This article is written by Kashish Khattar, Amity Law School, Delhi [IPU], currently enrolled in the Ace your Internship course at Lawsikho.
Motor Insurance claims
The frequency of traffic collisions in India is highest in the world. This is where the concept of an motor insurance comes in. Basically, when the owner buys an insurance policy, the owner shifts his liability to an insurance company. He shifts his potential of risk to be caused to an insurance company in exchange for a premium that he has to pay from time to time.
People typically raise a claim after a motor accident in the expectation of the money that was promised to them by the insurance companies. The money that will come through that can be used to pay for the damages to the car or pay any kinds of bills for the same. However, things don’t always go as planned. It is a common phenomenon that a car insurance policy claim is rejected by the insurer.
Process to file a claim
The process to file a claim for a motor vehicle is typically done in the following steps:
- You have to first register your claim by calling on the toll-free number provided by your insurer.
- Sending your vehicle for repair. In case of an accident, you can have it towed or take it to the service centre.
- For a survey by the insurer, you would need a list of documents such as your driving license, FIR of the accident, your insurance policy, an estimate of your repairs such as your repair invoice etc. After the owner has submitted all the documents, the insurer ensures all the paperwork is complete. Then they move on to settle the claim.
Following are some of the points that need to be taken care of to not encounter such a situation.
Reasons why motor insurance claims are rejected
Here are some common reasons provided by Insurers to refuse the claim of an insurance policy:
Inappropriate use of the vehicle
Some of the most common examples of inappropriate use of vehicles include:
- Overloading a car with more passengers than the prescribed limit;
- Parking in no parking zones as notified by the authorities; and
- Using the vehicle without getting it serviced.
It is more likely that the claim will be rejected for reasons like these which show there was an inappropriate use of the vehicle.
Regular Wear and Tear
The most comprehensive policies are usually concerned with collisions, theft of the car, third-party liability and damages done due to natural calamities. It is a common phenomenon that people try to get claims from the insurance companies for the normal wear and tear of their cars. Insurance claims are a strict no-no when it comes to regular wear and tear of the vehicle.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India or the IRDA has defined two geographical zones for motor insurance. Metros like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi come under Zone A and the rest of the country is considered to be Zone B. If the vehicle has an accident outside the geographical limits defined by your insurance policy. Your claim is most likely to be refused by the insurer.
Installation of various accessories
If the buyer has installed any or all kind of accessories on his vehicle after he bought the policy. There is a chance that the claim can be rejected by the insurance company. It is bound to happen, irrespective of the fact that the accessory had any part in the damage done to the vehicle or not.
A vehicle used beyond its limits
The insurer typically rejects claims when the vehicle claiming insurance policy is found to be used beyond the limits and is used in an extreme and inappropriate manner.
Policy not in the present owner’s name
When the insurer is looking at a vehicle which was involved in a motor car accident but it is a used or is a second-hand car. Also, the insurance has not been transferred in the name of the new owner. There is bound to be a rejection of the claim.
Repairs to the vehicle
When your vehicle is involved in an accident, it is important to inform your insurer about it. That should be done as soon as possible. If the owner gets the vehicle repaired on his own and then inform the insurer, the insurer wouldn’t be able to track as to how the accident took place. Situations like these stand a chance to face a rejection of the claim by the insurance companies.
Driver and Valid License
You are mandated by the Indian Law to have a valid driving license when you are driving a vehicle on the road. In the case of any mishappening, like an accident of the motor vehicle. The owner would not be able to raise claims on his policy if he is not in the possession of a valid driving license at that time.
Driving under the influence
If you are in a car accident while you were driving under the influence of any kind of intoxicant. You are in for a lot more other than the rejection of your insurance claim. It is illegal to do so. The claim goes out of the window if it is proved that you were under the influence of any type of intoxicants.
Basically, if a part of your vehicle which is not covered by the policy is responsible for the damage of the part which is insured by the Insurer. It will be said to be a consequential damage and most likely, a claim like that will be rejected for the same reason.
Delay in filing the claim
Insurers usually provide for a window of one to two says for an accident to be reported. In case of the owner facing an accident, it is logical to report the accident as soon as possible. If there is a delay in filing the claims, the insurers most likely reject these kinds of claims. Also, if the driver chose to drive the car right after the mishap, causing more damage to the car. The insurer can always reject the claim.
It is a common instance that owners forget to renew their insurance. This has serious implications for the owner, as the insurer wouldn’t be able to cover your expenses if the insurance has expired. It does not matter if only a day has elapsed from the date of expiry of the insurance. Your vehicle will be deemed as it was not insured at all.
A car accident is almost always a bad experience for all the parties involved. It is followed by costs for repair which can be personal or third-party. The vehicle owner expects the insurance company to step in and help them in their time of need. Keeping all the above points in mind and being safe on the road is what matters the most. It is important for the owners to be aware of what all is covered by their motor vehicle insurance policy. It is also advised that the owner of the vehicle should follow up and timely renew his insurance policy in order to avoid the hassle of rejection of claims.