What You Need To Know To Make An Insurance Claim


Your assets and your life must be insured against unforeseen calamities and circumstances. While no monetary sum may be able to make up for the pain and trauma of loss, it is heartening to know that at least some financial help is at hand. Here is your guide on how to make an insurance claim.

Life Insurance Policy
Where life insurance is concerned, the insurance money or the sum assured goes to the person whom the policy holder has named as his or her nominee. The nominee will have to provide documents such as death certificate of the insured, policy papers, and in case the insured died due to an illness, the medical death summary. A post-mortem report and a first information report (FIR) will also have to be given if the death was accidental. The nominee will also be required to provide their identity proof.

Insurers wave off some documentary requirements in the case of catastrophes. Usually, records kept with any government body or the proof of death from a hospital is accepted. The claim forms are also reduced from four pages to one page, mainly focusing on capturing the basic details of the nominee and the insured.

Under normal circumstances as well, insurance policies can be made more secure and the claims process can be simplified by opening an e-insurance account and digitising the policy. E-insurance reduces the hassle of a person having to recover a misplaced original claims policy, which they have to submit at the time of claim settlement or on maturity. This is especially useful for people who have survived a natural disaster but have lost their assets and important documents in the process. With an e-insurance policy, the surviving customers needn’t apply for a duplicate copy if they have lost the original one.

Householder’s Policy
Homeowners can avail of basic fire insurance or a comprehensive policy. Financial loss caused due to damage to one’s house and the belongings due to fire or natural disasters like lightening, earthquake, flood, storm, and riots are covered by fire insurance. A comprehensive policy, also known as the householder’s package policy, covers breakdown of electronic equipment or burglary.

To make a claim, the policyholder needs to show documents which establish the policy number, ownership of insured assets, the incident of loss, policy number, and an estimate of the loss.

Insurers will need the report of the fire brigade In case of a fire, a police report in case of an explosion or in case of natural peril, a surveyor’s report or a report from the meteorological department. They will also ask for the policy papers and proof of the policy holder actually owning the insured asset in questions, such as original bills of the insured items or registration papers of the house. The insurer will dispatch a surveyor to assess the quantum of loss and work out an estimate to offer the insurer. If the loss is over Rs 20,000, insurers are required to assign a licensed surveyor.

Policyholders can do their part and inform insurers about any damage or loss of property as soon as possible. Usually, insurers allow a window of about two weeks. After this time, any delay in claim will require a valid explanation as assessment of the loss is hindered.

Motor Insurance Policy
It is imperative to call and inform your insurer as soon as possible if your vehicle has been damaged in an accident. Delays are acceptable only in cases of natural catastrophes. Any other incident that does not fall under the realm of natural disaster needs to be reported within a day or two, or at least must have a legitimate cause for delay.

Insurers assist with the location of the nearest garage, which will tow the policyholder’s car away for repairs. An estimate for the repair will be worked out by a person from the garage itself, and the damage and cost will be assessed by a surveyor from the insurance company. After assessing the damage, the surveyor will accept the bill and the garage will be paid by the insurer directly.

While most policies today are cashless, wherein in the claim is settled directly between the insurer and the garage, the deductible amount and any depreciation amount will still need to be paid by the policyholder to the garage or the dealer. The policyholder will have to pay the bill themselves and then claim it from the insurance company, in case they do not have the cashless facility.

If the policyholder’s car has been stolen, they need to inform the police and file an FIR. It usually takes the police 90 days to search for a vehicle, after which, if it is still not found, they issue a non-traceable report. This report needs to be given to the insurer along with other documents, for instances: the registration and policy certificate. The insurance company will make a few inquiries of their own once the report has been submitted, and will usually settle the claims within 15 days.

Most insurance companies are directed by the insurance regulator to smooth out the claims process. Therefore, they are rather proactive and lenient when it comes to dealing with catastrophic events. However, a regular course of events calls for insurers to carry out their due diligence process. That is why it is important to keep necessary documents ready in order to file a claim without any unprecedented delay.
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