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Here Is What You Need To Know About Insurance Claims After A Natural Calamity

Adhil Shetty

Natural disasters are unexpected, and so can strike anytime without warning. The devastation caused by Cyclone Fani in Odisha recently has left people in the state grappling for basic amenities. With homes damaged and belongings displaced, recovering from the losses is an uphill task. After an initial assessment, a private life insurer has pegged the losses to be over Rs. 2000 crore.

An insurance cover helps you to recuperate from the losses incurred due to natural disaster. While a life insurance can come to a family’s rescue in case of human loss, damages to your property and vehicle can be covered by Home and Auto Insurance. So one must have adequate coverage for all important life aspects and belongings such as health, home, vehicle and other valuables.

If you live in natural disaster-prone area and have bought home insurance and auto insurance, you can claim losses incurred on your property and vehicle easily to reduce your financial burden. However, claims can get rejected because people are often not aware of what is covered by their policy and what isn’t. It is thus important to be aware about these financial pointers if you stay in an area prone to natural disasters.

Read Your Policy Documents Properly

To avoid a rude shock after a tragedy like a cyclone, it is crucial for you to read your policy documents carefully and understand the terms and conditions. This will also give you a fair idea about inclusions and exclusions of your policy, and you will have a compelling claim application in place.

Don’t Delay In Informing Your Insurance Company

In the aftermath of any natural disaster, it is always advisable to inform the insurance at the earliest. You can do this by either calling the insurer on their helpline numbers, or by email or fax. Whatever is the mode, do not forget to get the registration number for your claim. Notifying your claims should be a priority during natural calamities like floods and cyclones as there is a possibility of consequential damage, which may give insurers a reason for denial. If possible, take pictures of the damaged house or vehicle as proof, but do not touch it or disturb it any further.

Here Is How You Can File Insurance Claims

For a smooth claim process, keep your insurer’s contact details stored at a place easily accessible to you.  An online document will give you access anytime from anywhere. You should also share the same details with the immediate family members.

Here is what you need to know about filing insurance claims.

Claims For Life Insurance

While nothing can compensate for human loss, a life insurance bought by the deceased can lend a helping hand during such crisis. Usually, a death certificate is sought by insurance companies to  settle policy claims, but this rule doesn’t apply during natural disasters. If a person goes missing, claims can still be made as the rule of seven years waiting period after the filing of an FIR gets waived off during a natural disaster. You may need documents like a death certificate issued by the municipal corporation, police or armed forces and government hospital, death claim form duly filled, claimant’s ID, residence proof, bank details and photo ID of the nominee or beneficiary.

Claims For Home Insurance

Natural disasters like earthquakes, cyclones, floods, robbery, riots etc. are some of the events which can happen unexpectedly. You have no control over these events, but a home insurance covering your home structure as well as your valuables can support you during unpleasant financial times.

Generally, a home insurance product covers losses due to natural disasters like earthquake, lightings, floods, cyclones and man-made calamities such as riots, fire, and robbery. You can also buy additional cover for your valuables in the house like jewellery, precious stones etc.

In the wake of Cyclone Fani, if you have to claim for the losses for damages incurred by your house, as a first step register your claim with the insurer. You will be required to provide the insurance company details like your PAN, date of birth and details of your house. You will also have to give details about damages incurred by your house with subsequent evidence and proofs. After your claim is registered, a surveyor will be appointed to inspect and assess the damage. If everything would be in order, the insurer will value the property for settlement.

For Motor Insurance

Claiming for losses incurred to your vehicle is a bit tricky. Be cautious as any further damage to the vehicle by your deeds has the potential to hurt your claim process. You should not try to start a waterlogged car and avoid damaging the engine. In case of a consequential loss, the insurance company may reject claims. A regular policy that covers both own damage and third-party liability will suffice in cases of natural disasters. In case of a natural disaster, insurance company may waive off the documentation process and may accept photographs shared digitally to settle motor insurance claims. You would be required to give basic information details such as your name, phone number, and car number to pull out your policy details. After your claim is registered, you will need to wait for further instructions from the insurer as the vehicle will be towed to the nearest garage to ascertain further losses.

If you are struggling to get back on tracks in the aftermath of Cyclone Fani, file your insurance claims in a timely manner to avoid claims rejection.