Making a claim is always a stressful experience for policyholders who are fraught with the anticipation of claim settlement. We lack the technical know-how in the subject of insurance and always fear a possible claim rejection. No matter how simplified the process might be, getting a claim settled is always a sore spot for a customer. Whether it is life insurance, health insurance or the all too mandatory car insurance, claims have the potential of giving us nightmares.
Let us talk about a car insurance. Though the premium payments always pinch our pockets, after all it is mandatory, we cannot avoid it. So, when it comes to making a claim, we strive to ensure that the insurance company pays the maximum possible compensation and settle our claims. Don’t you want a hassle-free claim settlement too?
Car insurance companies understand this sentiment of its policyholders and have, thus, greatly simplified the claim settlement process. However, there are still a set of rules and guidelines which need to be followed by policyholders when they make a claim to get their settlement done easily. Most of us either ignore such rules or stick to them partially which jeopardizes our claim settlement process.
Here is a 4-step process which, if followed, would ensure an easy, fair and fast claim settlement.
Step # 1 – Intimate
How will the insurer know about your claim if you do not intimate the same? Yes, intimating the company about any accident is the first and the foremost step. Every insurance company has a number which should be called to register the accident, damage or injury related claims.
Keep the number handy or, if need be, memorize it because the company’s helpline number should be your first step when you initiate a claim. After you call and intimate the insurer, you would either be asked to wait for the company’s representative to reach you and guide you about taking the car to the nearest authorized service center or you would be asked to do so yourself.
Always heed the advice of your insurer in dealing with your vehicle immediately after the accident. You might be tempted to drive yourself to the nearest authorized service center. But if you do so without intimating the company and cause consequential damage to your already damaged vehicle, be prepared to face the music. The company might reject such consequential loss and the actual loss incurred might also be subjected to scrutiny which would jeopardize your claim settlement process.
So, the first rule is to intimate the insurer immediately after you meet with an accident and intend to initiate a car insurance claim.
Step # 2 – Survey and Inspection
After intimating the insurance company, file a FIR with the police. Get copies of the FIR and also take down the details of the vehicle or the individuals who were involved in the accident. Taking down contact details of the eye-witnesses [in case it was a major accident] also helps in the investigation process later on. Remember to click pictures of the damage from your smartphone as a proof that might be required to be presented to the insurance company later on.
After intimation comes the vehicle survey conducted by a representative of the insurer. This survey is done to assess the extent of damage and the corresponding estimation of the claim raised. Stay clam through it and let trust the insurance company’s representative in dealing with the matter. Inform the representative about the events that led to the extent with full clarity.
Step # 3 – Paperwork
Correct documentation is the basis of claim settlement and if you want a fast claim settlement keep all the necessary documents handy and submit them promptly. Among such documents, a FIR would be mandatory if your car is stolen. Though accidental cases do not mandate filing of a FIR, a FIR is highly recommended if you want to be on the safer side. So, keep the copy of the filed FIR handy and submit when asked. Other documents which the insurer might insist on include a copy of your car’s RC Book, your Driving License, the claim form duly filled in and signed, tax payment receipt, repair invoices, etc.
Step # 4 – Claim Settlement
If you followed the above three steps to precision, sit back and relax. Your insurer would settle the claim promptly. If the repairing was carried out in an authorized workshop, you can avail the cashless facility too. Even if the workshop was not authorized and you followed step 3, i.e. maintained and submitted all the correct documents including the original repair bills, you would get the claim reimbursed.
Remember: At times, because of mistakes done at the time of buying the policy – like no-claim bonus falsification – your claim may be rejected. To avoid these, always ensure that your policy correctly mentions all details related to you and your vehicle, and that you do not, even by mistake, declare the wrong no-claim bonus.
Easy wasn’t it? These were the four steps which never go wrong as far as car insurance claims are concerned. Once you start with the first step which is also the most important one, all the other steps follow chronologically freeing you from the nightmare of your car insurance claim. Comparing various policies online would help you in getting the best policy having the easiest claim process. So, just memorize the steps and compare online before you buy or renew car insurance policy for your car.