The monsoon is dreaded by most vehicle owners. Heavy rains increase the chances for accidents. Even having your car in a parking area won't help as it may be exposed to the risk of water logging.
You may have insured your vehicle. But there are problems, with the main one being claim hassles. It is important to know how to get an obstacle-free claim.
It’s a common view that vehicle maintenance costs soar during the monsoon. The chances of a motorist meeting with an accident is up 10 per cent during the season than the rest of the year, say analysts. “The ratio of claims is dependent on the severity of monsoons. But the frequency of claims easily goes up by about 30 per cent during this season,” said Amarnath Ananthanarayanan, managing director and chief executive officer of Bharti AXA General Insurance.
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Despite the fact that it is mandatory to buy vehicle insurance, statistics show more than half the vehicles on Indian roads today do not have an insurance policy.
Experts say this is due to lack of awareness. Owners should take some precautions before and during the monsoons. Here's some help for you:
Know your policy
Be aware of a few things which can help you when stranded on the road. Know how much is your car covered for (the sum assured), the network of registered garages which have tie-ups with your insurer, list of those garages which offer cashless facility and also other emergency services offered by the insurer. “Obviously, servicing is not yet a factor on which we base the decision of paying claims. But it's still advisable that vehicles undergo servicing once in three or six months depending on its mileage and duration,” says Sanjay Datta, head, underwriting and claims, at ICICI Lombard General Insurance.
Know the claim procedure
You should also be aware of the procedure of registering a claim with your insurer. As soon as you learn of a damage/loss, you should call the insurance company's call centre, which will guide you to the nearest garage. Once the surveyor carries out the survey and authorises the claim, it is settled directly with the garage on a cashless basis. But in case you carry out the repairs at your own expense, you can always file for a reimbursement claim later. You will be required to provide requisite proofs; for instance, repair bill(s) from the garage. After filing the documents, you can expect reimbursement in seven working days.
Check no-claim bonus (NCB):
“In case of a motor claim, check the cost of repair or replacement before filing for claim to ensure that the claim amount would be more than the NCB,” says Bharti AXA’s Ananthanarayanan.
For instance, suppose your vehicle meets with an accident and its repair cost is reimbursable for up to only Rs 2,000. Let’s say your policy was up for renewal, whose premium is Rs 20,000 annually for which you would be entitled a 20 per cent NCB, or Rs 4,000. Here, it wouldn't make sense to claim the reimbursement as the increase in the premium for the next renewal will be higher than the claim amount that you would have got (Rs 2,000 being the amount received from the insurer towards the claim is less than Rs 4,000 which you have to forgo as NCB).
Don’t hide information
A lot of claims get repudiated because of non-disclosure of facts. Owners/drivers take the faulty route to get claims for reasons other than genuine. Many forget to renew the auto insurance plans, in such cases, any loss or damage to the vehicle is not covered under expired/discontinued policies. The claim can also be rejected if the driver is not carrying his license or is found with a fake licence.
Mukesh Kumar, head of strategic planning, human resources and marketing at HDFC ERGO General Insurance, says: “Most claims are not paid because the damages are not in line with the cause of loss and the policyholders don't provide the insurers with an opportunity to survey the loss (when the accident occurs).”
Keep documents handy
It would be a good idea to keep a car accident checklist in the cubbyhole of your vehicle so that you will have something to fall back on. Always carry a copy of the policy document in your car.
Note the toll-free number of your insurer to come handy in an emergency. Also, keep the contact details of your insurance agent handy. If you can draw this picture to the surveyor while the details are still fresh in your mind, it will save you a lot of trouble later.