When there is a Vehicle Theft- Getting a Motor Insurance Claim

A situation which probably most of us just wouldn’t want is a vehicle theft. It is not just the financial loss of having lost a vehicle, for most of us it is an emotional attachment too.  The good news though is that if you have insured your vehicle, most parts of the financial loss could be overcome.  The Indian law mandates all motor vehicle owners plying on Indian roads to have at least a third party insurance cover for damages or loss incurred to a third party on the road.

Driving without third party insurance is a punishable offence under the Motor Vehicles Act. So as a vehicle owner you don’t have much of a choice here. To protect your vehicle against thefts, you would have to purchase a comprehensive insurance package. A comprehensive insurance cover not only offers you third party protection but also protects your vehicle against any damage, loss or theft.

The First Step- When a Theft is Realized

There are two important things to be done as soon as you realize there has been a theft.

  • Getting an FIR filed:

Get an FIR filed at the nearest police station. Filing an FIR is important and is mandatory to file an insurance claim for theft. Insurance companies would pay no heed if an FIR has not been filed.  FIR application should give details about your vehicle, Registration No., Engine No. and Chassis.  You would be given a copy of the lodged FIR, generally on the same day.

  • Informing your insurer:

With stringent norms, insurers may often reject claims if prescribed procedures are not followed. On realizing a vehicle theft, you are required to inform your insurer immediately. Insurance companies generally prescribe duration of up to 48 hours within which you should inform them of the theft.

  • Obtaining RC book Copies:

You would additionally also have to inform about the theft and the missing documents to the concerning registering authority (the place where your vehicle was registered) to obtain a duplicate RC Book from the RTO office immediately.

Going about a Theft Claim

After having informed the insurance company about the theft, you could initiate the claim procedure. A surveyor would be sent to inspect the scene of theft and gather relevant information.

Along with your duly filled claim form, the following needs to be submitted:

  • All original keys of the vehicle in question
  • Original Certificate/Policy Document
  • Your driving license copy
  • The original FIR filed for the theft
  • Original Registration Book, with theft endorsement from concerned RTO
  • Tax payment receipt
  • Previous insurance details
  • Final report – A no-trace report from the police saying that the vehicle cannot be located
  • Acknowledged copy of letter address to RTO intimating theft and making vehicle “NON-USE”

What will the Insurance Company pay you?

If your theft claim is passed, what you would get from the insurance company is the IDV of the vehicle (minus excess).

The IDV of the vehicle– IDV or Insured’s Declared Value is the value of your vehicle that is arrived at after adjusting depreciating value from the current selling price of the vehicle. When calculating IDV, the selling price considered will not include registration and insurance cost of the vehicle.

No Claim Bonus and Vehicle Theft

NCB or No Claim Bonus on motor insurance is a discount offered on the policy premium when renewed, for every claim free year. So if you have made an insurance claim, damage, third party or theft, then you are not entitled to a NCB in the subsequent policy year. You stand to lose any accumulated NCB.

Theft and Hassles- What could you do

  • Anti –Theft Devices: It sure does pay to get anti-theft devices installed in your vehicle. Not only does it deter petty thieves from stealing your vehicle, it could also get you a discount on your premium
  • Go comprehensive: Very often vehicle owners try to cut costs by opting only for the third party cover. This is more so with two wheeler owners. But do remember in case of a theft, a comprehensive cover would provide you a reimbursement for the financial loss involved.
  • Retain Document Copies: All original vehicle documents are often stored in the glove compartment of the vehicle. A theft would mean, the documents going missing too. Ensure you keep copies of all documents at another safe place and submit them when a claim arises. 

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