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Car insurance is a contract between an individual and the insurance company where the company compensates for the damages to the individual’s car in return for a premium amount. This, however, depends on the conditions of the policy.

Now, if your car meets any kind of accident and you suffer a huge loss, you need to file a ‘Claim’ to get compensated by the insurer. Claiming your car insurance involves a list of actions like informing the insurer about the incident, surveying the loss, rechecking the conditions of your plan, and finalizing the amount of compensation.

Here are some details that you need to know while claiming for your car insurance. Let’s take a look at it.

Why do people apply for car insurance claims?

There are three reasons why people apply for a car insurance claim- 

  • Third-party liabilities
  • Own damages
  • Theft of the car

Let’s discuss the three for a better and clear understanding.

Third-Party Liability Claims

If you are the reason for the loss of any third party due to a car accident or any kind of damages, immediately get in touch with your insurer, as it deals with your legal liability. On the other hand, if you meet any accident or damage to your car due to any third-party, immediately note down the car number, details of the owner, and get in touch with the insurer. The claim procedure will proceed ahead as per the pre-discussed terms and conditions. 

Own-Damage Claims

If your car is damaged due to a man-made or natural calamity, you need to inform your insurance provider at the earliest and file for the claim. The company will appoint a surveyor and handle the claim procedure as per its terms and conditions. 

Theft of the Car

Today, thefts are quite common and many people apply for a claim due to the same reason. If your car is stolen, you need to file an FIR and inform your respective insurer at the earliest. 

If the police are unable to trace your car within a speculated period, you will be issued a non-traceable certificate. At the end of the process, you will be paid the current market price of your car by the insurer. But if you have taken the Return to Invoice Cover, the compensated amount will be equal to the purchase value of your car. 

Step by Step Procedure of Filing Car Insurance Claim

You can settle your car insurance claim in two ways - cashless and reimbursement claim settlement. Step by step details of each procedure is given below.

Cashless claim settlement

Following are the easy and quick steps for claiming a cashless claim settlement.

  • Register your claim by calling/emailing your insurer.
  • Upon registration, you will receive a claim registration number. Preserve it carefully as it will be required for future communication or references. 
  • Take your damaged car to any of the authorized network garages of the company for the repair work.
  • Submit all the necessary documents (as asked by the surveyor).
  • Your repaired car can be re-surveyed by the surveyor at the garage.
  • After the examination is done by the surveyor, your claim will be either approved or rejected.
  • Upon approval, the company will settle the repair expenses with the garage.

Reimbursement claim settlement

The steps to make a reimbursement claim are mentioned below. 

  • After the accident, take your car to a garage for repairs. 
  • Once the repairs are done, pay the bills and file for reimbursement.
  • Upon registration, you will receive a claim registration number. Preserve it carefully as it will be required for future communication or references.
  • Submit all the necessary documents.
  • Once the verification is done, the company will either approve or reject the claim. 
  • On approval, the company will reimburse you for the expenses incurred. 

What are the required documents to file a car insurance claim?

The following are the necessary documents that you require to claim your car insurance.

  • Claimed form signed by the insured.
  • Copy of the Registration Certificate of your car.
  • Copy of the insurance policy.
  • Income proof.
  • Police report or FIR (in case of an accident).
  • A copy of your driver's license.
  • PAN card and Aadhar card. 
  • Medical reports (in case of physical injuries).
  • Original records of other expenses.
  • Others requested by the company

Note: Keep both the original copies and the photocopies of the above-mentioned documents.

What are the steps to follow after meeting a car accident?

If you meet with an accident, you need to follow the below-listed steps to get a successful claim. Let’s take a look at it. 

  • Get connected with your insurer

Inform your insurance company about the incident. The timeline to register a claim after an accident varies from company to company. You may also need to share a few details like car registration number, car insurance policy number, etc. 

  • Report to the appropriate police station

File an FIR at the appropriate police station. You can avoid going to a police station in case of minor scratches or dents on your car. But if the accident involves any third-party or major injury, it is an unavoidable step. The police will investigate the spot and record the essential details such as the type of accident, the probable reason(s), details of the driver/passenger(s), accounts of the witness(es), and so on.

  • Take photographs as valid proofs

You can also click pictures of the accident spot, bodily injuries, and the condition of your car after meeting the accident to make it serve as valid proof while claiming your car insurance.

Additionally, you can note down the contact details of the witnesses and third-party (if involved) that may help you with the further procedure.

  • Submit the required documents

After you submit all the necessary and valid documents, only then your claim settlement process will start. 

  • Company may appoint a surveyor

A representative will come on behalf of the company to investigate the accident, the extent of damage, and the other related things. 

  • Car repair

If someone goes for the cashless claim settlement, (s)he doesn’t have to pay for the repairmen of the car. (S)he has to take the car to one of the authorized network garages of the company. The insured only needs to pay for the deductibles and the rest of the amount will be compensated by the company.

On the other hand, if someone chooses for the reimbursement claim settlement, the individual has to pay the bill for the repair work. After that, (s)he needs to submit the original bills, receipts, medical reports, photographs, and other necessary documents to the company. The insurer will go through these and then the entire repair amount will be directly paid to the insured (after subtracting the deductibles).

Note: The procedure of car insurance claim settlement can be a little complex and lengthy. Hence, it is advised to go through the terms and conditions, inclusions, exclusions, and other details of your selected car insurance plan before paying for it.

