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Protect Your Car Against Thefts...

28 January 2016, 02:42 PM

Your car is one of your prized possessions. But have you taken precautionary steps to protect it against thefts or to insure it in the eventuality of a theft? Losing your car due to theft can be a traumatic experience by itself. To add to the agony, if you do not have a cover to compensate your loss, the situation can be even more painful. Insurers offer compensation for loss due to theft. In case your vehicle is recovered but has had damages to exteriors or accessories are found stolen, you can claim the same from your insurer. Let us discuss how you can secure your vehicle against thefts and the procedure to file a claim in the event of a theft.

As per a 2012 report by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), India has the largest vehicle theft cases in the world. One car is stolen every four minutes. The bureau’s annual statistics showed that Delhi topped with 72,215 thefts registered. Followed by Bengaluru with 33,682 thefts. Mumbai stood third with 25,748 cases reported followed by Jaipur at forth with 25,394 cases. Pune and Ahmedabad follow with 17,841 and 17,693 cases respectively. The overall thefts in Maharashtra alone were over 1 lakh between 2007 – 2012. Clearly, going by the number, the risk of thefts is quite high. There have been many instances of theft being reported in broad daylight. While the administration and police have been doing their best to prevent such cases, unscrupulous elements manage to pull off thefts nevertheless.

Types of Insurance:

Broadly, there are two types of insurance policies. Third Party Insurance and Comprehensive Insurance. Third Party Insurance, which is mandated by the law of the land, covers damages to a third party property or vehicle. It will not compensate for loss of vehicle, car accessories, or damages due to theft. In order to secure your car against such damages, it is recommended to go for a Comprehensive Insurance cover. If you have opted for a Comprehensive Insurance cover, the insurer will reimburse the vehicle’s Insured Declared Value (IDV) in the event police has not been able to track your vehicle within the stipulated timeline. Comprehensive coverage, however, is subject to deductibles. Please read the product document carefully before going for a comprehensive coverage with your insurer.

Precautionary Measures:

a. Install Anti-Theft Devices: Installing an anti-theft device in your car not only helps secure your car to a large extent, but it also helps you get a discount on your insurance premium. Many insurers hand a discount if your car is equipped with an anti-theft device. If your car is not already pre-fixed with an anti-theft device, you should consider installing one.

b. Document Storage: It is a common practice and a habit among vehicle owners to store their original vehicle documents in the car itself. This can be detrimental if the vehicle gets stolen. It can be quite cumbersome to obtain duplicates of all the documents including the duplicate registration certificate (DRC), license, etc. It is recommended to store a photocopy of all your vehicle documents in your car rather than store the originals. This will ensure that you will have access to all the required documents in the event you have to file an FIR or intimate your insurance company by raising a claim.

Now that we have discussed the options available to secure your vehicle, let us look at the standard procedure to be followed to raise a claim in the event your car is stolen. There could be changes to the below based on the internal procedures followed at different insurance companies though.

  1. FIR: The first step to follow in the event your car gets stolen is to register a First Information Report (FIR) at the police station within whose jurisdiction your vehicle was stolen. The FIR acknowledgement copy will be required to be furnished along with other documents to file your claim.

  2. Claim Form: Obtain the claim form from your insurer – this is usually available online on the insurers’ website. In case, you need assistance filling out the form or need help with certain sections, you can call your insurer’s customer support team. You will have to furnish information such as the policy number, vehicle details as well as the date and time of the incident. Also, take note from your insurer if there is a time stipulation (from the time the theft occurred) within which the claim has to be raised.

  3. Documents: Submit the duly filled and self-attested claim form, driving license copy, policy document copy, FIR, copy of the RC (registration certificate) Book and a letter addressed to the RTO intimating theft.

  4. Approval: Your claim will go for processing once the police submits its “non-traceable” report. Once your claim is approved, you will have to transfer your RC of the stolen vehicle in question in favour of the insurance company. In the event the car has an outstanding loan amount, the insurer will pay the amount of the Insurance Declared Value (IDV) to the car financer directly. If the IDV is lower than the loan outstanding amount, the difference will be borne by the insured.

While a Third Party Insurance has a lower premium outgo, your decision to go for a Comprehensive cover can save you a great deal in the event of theft. And not to mention the peace of mind of knowing that you have secured your prized possession.

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