Filing a Claim on your Car Insurance

Last Updated at: Oct 10, 2020

Claiming your car insurance can be a complex situation for most people. They feel that it will not be a complicated procedure but the insurance companies make it tough for consumers if the insured does not follow all the guidelines which are set in place. Hence, it is best that you follow the relevant rules and regulations in filing your claim.

In case you need to make a claim on your car insurance, you would assume the procedure to be easy. At least that’s what you were told when you were buying the insurance. But that’s not how it works. Insurers have set procedures, and if you don’t follow them, expect them to make a fuss regarding honouring the claim. Therefore, do go through these steps carefully so that you do end up getting your money back. Or else, do note that you can take them to consumer court (insurers are one of consumers’ prime targets there).

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Damage to your Car

Step one: For any claim, the first step is to inform the company. This must be done within 24 hours of the accident. The call centre of the company will ask for the following information: the policy number, make and model of your car, vehicle number, brief description of the accident, extent of loss, garage you will be visiting and the location of the loss.

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Step two: As far as possible, ensure that the vehicle is not left unattended. If any theft occurs when it is left unattended, the insurer will not reimburse the amount. So also, if any oil leakage or of any coolant and the vehicle is driven, the damage will not be covered. Also, all comprehensive insurance packages reimburse you for towing charges upto Rs. 1500. Also file an first information report (FIR) as the company may want to verify whether or not you were sober at the time of the incident, especially if the accident occurs at night.

Step three: Take the vehicle to a garage, preferably one on the insurer’s network. Some of these preferred garages also have a cashless option. Find out where these are located and if it’s convenient, use it. If the claim is cashless, the garage will tell you immediately how much can be claimed. You’ll have to pay the difference and repairs will begin. No inspections or claim form is necessary. If the garage does not have a cashless option, follow the next steps as well.

Step four: You’ll need to leave a copy of your driver’s license and a filled and signed claim form at the garage. But don’t do any work on the vehicle unless the insurance inspector has first examined the vehicle.

Step five: Work can begin once the inspection is finished. After it is repaired, you need to submit the bills and memos to the insurance company. In case a third-party was involved, an FIR would also need to be filed. The garage won’t release the vehicle unless you’ve paid the difference between cost of damage and the claim amount. If the damage is over Rs. 20,000, most insurers would like a re-inspection.


Step one: Immediately file an FIR with the police. Promptness in lodging an FIR will help your cause.

Step two: Contact the insurer and inform them of the theft. You’ll need to tell the company where the car was stolen from and how soon you filed the FIR. You’ll be required to provide the company with a copy of the FIR, as well as the sets of keys and warranty card.

Step three: Submit the Final Police Report to the insurance company as soon as it arrives. Cooperate fully with the investigator appointed by the company.

Step four: The registration of the stolen vehicle has to be transferred to the name of the company after the claim is approved. You will also need to submit a letter of subrogation and an indemnity on notarized stamp paper.

Personal Accident

Step one: Get yourself treated immediately. Delays in treatment may be looked upon suspiciously by the insurer. In case of a road accident, inform the cops immediately.

Step two: Notify the insurance company as soon as possible. If you are unable to do so yourself, get a friend or a relative to do it for you.

Step three: Over the phone, the insurer will want to know your contact number, policy details, date and time of the accident, description of how it took place and extent of the loss.

Submitting the claim

In case of an accident claim, file all the documents related to the case.

These are:

Copy of policy document
Copy of registration book
Copy of the license of driver of the car at the time of the accident
Police panchanama or FIR, in case of third-party liability
The estimate from the repairer
Repair bills after the job is completed

Send these documents along with the claim form to the address of the insurer within seven days. Be sure to check the address you’re supposed to send it to. If the company does not receive it within seven days, they might give you a tough time.

In case your car is stolen or you are filing a personal accident claim, the procedure is the same as above, but not the documents you need to submit.

In case of theft, the documents are:

Original policy document
Original registration book, with an endorsement of the theft from the concerned RTO
Previous insurance details, if any
All sets of keys, service booklet and warranty card
Police panchanama or FIR and final investigation report
Acknowledged copy of letter address to RTO intimating theft and making vehicle ‘non-use’

In case of personal accident claim, the documents are:

Claim form and Attending Doctor’s Report
All prescriptions
Lab reports
Fitness certificate acknowledging period of temporary disability due to accident
In case of permanent disability, original disability certificate and FIR/Police Inquest Report
In case of death, death certificate, post mortem report and FIR/ Police Inquest report, where applicable.

You must feel free to file a complaint before the district consumer forum if your insurance company refuses to pay the claimed insurance amount. You can rest assured that you will get timely justice. The quas-judicial system in India has improved to a substantial extent over the past few years. Hiring a good lawyer will be a smart ploy.