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Owning a car is the ultimate dream for many. Choosing the car dealer, comparing the car features, meticulously selecting the colour from the colour brochure, haggling the best deal from the dealer, feeling a sense of accomplishment when the car dealer reluctantly agrees to include seat covers in the price you offer — all this is part and parcel of the car-buying experience.
Naturally, seeing the car parked outside your house will stir up intense pride and joy in you. But, when we put in so much efforts in buying a car, shouldn’t we also think about protecting this car? Getting car insurance is a step in this direction as it safeguards a car against unforeseen circumstances. By law, auto insurance is mandatory for all motor vehicles in India. To protect your precious possession, getting the best insurance policy according to your needs and the car’s requirements should be the utmost priority.
Whether it’s a used car or a new one, a car insurance policy is a must. It saves money in the long run, which otherwise would be spent out of your pocket. We have some tips that can make the process of claiming auto insurance easier and hassle-free. A car insurance plan can cover you against expenses that occur due to various unintended damages. A few car insurance providers in India are HDFC Ergo, Tata AIG car insurance, Bajaj Allianz car insurance etc.
Dos and Don’ts while Filing Car Insurance:
Every process comes with a list of dos and don’ts. From buying a dress to the food we eat – every single thing comes with its own set of rules and regulations. It only makes sense if we follow a list of dos and don’ts before we file a claim for the damage. Here they are:
Dos while Filing Auto/Car Insurance
A recent statistics say that Indian roads claim 16-18 lives per hour and most of these are due to car accidents. This also gives us a rough idea of the non-casualty accidents that occur every day. An insurance policy is a financial safety net for the damage and expense arising out of a grim situation like this. During such times, detailed knowledge of how to file a claim will make the claim process much easier. Make sure you have a valid license along with other documents before you file a claim. Absence of any of the important documents will render your claim invalid.
- An FIR – First Information Report is mandatory while filing a claim. The first thing to do after a road accident is to call the police. This will be used by the insurance provider while processing the claim.
- After the police, the next call should be to your insurance provider. Calling them with minimum delay is the best way to make claim process easier. Most policy providers have a window of 24 hours to 48 hours from the time of the accident to file a claim. So, call your policy provider as soon as possible.
- After that, read through your policy documents to figure out if the current circumstances are covered and what expenses will be included or excluded in the claim. Calling their toll-free helpline or going over the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on their website might also help. Companies like Royal Sundaram and Tata AIG have a 24-hour helpline where all the details will be provided.
- A picture is worth a thousand words, they say. So, take photos of the accident scene, the damages sustained by your car, your injuries, and the other party’s injuries. This will help you, your policy provider and also the police in clearing any queries or confusions in future. Take note of any witnesses, their names and contact numbers. Take a picture of the insurance policy of the other party involved in the accident. This can help you avail third-liability claim.
- One should be honest and prompt with his/her policy provider, especially while filing a claim. Fabricating details or withholding information can put you in a bad light. Not disclosing the truth can result in two things – it might render your policy invalid or your claim request might get rejected on the grounds of unclear information.
- Make a note of all the conversations held with the insurance company representatives along with their names and the position they hold in their company.
- Maintain a record of all the bills with respect to your claim. Keep a record of expenses that you incur in the period between the time of accident and the day you get the final settlement
- If you have a lawyer, rope him/her in. They can help you legally and can help you get the appropriate claim amount.
Don’ts while Filing Auto/Car Insurance:
- The first reflex in the face of a problem is to scuttle. But running away from the scene will not help you when claiming auto insurance. Do not move your car or the other party’s car from the scene.
- Any informal settlement will make you miss out on the insurance claim. If you wish to file a claim, you will mandatorily need an FIR.
- Do not get angry and lose control of the situation by lashing out on the other party. Gather yourself, be calm and ask the other party if they are alright and whether they need any help. Call the police and your insurance policy provider and lay out all the facts.
- Do not driver under influence (DUI). Driving after consuming alcohol or other drugs is a legal offence. Don’t indulge in rash driving or street racing in common city/rural roads. Avoid using your personal car for commercial use. These actions, if committed, may lead to rejection of your insurance claim. Instead, you will be on the wrong side of the law.
- Do not give any written agreement to the insurance policy provider before understanding what your policy covers and what it does not. Do not sign any documents provided by your policy provider before getting legal help. Whatever the insurance company offers at first is NOT the ultimate amount. Insurance providers will wish to close the case at a bare minimum amount and will try to push you into accepting it. Don’t give in to it until you feel satisfied.
- Do not accept any cheque or Demand Draft from the insurance provider that says “Final Settlement” unless you are ready to do so. Consult your lawyer to get a better idea of the legal process. If unsatisfied, more claim amount can be requested.
Following these dos and don’ts will help you while claiming your car insurance. Reading the policy fine print at the time of buying the insurance and also at the time of claiming it will simplify the claim process and will help you get the best of it!
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