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When you buy a car, buying insurance is not only imperative but also mandated by law. With a car insurance plan, you protect your car from any unanticipated damages. It also covers any loss you might incur due to damage to your car in an accident or a theft. Depending on the kind of car insurance plan that you have, you will get coverage for your car and/or third-party car insurance.

One of the most important aspects of car insurance is making a claim. Unless you understand how car insurance claims work or how to make a claim, the sole purpose of buying insurance for your four-wheeler may go for a toss. Here, we are going to discuss all car insurance claims.

What is a Car Insurance Claim?

No matter how careful a driver you may be, sometimes an accident is caused not because of your own fault, but someone else’s carelessness or just by chance. When you face an event that causes damage to your vehicle and this occurrence is covered under your car insurance plan, you can raise the request for a claim and your car insurance company will compensate you for the losses you suffer. 

The claim that you would be making depends on the plan you have opted for. There are 3 ways in which a claim can be made, these are:

  1. Third-Party Claims
  2. Theft of the Vehicle
  3. Own Damage Claims

Let us understand the procedures involved in different kinds of claims. 

1. Claiming Car Insurance for Third-Party Claims

After an accident, you can claim if the -

  • Third-party is wounded
  • Third-party is killed
  • Third-party property is harmed
  • Third-party car is damaged

The procedure to claim would be-

  • Immediately file an FIR in the nearest police station
  • Inform the Insurance Company by calling the customer care
  • The vehicle tribunal, that is under the car Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT), would assess the damage that has been caused and the compensation that needs to be paid
  • Once authorisation is received from the tribunal, the insurance company would settle the claim with the third party

2. Claiming Car Insurance for Theft of the Vehicle

  • In case of theft of your vehicle, file an FIR at the earliest and inform the insurance company about the same
  • The police would look for your car and in case they cannot, they will issue a “Non-Traceable Certificate”
  • You then need to obtain a Claim Form from the company, and submit it back along with the asked documents and the “Non-Traceable Certificate”
  • The insurance company will settle the claim as per your Car Insured Declared Value (IDV)

3. Claiming Car Insurance for Own Damages Claims

When your own four-wheeler suffers damages in an accident, it is termed as ‘own damage’. There are two ways of settling an own damage insurance policy claims-

Car cashless claims can be made when you get your car repaired at a network garage. A network garage is a garage that has a tie-up with your insurance company. And the company would settle the claim directly with the garage. You would not be required to bear the cost of repair.

How to Make Car Insurance Cashless Claims?

 To make a cashless claim, you need to follow the steps given below:

  • Inform the insurance company as soon as possible about the accident through customer care
  • Report the matter at the nearest Police Station and file an FIR, in case there has been a third-party involvement
  • You now need to take your vehicle to the nearest network garage. You can find out the same on your own as the list of these network garages is available at every insurance company’s official website, otherwise, you can take help from the customer care
  • If your vehicle is too damaged to be moved. You can request the company to arrange for a tow-truck
  • Once at the garage, the vehicle will be assessed by a company surveyor
  • A report will be prepared by the surveyor and submitted to the company. The report would also contain the claim amount estimate
  • Based on the report your claim will be accepted/ rejected
  • If accepted, the insurance company will authorise the repair
  • After the repair work is completed, you can take your car home

How Cashless Claims are Settled?

Whether you are making a third-party claim or a theft claim or an ‘own damage’ claim, you need to report the incident with the insurance company as soon as possible. As discussed above, the cost of repairs in a cashless network will be settled directly by your insurance company.

How to Make Car Insurance Reimbursement Claims?

  • Inform the insurance company as soon as possible about the accident through customer care
  • If there has been a third-party involvement, report the matter at the nearest Police Station and file an FIR
  • You can now take your vehicle to a garage of your choice
  • Once at the garage, the car will be assessed by a company surveyor
  • The surveyor will prepare a report and submit it to the company. The report would also contain the claim amount estimate
  • Your car will be repaired at the garage and you would have to pay the entire bill amount
  • When your car gets repaired, remember to collect all the repair-related bills
  • You now need to submit all the bills and receipts along with the Claim Form with the company
  • After assessing the bills, the company will reimburse the charges you have paid

How Reimbursement Claims are Settled?

