A claim in insurance is the occurrence of the eventuality(ies) insured against upon which the liability of your insurance policy is engaged. In other words, it means you have suffered a loss from the use of your vehicle which requires your motor insurance policy to come into operation.
Usually, this happens when
- Your vehicle has been damaged or stolen or
- You accidentally damaged another person’s property or injured another person with your vehicle.
All other factors held constant, you have a right to your claim.
Steps to take in the event of a claim
- Obtain a Police Investigation Report. You should immediately report to the nearest police station. In a theft case, lose of life, injury to a third party or major damage to your vehicle by another party, a police investigation report is very crucial. However, where the damage is minimal, your insurer reserves the right to waive the police report.
- Immediately notify your insurance company. Your motor insurance policy does have a “Claim Notification Clause” which requires you to do so or within a stipulated time frame (Usually 30 days). Failure to do so constitutes a breach which could invalidate your claim.
- Obtain an estimate of repairs. For the damaged car or third party property. In a case of bodily injury to another or death, medical bill and or medical certificate.
- In a theft case; where your vehicle was stolen, your insurer would usually wait to give the police some time to conduct and conclude their investigations. There has been cases where a stolen vehicle is recovered. Therefore there might be need for you to obtain two police reports; an interim report and a final report. An interim report tells that the police have started with their investigations while a final police report tells that the efforts made by the police in recovering the vehicle and the outcome.
- Document your claim: He who alleges must prove therefore onus of prove lies with you. It is your duty to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you have indeed suffered a loss and you have the right to be indemnified. You therefore would need to provide the following;
- Pictures of the accident, even the ones taken with your phone’s camera.
- Completed claim form (blank copy would be provided by your insurer)
- Police investigation report
- A copy of your drivers’ license
- An estimate of repairs
- Obtain medical bills and or medical report (where there has been an injury)
- Await your settlement offer; Your insurer would want to verify your documents and also investigate your claim. Where they are satisfied with their investigation, you would receive a settlement offer. An offer is a proposed settlement deal from your insurer and it usually comes with a discharge voucher. If you are satisfied with the amount proposed, you would be required to complete the discharged voucher and return to them in exchange for your settlement cheque.
- An offer is not binding on you until you have executed (filled) the discharge voucher. If you disagree with the amount offered you have a right to reject it stating your reasons. If you have a strong case, your insurer might reconsider their position and review the offer.