Branded Content: Here’s what you should know before you file your car insurance claim

If you own a car or bike, it goes without saying that you also ought to have a third-party or comprehensive insurance. Accidents can cause major loss to a third-party individual or his/her property. Your vehicle may also get damaged in the process. The first thing to do is file a claim as quickly as possible. In case of such an eventuality, follow the procedures mentioned by your insurer and submit the required documents for a fast and hassle-free claim settlement. However, there are some common mistakes that can lead to rejection of your claim. Here’s how to avoid them.

The claim process may appear quite easy but you have to follow the rules and submit the mandatory documents to the claims team. The claims team investigates all claims from their end. Based on the findings, they prepare a report for the insurer to approve or reject the claim. The claim team’s approval and report are important for any settlement. The team may reject your claim on the following grounds:

1. Moving the vehicle

Make sure to document the pieces of evidence before moving your vehicle from the accident spot, otherwise it can lead to a case of tampering with evidence. Not only will your claim get rejected, but you may also have to pay for the damages. Any payment for the damages from your end means that you will lose out on the No Claims Bonus (NCB) provided by your insurer. It can also lead to a loss of low premium payment for the rest of the policy term. The NCB is affected in case the insured liability rises above 20%.

2. Avoid private negotiations

Don’t get involved in a blame game. Chances are that you could be blamed by the third party who might also refuse to take any responsibility for the accident. Or, he or she might behave reasonably at first only to change colour when it comes to the claim settlement. To avoid these situations, avoid getting into any private settlement. Arrange for all the evidence and eyewitnesses who would cooperate. You can take down their details and get their testimonials documented. Make sure that they are ready to support you with facts if needed.

3. Do not miss out on evidence

Take photos and videos of the damaged vehicle from all sides and of the surroundings as well. You can use this evidence while filing an FIR (First Information Report) with the police. You may also need this evidence when filing your claim. Also, provide accurate information at the police station or during the claim filing, and state whether it was your fault or caused by a third party. The claims team would investigate the incident and can reject a claim if there is any mismatch between their findings and the information provided by you.

Apart from noting down the third-party details such as the driver’s name, permit, plate number etc., document the make and model of the third-party vehicle and also the owner’s name. Insurers in India are particular about these details while scrutinizing your claim documents.

4. Do not delay the process

You need to report to the police and file an FIR at the earliest if there is any damage to a government vehicle or property or an imported vehicle, or if it is a hit-and-run case, or if a pedestrian or cyclist is hurt due to the accident. The same rules are applicable for any injury which would require hospitalization or leave due to medical treatment.

If you are injured or are in a state of shock, the insurer may make adjustments but you should inform your insurer of the same as soon as you can.

In case you miss out on any of the above requirements, the insurer can reject your claim legally. Read the rules regarding the claims policy on the policy document, particularly the exclusions, before filing a claim. You can also get in touch with the claims department of your insurer for more information.

Also, make sure to renew your motor insurance on time to avoid claim rejection. If your policy expires before you file the claim, you will not receive any claim amount.

5. Stay away from repairing services from unauthorized service providers

Get your car repaired from any network garage or service centre. All insurers have tie-ups with garages and service centre. Do not just go for any towing service or workshop because it is cheap. This may create difficulties during your claim processing. Some insurers have a helpline for towing services and you can contact them in case of emergency. Also, check whether your insurer provides emergency assistance services for the insured. There may be a free towing service from the insurance company to pick up your vehicle from the accident site and drop it at one of the network services. Check these things with your insurer and keep the information handy.

6. Avoid submitting incomplete documents

Keep following up on your claim processing so that it is not delayed. If you do not show any interest, your insurer may show reluctance in settling your claim on a fast-track basis. It may also happen that your claim is on hold due to some missing documents. Unless you follow up you will not be aware of the status of your claim.

Take care to file a claim based on your policy type. For example, if you have third-party car insurance, you should not expect the insurer to cover the expenses for repairing your car. You need a comprehensive policy to claim coverage for your losses.

Similarly, if you are claiming insurance for a damaged engine without an Engine Protection Add-on policy, your claim would be rejected.

Claim processing happens in the following way:

· You file a claim with your insurer

· The company starts the process of claim investigation

· Your car insurance policy is reviewed

· The damages are assessed

· Payment is made to you

Some insurance companies have personalized claim processing services for the convenience of their policyholders. Others may have a one-stop centre to make the claim process smoother. You must know about the process that your insurer follows beforehand.

There are some basic rules to follow while driving a car on your own or hiring a driver. These facts are also taken into consideration during the claim settlement process.

· Valid driving license and intoxication

During certain accidents, both the insured’s car and the third party face major losses. If you were driving, you may be interrogated related to possession of a valid license during the incident. It is also checked whether you were driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicating substances.

· Overloading the car

A specific number of passengers are allowed to board a vehicle depending on its type. If it is found that the vehicle had more people onboard than legally allowed during an accident, the insurance claim will be rejected. This is irrespective of whether the driver was at fault or not.

Conclusion

Now that you know about the basic reasons for claim rejection, you should follow the proper way for a hassle-free claim settlement. In case you find that the claim processing for your motor insurance is taking too long, follow up with your insurer. Do not neglect or shy away from it. Also, know about the exclusions and complete your renewals on time to avoid rejections on grounds of non-renewal.


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