Car totaled 3 months ago, insurance settlement pending: Best approach?

I have been strung along with contradictory inputs all this while without any concrete inputs regarding the progress of the case.

BHPian handsofsteel recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Dear all,

In an unfortunate turn of events, my car was totalled three months back. This has happened out of state with the vehicle now parked in the nearest svc. I raised an insurance claim with the company within the stipulated claim period. The company launched an investigation which ruled out any foul play. This took about a month. Since then, the following has been informed to me:

  1. An internal debate within the firm regarding repairability vs total loss (SVC declared it a total loss same time).
  2. Assessment of damage by the insurance company - took nearly 1.5 months.
  3. Floating of tender for a scrap quote. I was initially informed that one quote has been obtained (against the minimum two required) and now, in an about turn, they say nothing has come.

I have been strung along with contradictory inputs all this while without any concrete inputs regarding the progress of the case. The company-provided app for monitoring the claim status is useless.

Finally, I managed to get a number of the circle head who assured me last month that the claim would now be settled in 15 days. Three weeks later, he tells me that scrap dealers are not quoting for the car and therefore there’s a delay. The only alternative/worst-case scenario as per him is to get my car de-registered (I assume it’s a lengthy process as it is out of state). They are, therefore, asking me to give them more time to obtain the salvage quote.

  • Is this correct or are they stringing me along? If yes, for what?
  • Is de registering the car my headache? If so, what after that?
  • What are my obligations regarding the svc where the car is parked? (I have started getting calls for an interim payment for parking/estimate preparation charges)

It’s been 3 months and a week thus far. I have spent the whole summer without a car and the prospect of getting through the monsoon without one doesn’t cheer me up.

Considering that I am now getting some inputs (correct or otherwise) from the firm, I am inclined to hold on a little longer before going all out on social media/ombudsman/IRDAI etc to name and shame the company.

I would be really grateful for some specialist opinion from someone knowledgeable.

Thanks in advance.

Here's what BHPian speed79 had to say on the matter:

I am in the same boat as my car (2015 Safari Storme) got totalled in a road accident in mid-April. Since I was injured in an accident with a fracture in my right hand, I could not pick up my car from the accident spot as local police (AP) did not let my friends and demanded that either I or my father should come and take the car, and car lied there for 5 days, during which time different parts from the car were plundered. Once I was out of the hospital, my father went 200 km in a taxi and got the car towed to the Tata Service centre in Bangalore. The towing charges were my cost. I chose the SVC which had a cashless claim with the National Insurance company (as I was hopeful of getting my car repaired as I loved it so much) as the process becomes smoother. The car was declared a Total loss by the insurance company.

Once the insurance company decided on a total loss, and I agreed (I was devastated once I saw some parts plundered from my car), they took my authorization to put an advert in the newspaper for salvage auction. They got 4 quotes and the highest bidder has been selected.

I was asked by the insurance company to get it de-registered at RTO, so that car can be sold as salvage. The RC cancellation is my responsibility. I went to RTO and applied for RC cancellation on May 9. The agents asked a huge amount to get RC cancelled, so I went on my own for the RC cancellation process. It has been about 6 weeks and I hope to get it completed this week.

Once RC cancellation is completed, the salvage buyer would take the car away. The car is currently parked at my home as I was advised by SVC and the insurance company to take the car home after repair estimation, as I would be charged RS 350 + GST per day as parking charges. So I had paid parking charges for the days' car was at SVC + estimation charges.

I hope this information is useful. If you need more details on the RC cancellation process, let me know.

Here's what BHPian Sran had to say on the matter:

Have you visited the insurance company's office yet? Go there, talk to the manager. Telephonic conversation can only get you so far. Do it at the earliest because the service centre will take a hefty per day charge. If there is a problem due to it being in another state, get the car towed to your place.

De-registering is your work. You will get a refund from RTO for the remaining years left. I am not sure about the timing i.e. when to initiate it, you can read various threads about it. All I know is you have to be stubborn. Some 5 years back, I had to barge into an insurance company's office and had to impolitely speak to a manager for my friend's stolen car settlement which was languishing for 3 years. They paid within a month. Good luck.

Here's what BHPian thanixravindran had to say on the matter:

Sorry for your loss and great that you are safe.

On the insurance part, your insurer is buying time to sell the car 'as is' to reduce his payout. This is the reason he is yet to give you a scrap report and ask you to deregister to sell as scrap. He is hopeful of finding a buyer who can repair and sell it. This is the reason he won't provide a total loss report (not possible to be repaired to be road worthy) but use it as a constructive total loss case (repairable to be road worthy but not financially viable). In that case, you will have to sign a car transfer ownership form, will get money from the buyer and the insurer will pay the balance of IDV.

In an ideal scenario, insurance has just to just settle the claim with you and take over the totalled car and they can do whatever they can but this is India and they play all these games. Unfortunate but true.

My suggestion - If you decide to fight, please take a look at your insurance document and find the Irdai plan registration number as all insurance plans need to be submitted to Irdai. Take the section on claim processing and scrap/salvage process whether it belongs to you or the company. Send a printout of it along with your claim number in a registered post asking to settle the claim within 14 days beyond which you can proceed legally to the ombudsman to recover your money.

If you want to avoid confrontation, explore cash loss settlement with an insurer, say around 80% of IDV and settle with insurance. If they settle, the totalled car is yours. Work with your SVC and sell it off or deregister and sell it to scrap. They will help you as they will also benefit and have contacts with scrappers.

Finally, I am not an insurance specialist but naming the insurance company is not going to adversely impact your claim anyway.

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