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A checklist for filing motor insurance claims after a cyclone

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Cyclone Tauktae and Yaas have caused damage to vehicles and property loss in some parts of the country. Several districts in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Karnataka, Kerala and West Bengal have been flooded in the wake of heavy rainfall due to the cyclones.

In such a scenario, even parked vehicles face many problems as strong winds often uproot trees and electric poles, causing them to fall on cars and bikes. Sometimes, vehicles can get partially or fully submerged, resulting in huge financial loss.

Hence, in case your vehicle has suffered damage due to natural calamities, you need to immediately inform the insurer about the losses so that they can help mitigate your hardships and make a settlement of eligible claims.

“Natural disasters usually come under the ‘Act of God’ section and it is always suggested to opt for comprehensive motor insurance coverage for protection against any kind of natural calamity,” said Indraneel Chatterjee, co-founder, RenewBuy Insurtech.

Comprehensive motor insurance policies help customers during such calamities. Policyholders should reach out to insurers immediately after a disaster for claim settlement. There are special helpline numbers too that are set up to fast-track claim settlement requirements.

In the backdrop of the covid-19 pandemic, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has instructed insurers that they should encourage policyholders to use electronic communication wherever possible for correspondence while intimating claims and filing relevant documents.

“Efforts should be made to ensure that digital processes have been resorted to the extent possible for assessment of claims,” said Irdai.

As proof, you need to submit a copy of the insurance policy along with relevant documents such as driving licence, copy of registration certificate, etc., to your insurer electronically.

“Due to technological advancements, policyholders can now click pictures and send them to insurers over WhatsApp for insurance claims,” said Chatterjee.

Hence, do not attempt to move the vehicle from the notified spot until and unless the inspection is completed by the surveyor.

Once the claim is filed, the own damage (OD) component of a comprehensive motor insurance policy will help you in settling the claim. The OD component covers any damage caused to your vehicle due to any natural calamity or accident.

In comprehensive motor insurance cover, the amount that insurers pay depends on the age of the car and the car’s insurance declared value.

“All insurers except a few cover add-ons till five years; some insurers also cover till 10 years,” said Chatterjee.

However, there are some reasons where your claims can get rejected. For instance, depreciation on plastic components and tyres are usually not covered unless you have taken a zero-depreciation add-on with your policy.

If the vehicle is not registered in your name or the surveyor suspects foul play and files an unconvincing report, your claim can be rejected.

Moreover, if you don’t inform the insurer about the damage on time, the company can reject your claim.

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