A cashless claim is considered to be easier and quicker as compared to a reimbursement. However, making a reimbursement claim can also be a trouble-free process if you follow the company guidelines carefully and timely. Documentation also plays a key role in making the reimbursement easy, so ensure that you collect and then submit all repair-related bills and receipts. 

Documents Required for Car Insurance Claims

The list of documents required at the time of making a car insurance claim is as follows:

  • Policy Papers
  • Copy of MCR if someone else or his vehicle or property is damaged,
  • Copy of FIR in case of theft/accident
  • Copy of Driver’s License of the person driving the car
  • Copy of the RC
  • Duly filled and signed Claim Form
  • Valid identity card
  • All repair bills, in case of a reimbursement

Why does Your Car Insurance Claim Get Rejected?

Insurance companies thrive on their claim settlement ratio and will try to settle all the claims. However, you as a policyholder must ensure that your claim request is reasonable else, it can be rejected. Keep the following things in mind:

  • Exclusions
    There are certain services and conditions which are permanently excluded from car insurance. Make sure that you do not indulge in those if you seek a claim. For example, if your car has a collision and the person who was driving your car does not have a valid driver’s license, the claim would surely be rejected. Similarly, if the damage is caused because you were driving while being intoxicated, your claim will be rejected.
  • Invalid Policy
    A car insurance policy comes with a policy period, once the period expires and you do not renew the policy, it will no longer be valid and you will not be able to avail of any benefits.
  • Non-Compliance of Procedures
    Every car insurance company has laid out certain rules and parameters that they strictly follow when settling a claim. If you do not follow the proper procedure of making a claim, your claim may be rejected.
  • Non-Transfer of Policy
    If you have bought a second-hand car make sure that the policy is also transferred to your name because otherwise your claim would be rejected.
  • Lack of Documents
    Proper paperwork is very important when filing a claim, non-submission can cause a rejection.

Car Insurance Claim FAQs

  • 1. How to claim insurance for a car accident?

    When claiming ‘own damage’ you have two options to make a claim. If you go to a network garage you can avail a cashless claim, else get your car repaired at a non-network garage and request for reimbursement later. 

  • 2. How to claim insurance for your own car damage?

    When your own four-wheeler suffers damages in an accident it is termed as ‘own damage’. There are two ways of settling an ‘own damage claim’- Cashless Claim and Reimbursement. Cashless claims can be made when you get your car repaired at a network garage, the company would settle the claim directly with the garage. You would not be required to bear the cost of repair. 
    In case you go to a non-network garage, you can file for reimbursement. You would have to pay for the damages from your pocket and then you can then file a claim request. When approved will be compensated by your car insurance company.

  • 3. In an accident my car has been damaged beyond repair, what do I do?

    If the repair cost exceeds 70%-80% of the Insured Declared Value of the policy, the insurance company would pay you the IDV of the car. The scrap value of the car would be deducted.

  • 4. Which one is better to opt-cashless or reimbursement claims?

    When you go to a network garage for repair, the garage has a collaboration with the insurance company, and the bills are settled directly by the company, therefore you save on a lot of time and trouble. On the other hand, for reimbursement, you first need to pay all the damages from your own pocket and then you need to complete the paperwork and file for a reimbursement.

  • 5. Which one takes the least time to settle-cashless or reimbursement claims?

    In a cashless claim, because the company settles the bills directly, the process becomes easier and quicker. In case of reimbursement, you first need to pay all the damages from your own pocket, and then you need to complete the paperwork and file for reimbursement, this may take a little longer.

  • 6. If I go to a network garage, will all the expenses be borne by the insurance company?

    No, all the cost is not borne by the company factors like compulsory deductible, depreciation suffered is reduced from the total claim amount and are payable by you.

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