The flood waters will soon recede after the rains stop. However, your difficulties will not end and you will need to do a lot to rebuild from the destruction. Among the big things that you would need to do is to file for your insurance claims for damaged property or for any unfortunate death due to the floods.
However, the flood waters may have done huge damage and may have even destroyed or carried with it your insurance policy documents and your identity papers, such as Aadhaar card and passport. What do you do in such a situation?
We asked leading insurance experts to enable you to negotiate this difficult period. Tarun Mathur, Chief Business Officer, Policybazaar.com says there could be a small window to file your claims unless insurers show come leniency due to the severity of the calamity. “First thing is to call on the toll-free number of the insurer and update about what has happened. Usually, this has to be done within 7 days but in case of natural calamity insurers take an exception and the timeline can go beyond that,” says Mathur.
He said for life insurance claims it is advisable to intimate the claim at the earliest after death has happened. “In case of a dreaded disease or critical illness claim, it should be intimated only after the end of survival period (after 28/30 days of event occurrence). Also, Govt. has directed insurance companies to set up their own help desk so that customers do not face any issue,” Mathur said.
As per market practice when it comes to claim intimation it is always ‘the earlier the better’; But in case of catastrophic loss delay is justified for factors such as resuming back to normal life takes time. IRDAI clearly lays down that the insurer cannot decline a genuine claim for the delay in intimation or delay on submitting documents due to unavoidable circumstances. Hence if there a delay in intimation the same should be substantiated with good reason for delay, says Balachander Sekhar, CEO, RenewBuy.com
In case of motor insurance claims, the insurer makes an exception with the deadlines. Basic details about the policy like policyholder’s name or his PAN details are to be told to the insurer and the rest will be taken care of by the insurer. If you have lost your documents then basic details like vehicle registration number, mobile number can be passed on to the insurer, basis which they will find your policy number in the system and you can lodge a claim on your behalf.
Naval Goel- CEO and Founder of PolicyX.com says the insured should submit the claim form along with the policy documents or along with the FIR (in case of loss). “Some companies also provide claim settlement assistants who will come to claimant's home and collect all documents and will help in the settling the claim,” Goel said.
The claims have to be accompanied by supporting documents. In case you are filing a life insurance claim, Mathur says you need to organise the requisite documents to back the claim. These include:
--Claimant form A
--KYC documents of the nominee
--Bank details of the nominee
--Original policy document
--FIR/ PMR in case of unnatural death
--Medical treatment papers as applicable in case of natural death
One can directly contact their insurance advisor or can lodge a claim on the email id of the insurer. “The same procedure goes for the general insurance but if you do not have any hardcopy or soft copy of the documents then the same should also be updated to the insurer and they will guide you on the same,” Mathur said.
Ravichandran N of Kotak General Insurance feels that a copy of insurance and identification documents are stored digitally. There are electronic repositories available for storing insurance documents. In case of natural disasters, most insurance companies will take into account in good spirit and process the claims basis information available with them.