Third party insurance: What all does it include and how to make a claim

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Indian roads are not safe due to the bad condition of roads and reckless driving. If you go by the facts, the situation only gets scary every year, with more than 4 lakh accidents occurring on Indian roads. Still, about 35 percent of all cars and 70 percent of all two-wheeler vehicles do not have any kind of motor insurance. Majority of people are unaware of the process on how to file a claim in the event of their vehicle getting hit by someone else’s vehicle.

You may get your vehicle repaired through the own damage component of your motor insurance policy or pay for the damage repair from your own pocket. The only loss in repairing it from own damage insurance is that you lose your accumulated no claim bonus (NCB) at the time of policy renewal. Most people do not know is that they can file for claims through third party (TP) insurance of the other vehicle involved in the accident. However, the claim process is a bit complicated. Here are a few things that one should know to before filing a claim through TP insurance:

What does third party insurance mean? A standard motor insurance policy offers two types of major covers: own damage and TP. Own damage offers cover for damage to your vehicle in a road accident and TP insurance covers you against legal liabilities towards a third person, which includes death, injuries, damage to a vehicle or any other property. As it is evident, the first cover applies to any damage done to your vehicle, TP insurance covers you against the damage done by you to a third party.

Out of the above two, TP is the only insurance mandatory under the Motor Vehicles Act. This is why insurance companies sell standalone TP insurance policies as well, besides it being part of a comprehensive policy. The premium for TP insurance premium is fixed as per Insurance Regulatory and Development Association of India (IRDAI) guidelines and it depends only on the engine and cubic size of your vehicle: larger the size, greater will be the premium. The following is the premium table categorised according to the cubic capacity of your vehicle.

In a third party insurance, the first person is you, the second person is the insurance company and the third person, who is secured, is the person who could get hurt in an accident by you while driving your vehicle.

How to file a claim when you are the victim? If a vehicle hits you or your vehicle, you can file a claim for medical expenses for treatment of bodily injuries. In case of death, dependents can file a claim against loss of income. Medical expenses arising in treating the injury/injuries that triggered the death can also be claimed though TP insurance. In case of damage to the property or vehicle, proper reports from an authorised workshop are required. Original bills and inspection reports will also be required to measure your loss. If you arrange for proper proofs, the other person’s insurance company will pay you.

The process you will have to follow to stake claim is a bit lengthy, which begins with the filing of an FIR with the police station nearest to your house stating the accident. After this, you will need a charge sheet of the same. Once you receive the charge sheet, gather all the necessary documents and hire a lawyer. You will need a lawyer because TP insurance claims need to be filled with a special court: Motor Accident Claims Tribunal. The tribunal will hear both parties – claimant and defendant – and examine the evidence. Based on these evidence and hearings, the tribunal decides the quantum of compensation.

However, claiming through TP insurance is a daunting task. It is suggested to file the claim from your own damage cover if you have a comprehensive motor insurance policy. This will save you a lot of time and stress, although, you will have to forego your NCB.

The third route you can take is to ask your insurer to fight the case on your behalf. This process is called subrogation. This way, your insurance company will pay you the amount of claim and fight the case to retrieve the amount through TP insurance of the third person. Moreover, this is up to the insurance company if they wish to subrogate or not.

In an instance where both the parties involved in an accident have a comprehensive motor insurance policy, it is suggested to file the claim through your own insurance policy if the damage caused is only to the vehicle or property. However, in case of demise or bodily injuries, it is best if one claims through TP insurance because the claim amount is usually very high.

When you have caused an accident If you cause the accident, the third person holds the same rights as you and can file for the claim through your TP insurance. For that, the affected third person is required to file a case in Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal against you and your insurance company. Then the tribunal decides the amount of compensation.

However, there are certain caps on the amount of compensation that the insurance company will pay. For property and vehicle damage, the maximum limit is Rs 7.5 lakh, in case the amount of compensation is more than the prescribed limit. Your insurance company will pay Rs 7.5 lakh and you will have to pay the rest from your own pocket. In case of death or injury, there is no limit and the amount of compensation decided by the court has to be honoured by your insurance company.

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