What’s the role of the surveyor in the car insurance claim process?

A surveyor allows the company to decide whether a claim request is authentic or not. His/her other duties are listed below- 

  • A surveyor manages, envisages, validates, quantifies, and deals with the entire losses raised due to the accident, strictly remaining on the ground of the company’s code of conduct.
  • If the surveyor is related to the incident (under assessment) in any way, (s)he must issue a declaration of conflict of Interest and stay away from the entire procedure.
  • While doing the inspection and exercising his/her power, a surveyor must stay neutral.
  • A thorough investigation must be done by the surveyor and (s)he must do the spot-survey. Only then a surveyor must report or comment on the incident.
  • If any discrepancy or inconsistency is found in the wordings of the policy, the surveyor must locate it.
  • The surveyor needs to make sure that the insured gets the right amount of compensation or reimbursement for the loss.
  • In case of own damage claims, the surveyor assesses the scrap value of the car that comes under the deductibles from the Insured Declared Value (IDV) of the car insurance policy.

Does it make sense to file small car insurance claims?

Though there are no hard and fast rules regarding when you should file a claim for your car insurance settlement, it depends on you and the extent of damages to your car. Still, the experts say that you should not file small claims for minor damages to your car. Here are the reasons why.

  • Direct effect on NCB - Filing claims for small damages directly affects the No Claim Bonus (NCB) of your plan. The benefits that the NCB offers you can no longer be availed. NCB is the discount offered by the insurer for a claim-free year. If you make a claim, the NCB goes back to zero. 
  • The premium payable in the future - If you pay from your pocket for the small damages, you have to pay less for the future premiums. One thing you should always keep in mind- the cost of your future premium not only depends on the discount availed through NCB, but it also depends on the number of car accidents (be it your fault or sustained damage).
  • Deductibles become mightier - Deductibles are a part of car insurance. The insured has to pay a certain amount of the claim, according to the company’s conditions determined on different grounds, and the rest of the amount is compensated by the company. If you file a small claim, often the deductibles appear greater than the amount that the company has to pay as compensation.
  • Impact on the history of the insured – If you apply for more claims, you’ll be eligible for fewer benefits. Even the insurer can deny renewing your policy, apart from increasing the cost of your future premiums on different grounds.

What are the tips to file a successful car insurance claim?

Here are some tips that will help you to claim your car insurance wisely, without getting rejected.

  • Always pay the premium on time to avoid lapses and delay charges.
  • Be honest and fill the form carefully without lying about a single thing.
  • Know the exclusions and inclusions of your car insurance plan.
  • Do not make claims for those which come under the exclusions of your policy plan.
  • Read the policy carefully before signing for it.
  • Make sure you have a valid driving license.
  • Ensure you have a proper registration certificate for your car.
  • While buying a second-hand car, ensure that the car insurance policy is transferred to your name.
  • Keep all the documents related to your car insurance policy in hand, so that whenever required, you can produce them immediately. 
  • Inform the insurer as soon as possible after the accident or the damages to your car for which you are going to claim for compensation.
  • Above all, understand and remember the nook and corner of your policy, its terms and conditions, and the different other aspects.

Car Insurance Companies with the Highest Claim Ratio

The claim settlement ratio plays an important role, both for the insurer and the insured. The higher ratio reflects that the company is more reliable and safer and will clear the claims on time.

The formula for getting a claim settlement ratio is:-

Claim Settlement Ratio = (Total claims paid off by the insurer/ Total number of claims received by the insurer) x 100

Here is a list of the top 10 car insurance companies with the highest claim settlement ratio in India.

Name of the Company

Incurred Claims Ratio for the Financial Year 2018-2019

Edelweiss General Insurance Company


Acko General Insurance Company


Raheja QBE General Insurance Company


Royal Sundaram General Insurance Company


Universal Sompo General Insurance Company


SBI General Insurance Company


IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company


Reliance General Insurance Company


Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company


HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company



Q1. What are Deductibles?

It’s the compulsory amount that is paid by the insured at the time of making a claim. The amount is decided and listed in the policy document to avoid any confusion.

Q2. What are the key factors that influence car insurance premium?

Following are some of the important factors that influence car insurance premium:

  • The IDV (Insured Declared Value) of the car
  • The age of the car (If your car is a used one)
  • Zone/City of registration
  • The cubic capacity of the car engine
  • Previous year claim status & NCB

Q3. Do I need to submit my car keys while filing a car insurance claim?

Under certain circumstances, especially in the case of theft, you need to submit your car keys.

Q4. Which type of theft is not covered under the car insurance policy?

If the car is stolen due to the negligence of the owner, the insurance company is not liable to accept the claim. 

Q5. What are the exclusions of the car insurance policy?

Under the following circumstances, you cannot file a car insurance claim:

  • Mechanical or electrical breakdown and any consequential loss due to devaluation.
  • Normal wear and tear of the car.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating substance.
  • Vehicles being used otherwise than for the purposes listed in the insurance certificate.
  • Accidents happening outside of the geographical area covered by the policy. 
  • Damages to the car due to the war, civil war, terror attack, radiation, nuclear material, or weapon.
  • If the policy is expired.
Naval Goel is the founder of He is an Associate Member of the Indian Institute of Insurance`, Pune. He has been authorized by IRDA to act as a Principal Officer of Insurance Web Aggregator.
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