We already discussed in our last article about how to minimize the vehicle service costs resulted from flood damage. Let us now take a look at how to get the insurance claim passed without any hassles. Insurance claim sounds easy when you start to fill in the details while registering for one, but later most of us conclude how painful and time taking the procedure is, after attempting to claim for the loss.
If the papers are correct, the procedure is actually easier than you can imagine. The problem is we are judgemental in most of the things that we mostly arrive at conclusions based on general misconceptions. Insurance policies are here to actually help out. We realise the value of these policies especially after occurrence of various natural calamities.
Here are the most important steps to take while filing for an insurance claim:
1. Eligibility check
First, make sure your vehicle is eligible for insurance. Say for example, in this busy world, many forget to renew the insurance on time leaving behind expired certificates. If you think you just did, then here is the price you pay for your laziness or the memory loss. Your vehicle will not be able to claim insurance for any damage incurred during the flood or whatsoever if the insurance papers are not up to date. Hence, kindly make sure all documents regarding vehicle are renewed on time.
2. Check your insurance coverage
After you finish checking the status of insurance certificate, the next thing you need to analyze is what losses are covered under your motor insurance. For instance, in a vehicle that has been submerged in water for some time, the most commonly affected part would be its engine. Engines usually undergo hydrostatic lock when water enters it through the air intake valve. Check if your insurance package covers engine damage. Basic motor insurance covers engine damage unless it is not a consequential loss. This means, if your car was under flood water and you had not tried to turn on the engine after the waters receded, then the loss can be treated and claimed as inconsequential loss. Instead, if you had tried to restart the vehicle, which in turn could have damaged the engine, then you cannot claim for insurance. Hence, do not attempt to restart your vehicle.
3. Contact Insurance Agent:
Flood in Kerala was a disaster for many people leaving them not only homeless, but also led to loss of many important documents kept at homes. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued few guidelines to the insurance companies after the Kerala floods this year. The guidelines included instructions to all insurance companies to simplify the claims process for all flood victims. It also asked to ensure that the victims were lessened of all further hardships in receiving the insurance claim on their properties, including vehicles. The insurers have also been advised to start registrations and claim disposals as quickly as possible for which a Nodal officer will be appointed to co-ordinate the settlement of all eligible claims that have been reported.
•The primary step from your side should be to inform the insurance agent/company as soon as you visit the vehicle after the flood. Whether your paper is safe or not is secondary. As per the norms, the victim has to immediately notify the insurer of the loss. However, this time, the IRDAI has instructed the insurance companies to extend deadlines for the process.
•Make the insurance office notified of your loss, where in a surveyor will be sent by them for assessment of your vehicle damage.
•In case you realise your vehicle insurance certificate has gone missing or damaged during the floods, you can inform them of the same. The respective insurance companies can retrieve your vehicle information and its insurance status by just providing them with your vehicle registration number as written on the RC (Registration Certificate) paper. It is not necessary that you submit an RC duplicate copy for this. Just the number on your number plate of vehicle will do.
•Once the surveyor (mostly an automobile engineer) visits the vehicle and does a complete assessment of the damage, he will note down the parts that have undergone damage and whether these parts need to be repaired or replaced.
•Further steps will be immediately taken for processing, depending on the eligibility of the vehicle for that particular insurance claim.
Insurance companies have overlooked the need for original documents submission understanding the fact that most people would have lost their documents in flood. They are also ready to ignore whatever time delay that was occurred for registering a claim. Hence, as mentioned earlier, all you have to do is submit your vehicle registration number and other personal details as early as possible to track your insurance records and speed up the claim process.
Comprehensive insurance policy holders will be able to claim most of the vehicle damage except for ones that occurred due to negligence. However, unless you contact your insurance company, you may not know what the damages are or how much damage will be covered under your insurance policy.