Nowadays, many people own a vehicle and the trend of using it for commuting is advancing and growing rapidly. With the increasing number of vehicle users, the number of motor vehicle thefts is also mushrooming. In India theft of a vehicle brings with it a lot of trouble. On the other side people also feel relieved as insurance companies try to mitigate their loss. According to the data released by the Delhi Police, there were 19547 motor vehicle thefts from 15th August 2019 to 15th August 2020. The number of motor vehicle thefts is not just proliferating in the country’s capital but throughout the country. Also, reports show that motor vehicle theft cases are the least solved crime.
With the increasing number of vehicle thefts, it is better to insure one’s motor vehicle. Despite having your vehicle insured it is very difficult to claim the insurance and get the compensation if you don’t know the procedure for the same.
Insurance Companies will always try to reject the claims or if not reject, then they would try to reduce the amount of the claim giving one reason or the other. As after all they also need to save themselves from incurring losses. So, it becomes a matter of utmost importance to understand how insurance companies work?
Insurance companies work on the concept of indemnity. As per section 124 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 indemnity is defined as a promise made by one party (the Insurance Company/ insurer) to another (the one who insures his vehicle/ the insured) to save the insured from the loss caused to him because of the conduct of the insurance company or by the conduct of any other person. So, if the insured suffers a loss because of the theft of the vehicle, the insurer must compensate for the loss.
If your vehicle is stolen then you must follow the below-mentioned outline for ensuring an accelerated process of investigation and get your insurance claim.
Get an FIR registered:
FIR which is the First Information report is mentioned in section 154 of the CrPC. It should be borne in mind that an FIR is always registered for a cognizable offence. To know whether an offence is cognizable or not one has to refer to the First Schedule of the IPC. Theft is a cognizable offence and therefore if your vehicle is stolen, you must immediately lodge the FIR.
- Problems faced by the insured: At times it becomes very difficult for the insured to lodge an FIR. This is because many times the officer-in-charge of the police station refuses to do so. Many times there is a delay in lodging FIR as initially the police suggest searching for the vehicle. The people also try to search for the vehicle themselves. So, if an insured is not able to lodge an FIR at the nearest police station then he/she must send the information regarding the theft to the Superintendent of Police as empowered under section 154(3) of the CrPC.
- b. Delay in lodging FIR, not a cause for denying insurance claim: The Supreme Court in the case of Ravi v. Badrinarayan & Ors. has stated that delay in lodging FIR is not a valid ground for denying an insurance claim. Although, the condition for this is that the insured needs to provide a satisfactory reason for the delay.
Intimate the insurance Company:
Sometimes, people lodge the FIR but forget to intimate about the theft to the insurance company. Many insurance companies have a clause that requires the insured to intimate about the theft within a stipulated time. As many people generally don’t read the contract they enter into the claim gets denied. So, you must immediately fill the claim form by calling the customer care of the insurance company.
a. Delay in intimidating the insurance company, not a cause for denying insurance claim: The Supreme Court in its various judgments has observed that delay on the part of the insured to intimate the insurance company is not a valid ground for rejecting the insurance claim. One such case is of Gurshinder Singh v. Shriram General Insurance Co. Ltd. & ANR. where the Supreme Court propounded that the “ mere delay in intimating the insurance company about the occurrence of the theft cannot be a ground to deny the claim of the insured.
Keep the documents ready:
The insured or the policyholder must keep with him the documents such as policy the document, registration certificate, copy of the FIR, copy of the driving license, etc. ready.
Inform the local RTO office:
It is also important to inform the local Regional Transport Office (RTO) where the vehicle was registered.
So, one must follow these steps in order to save himself/herself from getting into complex litigations. Litigations can incur huge losses and your insurance claim will also be delayed due to a huge number of pending cases. So, act wisely and remember these important points to get your motor vehicle insurance claim as smoothly as possible.
What is the full form of FIR?
FIR is First Information Report
What is FIR or First Information Report?
It is a document prepared by the police on receiving cognizance of an offence.
What to do if my car/ vehicle is stolen?
- Register an FIR.
- Intimate the insurance company.
- Keep the documents such as insurance policy, registration certificate, copy of the FIR, copy of the driving license ready.
- Inform the local RTO Office
When should I register FIR if the vehicle is stolen?
You should register the FIR as soon as possible. Delay in filing FIR can even lead to dismissal of your insurance claim.
What to do if the police dosen't file FIR?
If the police dosen’t file FIR, then the aggrieved person must inform about the theft to the Superintendent of Police as empowered by section 154(3) of CrPC.
When should I inform the Insurance Company if my vehicle/ car is stolen?
As soon as you register the FIR, You must inform the Insurance Company about the same.