A comprehensive car insurance policy, generally, clubs together two covers- the third party insurance and the own-damage cover. Some, also, offer a personal accident cover. As one can guess by its name, the cover includes damages to your vehicle, bodily injury, disability and death.
While the above-mentioned covers are optional, third party insurance is compulsory as per the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. Also labelled as an ‘Act Only’ plan, third party insurance cover doesn’t cover you or your vehicle. This cover is for legal liabilities claimed by the third party against the damage, injury or third-party property damage arising out of the insured vehicle. Hence, the beneficiary of this cover is the third party only.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority decides the premium of the third party insurance cover. It is more or less same for all insurance companies. However, the premium amount may differ depending on the engine capacity of your vehicle. For example, as an owner of a Hyundai i10, you pay Rs. 3,416 as third party insurance premium, while the annual premium for Toyota Altis comes around Rs. 7,897.
IRDA, on annual basis, reviews the third party insurance rates and make changes accordingly.
The long procedure of claiming third party insurance starts with registering an FIR in a nearby police station followed by collecting a charge sheet. After that Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, a special court, registers a case, as Civil courts can’t make a judgement on road accidents or decide a compensation claim.
One can register a claim for injury, death or property damage, with the tribunal with jurisdiction over the area where the insured or defendant resides. However, there is no limit for claiming on liability for injury or death, one can avail the cover for third-party property damage up to Rs. 7.5 lakh.
Here you have to tackle everything on your own. The insurer will not help you get the claim done. Insurance companies have a 'knock-to-knock agreement' as per which they are responsible to pay for the damages to the policyholder’s vehicle so long as it offers coverage for such injury or damage, despite the liability. Medical bills, including the damage to the vehicle, will be paid by the insurance company if it is covered and no claim will be entertained from the insurer if the vehicle is at fault.
Still keen on heading to the tribunal?
Ensure you keep all required documents handy. A proper narration of the incident is required with an FIR and records of expenses are preserved to validate financial losses.
One can raise a third party claim under the following circumstances:
The hurdle is to prove the other party’s mistake in court. The claimant has to establish the other party’s negligence to avail compensation. Only after you establish the fault of the other party involved in the accident, can the claim for the damages be filed. You will be uncertain of being compensated until the court announces its decision in your favour.
In case you are compensated with less than what you expected, don’t expect your insurance company to compensate the difference. One can’t claim compensation for the same damage more than once. Another problem is, owing to the huge number of pending cases, you might get a date from the court, say after three month or six months. So, the possibility of your case getting stuck are high.
The following documents are compulsorily required to raise a third party liability insurance claim:
You may also need photographic evidence of the incident.
Before raising a third party car insurance claim, here are damages or risks that are not covered under this insurance cover:
So far, the ratio of claiming third party insurance is comparatively low. The car insurance claim process is a burden and time-taking. Moreover, nobody wants to take so much pain for a small damage that can be tackled smoothly with an own-damage claim.
But, those without a comprehensive cover, who entirely depend on third party insurance, always remember to write down the registration number of the party at fault. This is the only way to track the vehicle and file a complaint.
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