Do You Own a Taxi?

Consumer Voice - - Contents - – Subas Ti­wari & Gopal Ravi Ku­mar

And are you weigh­ing your in­sur­ance op­tions?

Do you own a com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle and look­ing to know more about its in­sur­ance? Firstly, know that not all ve­hi­cle in­sur­ance poli­cies are cre­ated equal. When you are look­ing to pro­tect com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, the re­quire­ments and needs are much dif­fer­ent than for a car meant for per­sonal use. How can you be sure you un­der­stand those re­quire­ments and have the pro­tec­tion you need? In this re­port we look at the var­i­ous as­pects of in­sur­ance for your ve­hi­cle, to help you un­der­stand the con­cept in its to­tal­ity—in­clud­ing the add-on cov­ers and the ex­clu­sions that we may be prone to miss or dis­miss.

What Does the Pack­age Pol­icy Offer?

In­sur­ance cover for third-party li­a­bil­ity Li­a­bil­ity is cov­ered for an un­lim­ited amount in re­spect of death or in­jury and dam­age to third-party prop­erty, for Rs 750,000 for com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles and Rs 100,000 for scoot­ers/mo­tor­cy­cles.

Cover for loss or dam­age to ve­hi­cle In­sur­ance is pro­vided for loss or dam­age to the ve­hi­cle and its ac­ces­sories caused due to

• Fire, ex­plo­sion, self-ig­ni­tion or light­ning

• Bur­glary, house-break­ing or theft

• Riot or strike

• Ma­li­cious act

• Ter­ror­ist act

• Earth­quake dam­age (fire and shock)

• Flood, ty­phoon, hur­ri­cane, storm, tem­pest, in­un­da­tion, cy­clone and hail­storm

• Ac­ci­den­tal ex­ter­nal means

• While in tran­sit by road, rail, in­land, wa­ter­way, lift, el­e­va­tor or air

• By land­slide/rock­slide Towing fa­cil­ity for dis­abled ve­hi­cle

The pol­icy pays for towing charges from the place of ac­ci­dent to the work­shop, up to a max­i­mum limit of Rs 300 for scoot­ers/mo­tor­cy­cles and Rs 1,500 for cars and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles.

The Ma­jor Ex­clu­sions

1. Any ac­ci­den­tal loss or dam­age and/or li­a­bil­ity caused, sus­tained or in­curred out­side the geo­graph­i­cal area 2. Any claim aris­ing out of any con­trac­tual li­a­bil­ity 3. Any ac­ci­den­tal loss/dam­age and/or li­a­bil­ity caused, sus­tained or in­curred whilst the ve­hi­cle in­sured herein is a) be­ing used oth­er­wise than in ac­cor­dance with

the ‘limitations as to use’, or b) be­ing driven by or is for the pur­pose of be­ing driven by him/her in the charge of any per­son other than a driver as stated in the driver’s clause 4. a) Any ac­ci­den­tal loss or dam­age to any prop­erty what­so­ever or any loss or ex­pense what­so­ever re­sult­ing or aris­ing there-from or any con­se­quen­tial loss b) Any li­a­bil­ity of what­so­ever na­ture di­rectly or in­di­rectly caused by or con­trib­uted to by or aris­ing from ion­is­ing ra­di­a­tions or con­tam­i­na­tion by ra­dioac­tiv­ity from any nu­clear fuel or from any nu­clear waste from the com­bus­tion of nu­clear fuel (com­bus­tion to in­clude any self-sus­tain­ing process of nu­clear fis­sion) 5. Any ac­ci­den­tal loss/dam­age or li­a­bil­ity, di­rectly or in­di­rectly caused by or con­trib­uted to by or aris­ing from nu­clear weapons ma­te­rial 6. Any ac­ci­den­tal loss/dam­age li­a­bil­ity di­rectly or in­di­rectly or prox­i­mately or re­motely oc­ca­sioned by/con­trib­uted to/by or trace­able to or aris­ing out

of or in con­nec­tion with war, in­va­sion, the act of for­eign en­e­mies, hos­til­i­ties or war-like op­er­a­tions (whether be­fore or af­ter dec­la­ra­tion of war), civil war, mutiny, re­bel­lion, mil­i­tary or usurped power, or by any di­rect or in­di­rect con­se­quence of any of the said oc­cur­rences

Fil­ing of Claims

The in­creas­ing num­ber of ac­ci­dents and in­ci­dents of ve­hi­cle thefts has made it es­sen­tial for pol­i­cy­hold­ers to know how to file ve­hi­cle-in­sur­ance claims.

When the ac­ci­dent hap­pens, call your in­sur­ance com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tive as soon as pos­si­ble—even if you are away from home or some­one else caused the ac­ci­dent. It does not mat­ter where the ac­ci­dent takes place. If your ve­hi­cle in­sur­ance pol­icy is in force, you re­main in­sured through­out the coun­try.

In case of ve­hi­cle theft, in­form your in­sur­ance com­pany’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive im­me­di­ately af­ter lodg­ing an FIR (first in­for­ma­tion re­port). Your in­sur­ance com­pany will han­dle the claim process as your advocate.

