Here’s a guide to make a claim from your car insurance if your car is stolen, involved in an accident, or suffered damages caused by unfortunate events such as a flood.
If your car was stolen
Your eligibility to apply for a claim if your car has been stolen will depend on:
1. Type of car insurance coverage
Coverage for theft of your vehicle is covered under a Comprehensive cover, and third party fire and theft cover. But if you purchased a basic third party insurance policy, theft of your vehicle will not be covered, because the policy will only cover claims from third parties for bodily injury, death and loss or damage to their property.
2. Nature of the theft
If you willingly handover the car to someone else and the car was stolen, the insurance company will not pay you for the loss. For example, if you send your car to car wash or handed it to a car jockey and it gets stolen, it will be considered as an act of negligence on your part as the car owner.
Do take note that the claim process for car theft will take longer, about 6 months from the date of notification of the theft, or when official police investigations have been completed. This is because the insurer would have to conduct a thorough investigation and assessment for claim in relation to theft.
If your car was involved in an accident
There are two ways to claim for damages if your vehicle was involved in an accident:
Claim from your insurance company
When claiming from your insurance company, you will claim under Own Damage (OD) Claim or Own Damage Knock for Knock claim.
- Lodge a police report within 24 hours of the accident. If you lodge a report after 24 hours have passed, you can be fined RM300.
- Then, inform your insurance of the accident. After that, make sure to send your car to a panel workshop of the insurance.
- You will then have to fill up the claim forms and submit back to your insurer.
- An insurance adjuster will then be appointed to access the damage and cost to fix your car, and then the panel workshop will proceed to work on your car.
Remember, when you claim from your insurance company, you will lose your No Claim Discount (NCD) entitlement. You should also check your insurance policy and look at the part where it states “excess”. ‘Excess’ is the amount of loss you have to bear before your insurance company will pay for the balance of your claim. For example, if your car insurance excess is RM200, you will have to pay the first RM200 of any claim you make. You will not be entitled to claim for an accident that results in damages below RM200. Excesses helps insurers reduce the number of small claims made.
There are two types of “excess”
i)‘Compulsory Excess’ of RM400. This means you have to bear the cost of RM400 every time you make a claim if during the accident your car was driven by a person:
- under 21 years old
- holder of an L driving license
- holder of a P driving licence
- named in your car insurance, but is less than 21 years old, and /or holder of L license, and/or holder of P license
ii)‘Other Excess’ is an amount applicable at the discretion of the insurance company
Claim from the other party’s insurance company
You can also claim from the other party’s insurance company in the event of an accident, which is known as third-party claim. Usually, this is applicable if the accident was the other person’s fault. The steps to claim are as below:
- Make a police report within 24 hours of the accident to enable you to claim from the other party’s insurance company.
- Send your vehicle to the panel workshop of the other party’s insurance company.
- Get a vehicle Independent Licensed Adjuster on your own or through a workshop to help evaluate the total cost of the damage, and the loss of use, also known as Compensation FOR Assessed Repair Time (CART). This is to get compensation for not having a car over the period your vehicle is under repair.
- You will have to pay for the damage first. Then send these documents to the other party’s insurance company:
- Original copy of the police report made by you
- Police investigation result
- Copy of your NRIC
- Copy of your driver’s license
- Car registration card
- Adjuster report including bill of repair cost for your car (or your damaged property)
- Photo (if any) of the damaged car
There are pros and cons to both types of claims. If you claim from your own insurance, you will lose the NCD entitlement. If the situation allows you to claim from the third party’s insurance, and you choose to do so, it can take a long time. This is because it involves a longer process compared to if you were to claim from your own insurance. You may find that the amount offered by the third party’s insurance is inadequate. In that case, you should engage a lawyer.
Your lawyer will ask you to sign a warrant to act. This is a document appointing him or her as your lawyer, to authorise the lawyer to act on your behalf. Your lawyer will:
- take down a full statement from you and examine all the documents that you have, consider the evidence, and explain to you the types and the quantum of claims that you may be granted
- write letters to the police station for copies of the police reports as well as the sketch map of the accident site
- if you or your passenger was injured, and you have not obtained the medical reports, the lawyer will write to the hospital for the medical reports
- write to the insurance company concerned for the compensation
- if no adequate compensation can be obtained, the lawyer will file a civil suit for you. But if both side agree for a settlement, then you don’t have to go to court.
If you cannot reach an agreement with the other party, the accident case will be brought to court. The court will have to decide liability, which means deciding who is responsible for causing the accident. The court will also decide how much the injured person (if any) should receive as compensation. The person who is found to be responsible for the accident will be 100% responsible.
But there may also be instances when another party is also partly responsible for the accident. In such situations, the court will assess the degree of the responsibility in percentage terms in causing the accident. So each party that is found to be partially responsible for the accident will then have to pay compensation according to the percentage terms decided by the court.
What can you claim?
Depending on your insurance, the coverage may differ. For example, you may have opted for extra coverage which are add-ons to your insurance, such as windscreen coverage, damage due to flooding and more. Damages which you can claim for are:
These are claims for specific expenses for example transport, repairs to vehicles, hiring another vehicle or medical expenses as a result of the accident. Special damages deal with specific monetary expenses that you have to incur as a result of the accident.
These are compensations for pain and suffering as a result of injuries caused to a person. If you and /or a passenger in your car was injured in the accident, you may claim compensation for the injuries sustained from the insurer of the other vehicle that caused the accident. But, the other vehicle’s insurance will only pay out compensation to you if the other driver is found to be at fault for causing the accident. If you are partially responsible, you and your passenger will receive a partial compensation.
In the event of theft, the claim process will take a longer, about 6 months from the date of notification of theft, or when official police investigations have been completed. This is because
See also: How Does Car Insurance Work in Malaysia?