The recent floods in Kerala have been a catastrophe - over 400 lives have been lost, property close to Rs. 20,000 crore has been damaged and insurance policyholders are looking to file claims that can go in excess of Rs. 1,000 crore as the wrath of nature still continues to plunder the residents of Kerala.
This is just one side of the story unfolding. Once the chaos that has ensued due to the floods subside, the story of filing claims will unfold and if you are among those who have been at the receiving end of nature’s fury and are looking to make a claim, you might just realise that the traditional process of filing claims may not pass the muster because many among you may not have the documentation to back your claim.
Even though Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India and all insurers are going the extra length to ensure that genuine claims are not rejected in this time of national calamity by simplifying the process of filing claims, you also have to ensure that you play your part by avoiding these 4 simple mistakes, which will ensure that your claim is not rejected or delayed owing to procedural red-tape.
You can’t turn back the clock – file a claim as early as possible
Filing your claim at the earliest and in a time bound manner will save you a lot of grief. The government has directed every insurance company to set-up toll-free numbers, which shall enable you to establish contact with them at the earliest.
Additionally, you may also connect with them via email or social media platforms, as companies use their digital presence to engage with their consumers to provide assistance as well. The claim should ideally be made within 7 days but in such a difficult scenario, insurance companies usually extend the deadlines.
A good beginning makes a good ending – Don’t submit false information
If you are in the process of filing an insurance claim against the property damage, which includes your car or home, caused due to the on-going natural calamity in Kerala, or happen to be a beneficiary of a life insurance plan, it is possible that you may not have the supporting documents to satisfy the insurers about the authenticity of your claim even with current rules relaxation in play.
However, there is nothing to fret about because your insurer will have all the details relating to your policy with them and will help you in all possible ways to make a successful claim. On your part, all you have to do is be careful while filling the form and furnish the same details as originally shared with your insurance.
To sum it up, avoid filling false information and avoid any discrepancy, which may lead to claim rejection or contribute to delay in processing your rightful claim.
A picture is worth a thousand words: Don’t Forget to Gather Photographic/Documentary Evidence
If you have a property, which is in ruins due to the aftermath of the floods or a vehicle that is damaged, if possible gather photographic evidence and include them with your claim form as supplementary evidence. Insurers are willing to concede to the fact that documentation to support your claim may not be available, thus using photos as the basis to determine the extent of claim will be a reliable instrument to ensure that your claims are not rejected or challenged by the insurer.
Similarly, if you end up in a non-network hospital for your treatment, request the hospital to share all the relevant receipts to you so that you can file for reimbursement of your bills.
Beware! Photographic evidence will be an effective tool to make a successful claim through the need for a physical survey may not be done away with by the insurer totally. Strengthen your case - If online is your way, then don’t forget to furnish a bank statement.
Furnishing a bank statement may not be mandatory, but why not support your claim with as much relevant information as possible in the absence of proper documentation at the time of filing your claim. How does it harm you? Therefore, if you have been using online services to pay your insurance premium, you will be surprised how useful it can be in these scenarios. All you have to do is submit your bank statement highlighting the payments made to the insurer. Your regular payment history will go a long way in proving your credentials to them and also assist them in digging out your record for verification.
Beginning with Uttarakhand in 2013, India has experienced a string of natural disasters over the past 5 years and it’s getting worse. The Kerala floods have not even begun to subside and the India Meteorological Department has predicted heavy to very heavy rains across states such as Bihar, Assam, Sikkim, Meghalaya etc. are predicted. It is strongly recommended to digitize all your critical documents because once the moment of truth comes, i.e. – making a claim, having your documentation in order will be a saviour and with so many wallet options available, there is no reason for us not to do it.
Tarun Mathur is the chief business officer at Policybazaar.com.