Here’s the in­for­ma­tion you need to sub­mit while fil­ing a claim:

• Your con­tact num­bers

• Car in­sur­ance pol­icy num­ber

• Name of in­sured per­son

• Date and time of ac­ci­dent

• Ve­hi­cle num­ber

• Make and model

• Lo­ca­tion of loss

• Brief de­scrip­tion of how the ac­ci­dent took place

• Name of driver

• Place and con­tact de­tails of the in­sured per­son if the per­son in­ti­mat­ing the claim is not in­sured

In ac­ci­dent cases—

a) Note the num­ber of the other ve­hi­cle in­volved in

the ac­ci­dent. b) Note down the names and con­tact de­tails of

wit­nesses. c) Con­tact the toll-free num­ber of your in­surer and

get your claim num­ber/ref­er­ence num­ber. d) If the claim in­ti­ma­tion is de­layed, your in­surer has

the right to re­ject the claim. e) In case of ve­hi­cle theft, the in­sur­ance com­pany should at least be in­formed on the phone right af­ter you in­form the police. The writ­ten in­ti­ma­tion can fol­low later. f) You need to check with your in­sur­ance com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tive on how to pro­ceed and what forms or doc­u­ments will be re­quired to sup­port your claim. No re­pair should be done be­fore sur­vey of the ve­hi­cle. The fol­low­ing doc­u­ments will need to be sub­mit­ted for ac­ci­dent claims: • Claim form duly signed • Regis­tra­tion cer­tifi­cate (RC) copy of the ve­hi­cle • Driv­ing li­cense copy • FIR • Orig­i­nal es­ti­mate • Orig­i­nal re­pair in­voice and pay­ment re­ceipt

Your in­sur­ance com­pany may re­quire a ‘proof of loss’ form as well as doc­u­ments re­lat­ing to your claim (such as med­i­cal and car-re­pair bills and a copy of the police re­port). Sup­ply all the in­for­ma­tion to process your claim.

Main­tain a record of all your ex­penses as a re­sult of the ac­ci­dent which may be re­im­bursed un­der your pol­icy. Some in­sur­ers also pro­vide cash­less fa­cil­ity for re­pair of your ve­hi­cle.

Claim Pro­ce­dure

Although fil­ing a claim is a sim­ple process, it is im­por­tant to do it prop­erly or else the claim can be­come null. Af­ter you sub­mit your claim form and the rel­e­vant doc­u­ments, the in­surer ap­points a sur­veyor to in­spect your ve­hi­cle and sub­mit his/her re­port to the in­sur­ance com­pany. You also get the de­tails of the sur­veyor’s re­port.

No re­pair should be done be­fore sur­vey of the ve­hi­cle. Sur­vey will be ar­ranged on re­ceipt of claim in­ti­ma­tion and sub­mis­sion of de­tailed es­ti­mate of re­pairs from the re­pairer. In case of ma­jor dam­age to the ve­hi­cle, the in­surer ar­ranges for a spot sur­vey at the site of ac­ci­dent. You can un­der­take re­pairs only on com­ple­tion of the sur­vey. Once the ve­hi­cle is re­paired, sub­mit duly signed bills/cash memos to the in­surer.

Some in­sur­ers have the sur­veyor re-in­spect the ve­hi­cle af­ter re­pairs. In such cases, you should pay the garage ex­penses and ob­tain a proof-of-re­lease doc­u­ment (this is an au­then­ti­cated doc­u­ment signed by you to re­lease the ve­hi­cle from the garage af­ter it is re­paired).

Once the ve­hi­cle has been re­leased, sub­mit the orig­i­nal bill, proof of re­lease and cash re­ceipt from the garage to the sur­veyor. The sur­veyor sends the claim file to the in­sur­ance com­pany for set­tle­ment along with all the doc­u­ments. Fi­nally, the in­sur­ance com­pany re­im­burses your claim.

For the comparative as­sess­ment, we chose eight plans based on con­sumer feed­back and prod­uct struc­ture. The pa­ram­e­ters on which we have com­pared them in­clude per­sonal ac­ci­dent cover for owner driver and for paid driver, per­sonal ac­ci­dent cover for pas­sen­gers, cover for lamps, tyres/tubes, mud­guards, bon­net, bumpers, elec­tri­cal/elec­tronic ac­ces­sories, etc., EMI cover, NCB pro­tec­tion, daily al­lowance ben­e­fit, le­gal li­a­bil­ity to paid driver and to pas­sen­gers, cover for CNG/LPG/bio­fuel kits, cover for parts of en­gine, car key re­place­ment, and dis­count for cus­tomi­sa­tion of ve­hi­cle for the vis­ually im­paired/ phys­i­cally or men­tally chal­lenged.

We gave high weigh­tage (10 points) to con­sumer feed­back, which helped in de­ter­min­ing prod­uct qual­ity as well as the most im­por­tant and ben­e­fi­cial vari­ables. These vari­ables have a di­rect bear­ing on the prod­uct struc­ture.

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