Don't panic if your car is stolen because your insurer is liable to pay the full amount as compensation, but you need to keep in mind that your claim should be genuine because most of the insurers try to avoid such claims, says Harjot Singh Narula
The estimated worldwide auto-theft rate is 65.8 per 100,000 residents. Talking about India, the number of stolen vehicles is increasing every year.
From 1.51 lakh in 2011, it increased to 1.65 lakh in 2013. Uttar Pradesh tops the chart for the highest number of stolen vehicles in a year, followed by Maharashtra and New Delhi.
In Delhi only, a vehicle is stolen every 13 minutes and in the first quarter of 2016, there was a 44 per cent rise in the number of stolen vehicles than the previous year.
Statistics apart, most people are not aware about the insurance process in case of a stolen vehicle and that's why they are not able to take advantage of their insurance policy. Let us understand the various aspects of motor insurance in case your vehicle gets stolen.
Can you make a claim for a stolen vehicle?
Yes, you can make a claim for a stolen vehicle in India if you have a comprehensive motor cover for your vehicle.
A third party motor insurance, which is mandatory in India, doesn't provide this cover to you, so there is no chance of claim for stolen vehicle when you have a third party motor insurance.
Under comprehensive motor insurance, the full cost of the vehicle is compensated on claim for stolen vehicle.
What is the process for making a claim for your stolen vehicle?
- First of all you need to inform the police and file a First Information Report (FIR).
- Call the customer care service of the insurance company and fill the claim form in which you have to give information like policy number, vehicle details and also the date, time and description of the incident.
- After the submission of non-traceable report (report made if the vehicle is not recovered) by the police and claim approval, you will have to transfer the RC (Registration Certificate) of the stolen vehicle in the favour of the insurance company. You will also have to give all sets of keys and a letter of subrogation to the insurer.
- The amount approved as per the surveyor's report will be reimbursed within seven working days or as per turn around time of the insurance company.
(Subrogation refers to an insurance company seeking reimbursement from the person or entity legally responsible for an accident after the insurer has paid out money on behalf of its insured).
What are the documents required?
- FIR filed at the police station
- Sales invoice of the car or tax receipt
- Original registration certificate
- Fully-filled claim form
- Motor insurance policy document
- Indemnity bond
- Subrogation letter
Which company sells an insurance that covers auto theft?
There are many motor insurance companies which provide cover for stolen cars in India, some of them are as follows:
- HDFC Ergo Car Insurance
- Bharti AXA Car Insurance
- ICICI Lombard Car Insurance
- Bajaj Allianz Car Insurance
- L&T Car Insurance
- Future General Car Insurance,etc.
What is the time limit for making a claim for stolen vehicle?
Earlier the time limit for filing a claim was only 24 hours from the unfortunate event, but in the year 2013, changes were made regarding time limit of claim which resulted in no time bar to claim insurance if your vehicle is stolen.
This change was brought because arranging documents within 24 hours of the incident becomes very difficult. So, now there is no time period within which you have to make a claim for a stolen vehicle.
What to do if the insurer declines your genuine claim for stolen vehicle?
If your insurer declines your genuine claim for a stolen car, then you can contact an insurance ombudsman, which settle insurance related disputes out of the court system in a cost effective, efficient and impartial way.
There are 17 insurance ombudsman offices across India and you can contact the one having jurisdiction over the location of the insurance company office.
So don't panic if your car is stolen because your insurer is liable to pay the full amount as compensation, but you need to keep in mind that your claim should be genuine because most of the insurers try to avoid such claims.
Read the clause regarding stolen vehicles before buying a motor insurance and keep yourself safe from such unfortunate events.
Photograph: Tom Arrowsmith/Unsplash.com
Harjot Singh Narula is founder and CEO, ComparePolicy.com