claim settled.

Claiming Car Insurance For Own Damages

As mentioned earlier, if there is any damage caused to your car then we can categorize the claim under Own Damages. There are two kinds of own damage claims, so let’s take a look at both of them to help you pick out which one you would be needing in case the situation arises.

1) Cashless Car Insurance Claim

If you get your car repaired at the network garage of the insurance company then it is known as a Cashless Claim Settlement. The car insurance company will take care of your repair costs without you having to lift a finger. This is so that you don’t have to pay for the repairs yourself. But there is a procedure you need to follow to claim a cashless settlement. Let’s take a look at how you can do that.

Firstly, you will have to inform the insurance company immediately after suffering any kind of damage and state that you need a claim.

Then the insurance company will check to see if you can avail the claim, and if the green signal is given, it will provide you with the location of the nearest garage that they have partnered with so that you can get your car fixed at no cost. If the car has been damaged very badly, such that you can’t drive it down to the garage yourself, the insurance company will provide towing services as well.

A professional surveyor from the insurance company will visit the garage once the vehicle has been delivered and assess the claim. We’ll discuss more on this in a later section.

Then he/she will go on to prepare a claim report which will consist of the amount and submit it to the insurance company.

Based on the report given by him/her, the insurance company will either accept or reject the claim. If the claim has been successfully approved then the garage will start repairing the vehicle at once.

Once the repairs have been done, you can take the car home. The insurance company will settle the repair bills with the garage directly.

Note: A surveyor – the person who primarily assesses the damage suffered by the car in cases of own damage claims – is the one who will make sure that the insurance company pays for the financial losses suffered by the policyholder only in case there is any damage to the car. The insurance company depends a lot on his report, which will help them ensure the claim is true and authentic, and even determine the extent of the claim. He will act in the best interest of both the insurance company as well as the policyholder.

If the car has been damaged in full such that it can only be reimbursed as scrap, then the surveyor will assess the scrap value, put on a reasonable price, and will deduct this amount from the value of the insurance policy before the settlement of the claim. His/her role is integral in terms of claim settlement and mainly in the case of own damage claims.

2) Reimbursement Car Insurance Claim

If you think it would be better to have your car repaired by a mechanic you trust instead of one networked to the insurance company, then you would have to claim the settlement on a reimbursement basis. What this means is that you will have to pay for all the costs yourself first, then get the total cost reverted back to your account later by the insurance company, after all the repairs have been done successfully. Do know that you will have to submit all the repair bills while applying for a reimbursement.

Firstly, you must inform the insurance company as soon as you get the claim registered.

Then, take your vehicle to the garage of your choice whenever you want to repair it. The person who serves the insurance company will pay a visit to the garage and assess the damage. Then he would prepare something called a claim estimate, which will be submitted to the insurance company. After this process, the garage will start repairing your vehicle. You will have to take care of the expenses.

When the car has been repaired, you will need to submit all the bills issued by the garage of your choice to the insurance company along with the claim form you had registered earlier. Later on, the insurance company will assess all the bills and the claim form and if they add up, the company will reimburse the claim amount to your account. Sounds like a hassle? We do too, and this is why we suggest you go for the cashless damage claim process. It will save a lot of effort on your end.

Claiming Car Insurance For Theft

This is pretty self-explanatory – If you are ever in a position where your car has been stolen, then claiming the insurance amount for that would be known as a theft claim. There are a set of procedures you will need to follow to claim your theft insurance as well.

As usual, you must first inform the insurance company as soon as the theft is confirmed, and then get the claim registered.

You must then file a police FIR with the local police station from the area where the car has been stolen, so that the police can try and help you find the stolen vehicle.

In case the police are not able to locate the car, then they would issue something called a non-traceable certificate. This certificate should be submitted along with the claim form to the insurance company to settle your claim.

You will also need to submit your car’s original keys to claim the insurance policy. After verifying with the police’s certificate, the insurance company will hand over the initially declared value – that is the amount for which you had first signed the insurance policy at the time of purchase of the vehicle – to settle the claim.

Necessary Documents

No matter what kind of car insurance you have or want to apply for, there are several documents that have to be submitted to the insurance company for you to get your claim settled. There are quite a few documents that you’d need to claim your insurance. We’ve listed them all here so you don’t have to look around:

First, you must submit the policy bond or certificate of insurance.

The FIR filed by the police for third party claims as well as theft claims.

A driving license copy is essential.

A copy of the RC book of the vehicle.

Claim Form, which should include the details of the claim and signed by the policyholder of the insurance policy.

The repair bills issued by the garage are original for the claim settlements as well as the reimbursements.

Last but not least, you will need a photo identity proof of the policyholder with valid passport copies. Aadhar Card and PAN card copies will also prove valuable identity copies.

Why can your Car Insurance Claim be Rejected?

Even though most insurance companies out there will try and settle all the claims made by their esteemed customers, there are some cases in which an insurance claim can be rejected. It helps to know what can cause your vehicle claim to be rejected, so you don’t commit that mistake:

Policy Exclusions

If a claim is made for damages that were excluded from the car insurance policy, then the claim would be rejected. For instance, if you get into an accident while you are driving and you don’t have a valid license and are not under an insurance plan, the company is obliged to not grant your claim request. Similar to this case, if you appeal a claim for damages occurred due to driving under the influence of alcohol or any kind of drug, or even if you’ve committed any kind of illegal act during the accident, the claim would be rejected by the insurance company.

Lapse Of Policy

Car insurances, like all other insurances, are timed contracts. If your coverage duration comes to an end, then you can renew it. But if you get into an accident before the policy is supposed to be renewed, you cannot apply to the company to get coverage.

In simple words, if the policy has not been renewed, it will lapse and when your vehicle’s insurance policy has lapsed, the coverage will stop and any claim made to the insurance company will be rejected.

Non-compliance

To get a claim, you must follow a certain process that the insurance company mentions. If the process is not properly followed, the company is fully permitted to reject your plea.

Lack Of Documents

If the documents mandatory to apply for a claim are not submitted within the said duration, then the claim will be rejected by the insurance company.

Closing Thoughts

A car insurance is probably the best financial protection you can get for your vehicle, and if chosen correctly, will help you recover from unprecedented losses unscathed. But you will need to pay attention as to not apply for insurance just for the sake of claiming it. Purposefully ramming your car in the hopes of claiming a hefty sum from the insurance company can get you in serious trouble. If you follow the advice in this article, claiming your rightful money will be a breeze, and you can get back to your regular life in no time.

Siddharth Sharma

Siddharth has always been passionate about Cars and Bikes. He was the kind of kid that always had the latest Auto magazine in his school bag. He had this dream- to become a professional racecar driver. Finally, in 2012 he found himself racing as a rookie driver in the Polo R Cup national racing championship. Over time he had to readjust the sail and get into automotive journalism to continue enjoying machines on wheels.