While third-party vehicle insurance is mandatory in India, very few vehicle owners, know how to file a claim in the aftermath of a road accident. Here’s all that you need to know about filing third-party motor insurance claims.
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of third party claims, let’s first see,
Who can file a third-party insurance claim?
As per the Indian Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, a third-party claim can be filed by the:
- Victim – the person who has suffered material damages and/or bodily injuries due to the road accident
- The dependants of the victim, if he/she passes away in the accident
Now, let’s see,
How to file a third-party insurance claim when you’re the victim/descendant of the victim?
If a vehicle hits you, you can file a claim for damages to your vehicle due to the accident and the costs of medical treatment for bodily injuries. On the other hand, if a family member passes away due to the accident, the surviving dependents can file a claim against the offender for loss of income.
The claims process for TP (Third-Party) insurance is lengthy and complicated.
- It starts with filing a FIR against the offender in the nearest police station. Make sure to receive a copy of the charge sheet filed by the local police against the offender.
- The next step is to hire a lawyer who specializes in motor claims. Motor accidents do not fall under civil courts. They are tried at special courts, known as Motor Accident Claims Tribunal.
- Ensure to notify the insurance company of the offender, that a claim has been filed.
- Make sure to collect all the required evidence – eye witness reports, accident scene investigation reports, original bills (this includes bills from authorized garages for vehicle damages as well as hospital bills for medical expenses and other treatments).
- The Tribunal hears the arguments of both parties – the victim and the offender and decides the quantum of compensation based on the evidence submitted.
- The insurer of the first-party then pays the compensation amount to the third-party. Note that here,
- The first-party refers to the insured. It’s the person who has paid for the third-party insurance plan.
- The second-party is the insurance provider.
- And, the third-party is the person who has sustained material or physical damages by your vehicle in an accident.
*Note that in third-party insurance, the beneficiary of the policy is always the third-party and not the first-party, who pays for the plan.
Can you file a third-party insurance claim when you have caused an accident?
No. If your vehicle causes an accident, then it’s only the victims of the accident (the third-party), who can file a claim using your third-party car insurance. You are required to present your evidence in the Tribunals court when summoned. Make sure to hire a lawyer to present your side of the case, if you’re not wrong.
If the Tribunals court decides you’re in the wrong, you will have to pay the compensation decided by the court. Note that the maximum limit of compensation paid by the insurer for vehicle and other property damage is Rs. 7.5 lakhs. If the compensation amount decided by the court is more than 7.5 lakhs, you have to bear the rest from your pocket.
In case of death or bodily injuries, there is no cap on the compensation amount. Whatever amount decided by the court has to be paid by your insurance company.
Finally, Don’t Forget to Take Note of the Registration Number of the Vehicle that Hit You
If you’re the victim in a road accident, make sure to note the registration number of the offender immediately. It’s because the registration number is the only way to track the offender and initiate the claims process.