If you drive in a city like Delhi, there is little chance that you will escape an accident, even if only a minor one. The bills for these damages, both small and big, will in all probability be paid by you, though the accident may not have been your fault. Even if your insurer pays, this will mean losing the 'no-claim bonus' .
So, how about filing the claim as the 'third party'? Third-party insurance is compulsory for vehicle-owners and can be used in such cases. But not many seem to remember to claim it when their vehicle is hit by another. Even if they do, they probably drop the idea after learning about the complications involved.
The extensive procedure starts with filing an FIR with the police and obtaining a charge sheet. After this, a case has to be filed in a special court, the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal. Civil courts cannot decide road accident compensation claims. "The case should be filed in the tribunal with jurisdiction over the area where the accident occurred," says Amitabh Jain, head of customer service, motor, ICICI Lombard.
The complaint can also be registered with the tribunal with jurisdiction over the area where the claimant or the defendant resides. A claim can be filed for injury, death and property damage. While there is no limit on liability for injury or death, the cover for third-party property damage is up to Rs 7.5 lakh.
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Remember here that you are on your own. Your insurer will not help you file a claim against another insurer. Motor insurers have a 'knock-to-knock agreement' in which they agree to bear responsibility for damages to vehicles insured with them so long as it is covered for such damage, regardless of the liability.
"The damage to the vehicle and medical expenses is to be settled by the insurer who has covered it and no claim will be recoverable from the insurer of the vehicle responsible," says Mukesh Kumar, head, strategic planning and marketing, HDFC ERGO General Insurance.
If you are still keen on moving the tribunal, make sure you have all the documents in place. "Ensure that proper narration of the incident is recorded in the FIR and original records of expenses are kept to substantiate the pecuniary losses," says Ajay Bimbhet, MD, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance.