Tuesday, November 23, 2010

File an insurance claim the right way

THE subject of motor insurance claims remains very much a closed book for some, especially if you’re new to the business of buying and running a car.

You may be a meticulously careful motorist who has never needed to make a claim, but it pays to have an umbrella ready in case it rains, doesn’t it?

So let’s start at the very beginning, which is, a very good place to start.

Typically, there are two main kinds of insurance policy for cars.

A comprehensive policy covers any loss or damage to your car as well as damage to a third party property, injury and death.

A third party policy, as its namesake suggests, only covers the third party.

However, additional covers like windscreen damage, passenger liability and extended perils (covering loss or damage caused by natural disasters) can also be purchased for extra peace of mind.

Useful information regarding claims.
In the event of an accident, first determine if anyone is injured and call for an ambulance if there is a casualty involved.

Avoid argument and dispute, and politely request these details, which will help the claim:

1. Vehicle registration number
2. Driver’s particulars (name, address, contact number)
3. Time, date and place of accident
4. The insurer’s name and policy number (if possible) of the vehicles
5. Details of witnesses and injured persons, if any

You must then drive or tow your vehicle to the nearest police station and make a police report, by law, within 24 hours of the accident. Police will inspect the damage and take photographs of your vehicle.
Next, send your vehicle to an authorised workshop for repairs. Your insurer will have a list of panel authorised workshops and it is recommended that you use them.

Now you can collect the claim form from your insurer. Complete and sign it, and submit to your insurer’s head office or any branch office, together with the following documents within 14 days:
1. Original police report
2. Repairer’s estimated cost of repairs
3. Copies of:
 - Insurance policy/cover note
 - Vehicle registration card/ownership papers
 - Road tax
 - Identity card and driving licence of the vehicle owner
 - Identity card and driving licence of the driver (if not the vehicle owner)
 - Hire purchase agreement (if applicable)

Upon receipt of your claim, an adjuster, or in-house loss surveyor, will assess the damages to your car and prepare a report. You can then collect an approval letter stating the amount of compensation and discharge voucher, and the workshop will proceed with the repairs upon receipt of the letter signed by you. When you retrieve your repaired car, you then sign the discharge voucher.

This is the procedure for an Own Damage claim, which is only applicable to comprehensive policy holders. Your NCD (No Claims Discount) will be forfeited.

However, if you believe the accident wasn’t your fault, you can make a No-Fault Own Damage claim. Instead of making a third party claim against the insurer of the errant party, you claim directly from your own insurer for a faster service and at the same time not risk losing your NCD.

In addition to the required documents for an Own Damage claim, you must submit:

1. A signed declaration letter confirming No Fault Own Damage with the details of the errant third party’s insurers. This is to be evidenced by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) extracts of the same.
2. Police findings, sketch plan and keys, and the third party police report.

If your car is lost or stolen, you can make a theft claim, applicable only to comprehensive or third party fire and theft policy holders. Required supporting documents are similar to those of Own Damage claims.

An interview may be arranged to obtain a statement from you regarding the theft. Your NCD is forfeited when you make a Theft claim.

Even if you do not intend to make any claim or if you are making a third party claim against a third party insurer, you should notify your insurer to protect yourself against liabilities against yourself and your insurer resulting from the accident.

Source: insolserv@yahoo.com

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