An unfortunate accident might lead to so many doubts – should I file a car insurance claim? What is the procedure that I must follow? Is it even worth filing the claim? The safest way to proceed is to keep a calm mind and get yourself acquainted with the procedure to go about filing the claim to ensure that it is processed smoothly, without any complications.
Read on to fully know the do’s and don’ts while filing your car insurance claims!
How to Claim Car Insurance?
Car insurance claims are of two kinds - Cashless Claim Settlement and Reimbursement Claim Settlement. The procedure that is to be followed to under each claim has been highlighted below-
Cashless Claim Settlement Reimbursement Claim Settlement
Please note: Most car insurance policies have standard exclusion clauses mentioned in the policy. Care must be taken that these clauses are perused before any claim statement is filed to prevent rejection based on these exclusionary clauses. For example, damages caused when the car has been driven under the influence of alcohol or in the absence of a valid driver’s license is a standard exclusionary clause that prevents the insured from encashing the claim amount.
Here are Certain Dos and Don’ts to Keep in Mind Before Filing the Claim Statement
- Get in touch with the insurance company at the earliest and inform them about the accident or the theft of your vehicle. Most insurers offer a very short time frame to file an insurance claim. To keep them informed and gain the requisite information at the earliest would be beneficial. Another reason why this must be done is that the insurance company will send its surveyor to inspect the vehicle and the site of the accident to ascertain the legitimacy of the claim and to assess the quantum of damages.
- File a police complaint in case of a major accident where there is death, bodily injury, or severe wreckage to the automobile. This, however, may be avoided in case of minor accidents like a broken light, inconspicuous scratches, or denting of the car.
- Collect evidence such as photographs (ensure they are taken from various angles and capture the debris from the collision, skid marks, view of the other driver, damage caused, etc.); witness statements and their contact details, and any official records in the form of FIR, the officer’s assessment of the accident, etc. These will prove rather useful for determining the amount of claim that the insurance company will pay.
- Fill the forms properly and with due diligence. Ensure that all statements are written are true to the best of your knowledge. Provide documents and evidence to support the statements made. It is advisable to contact the company in case of the doubt instead of incorrectly filling out the forms. If the claim is to be filed online, then have all the requisite supporting documents scanned prior to filling out the form.
- Check whether the insurance company has network garages and hospitals since the insurer will make direct payments to them once the repair work is complete/ after the treatment is undertaken. It makes the entire process cashless, smooth and hassle-free.
- Don’t make claims for small scratches and dents since the claim amount might be far lesser than the NCB that one will receive at the end of the claim-free year, or the deductibles might exceed the estimated cost of damages.
- Don’t raise a claim against exclusions: Policy exclusions are bound to get your claim rejected as the insurance provider has already highlighted such scenarios as ones that they will not cover. For instance, if you were drinking and driving, and the insurance provider finds out the same during their investigation, your claim will be rejected.
- Don’t make false claims as this is a violation of the contract and will lead to outright rejection of the claim, and sometimes repudiate the contract itself. The insurance company may even decide to pursue legal action for breach of contract and violation of the good faith clause.
- Don’t make rash settlements with the third party as no claim can be made after that and it might be counterproductive to your interests.
- Don’t get the car repaired before speaking to the car insurance company. This is especially important in the case of a cashless claim policy where the car is to be repaired in the network garages of the car insurance company. It may also prompt certain benefits such as towing, pick-up, etc. that might be offered by the company.
The three key takeaways that one must keep in mind are to keep the insurance company in the loop at all times, to record all communications, documents, and evidence concerning the unforeseen incident and claims thereafter, and to be nimble-footed and vigilant throughout the entire process. There is no reason that the process will present problems if the aforementioned steps are duly followed!