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Simplyfying Insurance Claim Process

When you make a claim on your car insurance, the insurer deducts the cost of depreciation from the claim amount. So if your car is damaged badly the insurance company it a total loss and will pay the full cost of the car minus depreciation s claims. But if you smashed only the bonnet, you only get what it cost to replace it. Here also the insurer will factor in depreciation before paying the claim.

After you've recovered from the initial shock of a road accident, the next shock is only round the corner. Even if you have a car insurance policy, claiming compensation for damages can be quite a task if you haven't been careful while filing your claim or have broken law.

Raise a claim as soon as possible

Delay in informing your insurer about the accident and the damages incurred or the fact that you don't have a valid driving licence when you met with an accident can land you in trouble and some insurers may refuse to pay any compensation. While not breaking the law is totally in your hands, we tell you some basics, following which can make your claim process hassle-free.

Keep your insurer's number handy so that you can call up as soon as your car meets with an accident. The insurers overlook minor delays but a major delay of a month or so without a valid reason will spell trouble. The insurer can refuse the claim. Also, in case you have renewed your car insurance policy with a different insurer, the new insurer may refuse the claim on the grounds that this claim belongs to the previous insurer.

Do not club claims

If your car had dents even before the accident occurred, don't try to get them included in the same claim. While some insurers may refuse to pay for the older dents, others will treat them as separate claims. This means you will have to pay your share of the claim, known as "excess" in insurance parlance, twice for the two separate claims.

In case of total loss when about 70% of your car is damaged, the insurer pays the entire sum insured known as the insured depreciated value (IDV) and the policy gets terminated.

The other instance when the insurer will consider the claim as total loss and pay the IDV is when the cost of repair is higher than the IDV, which may happen in case of an old vehicle.

Have a proof of accident
The best way to do this is to take pictures or videos of your vehicle and the venue as soon as the accident occurs. Make sure the pictures show the damages.

Insurers appoint surveyors, who prepare a report by assessing the damages and the claim amount for the repairs. The surveyor will ask you to tell him how the accident occurred to figure out if the damages are real.

Choose Network Garage

After the accident, you would need to send your car to a garage for repairs. Choose a garage, which comes under your insurer's network. This way, you can go in for a cashless settlement. Otherwise, you would need to go through the rigmarole of submitting bills to the insurer and getting reimbursements later.

But even in a cashless settlement, you may have to share the burden. After inspecting the parts damaged, the garage works up a cost. However, you may not get the entire cost of replacing the damaged part. The insurer will pay the depreciated value of the part. You would have to pay the difference between the cost of replacement and the depreciated value.

Keep paperwork organised

Make sure you fill the right claim forms and attach relevant documents. A copy of your car registration, your insurance policy, driving licence and a first information report (FIR) are some of the important documents you need to have. Thus you need to do some paperwork.

Personal presence is preferable
Bringing your car to the garage your work doesn’t end there. Your work also doesn't end after you've given it in writing to the surveyor the circumstances of the accident. You should be present in person when the surveyor communicates all this information to the garage to ensure he doesn't overlook any damaged part or gives an estimation that is incorrect in your view.

After an estimate is worked out and sent to the insurer, it is very difficult to follow up with the insurer later.

Take add-on covers

Ever since the industry got de-tariffed, insurers have come out with many innovative add-on covers. While choosing a higher excess for a discount in your premium is best avoided, there are covers in the market that act as supplements to your policy. Taking the add-on that covers depreciation is a big help. In this case, the insurer will pay the cost of replacing the part of the vehicle instead of the depreciated value. Also, look at the cover that protects your no-claim bonus. It ensures that a claim doesn't take away the discount on your premium that you have been enjoying on account of no claims.


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