…how do I make a claim under my motor/vehicle insurance policy?
This article will help you learn more about the motor insurance claims process and documents required by insurance companies in processing motor insurance claims.
Insurance is a contract between an insurance company and the insured, wherein the insured pays premium and the insurance company in return compensates the insured when a loss occurs. The contract’s terms are stipulated in the policy wording issued to the insured at policy inception. One major expectation of the insured in any insurance contract is the ability of their insurance company to pay their claims promptly when the insured loss occurs.
What is Motor Insurance?
Motor insurance is an insurance policy that provides financial protection to vehicle owners. The three types of motor insurance policy are third-party, third-party fire and theft, and comprehensive policy.
Third party policy: This policy provides cover for only third-party liabilities (injury /death and damage to third party properties) in the event of an accident. It excludes any damage to the policyholder’s vehicle in the event of an accident. Motor Vehicle Third Party Insurance Act 1958 makes third party insurance policy compulsory for all vehicle owners.
Third party fire and theft. This policy is an extension of the third-party policy to cover damage to the policyholder’s vehicle caused by fire and when the vehicle is stolen. The policy excludes damage caused to the policyholder’s vehicle as a result of collision.
Comprehensive policy: This is an all-risks policy for vehicle owners. It provides cover for damage to the policyholder’s vehicle as a result of collision, overturning, fire and theft in addition to third party liabilities (third party injury/death and damage to third party properties).
What is an insurance claim?
An insurance claim is a formal request made by an insured or a policyholder to an insurance company to cover a loss under an insurance contract. According to Kishan (2006), the true nature of insurers is brought to light when claims matters emerge.
Who can make a motor insurance claim?
- The policyholder or the insured
- The injured victim
- The administrators of the deceased person in the event of death
- Parent of the victim in the case of minors
- Any third party whose property is damaged
Within which period can I make a motor insurance claim?
- Damage is up to six years from date of the accident
- Injury/Death is up to three years from date of the accident
What processes do I need to go through in making a motor insurance claim?
The simple processes to go through in making a motor insurance claim are highlighted below.
- Claims notification by the policyholder
The first step in making a motor insurance claim is to notify your insurance company of a loss or a suspected loss. Notification clauses are stated in the policy wording issued to the insured at policy inception. Notification can be done via email, letter, phone call, completion of claims form etc. depending on the agreement you have with your insurance company.
- Claims review and assessment by insurance companies
The next stage is for the insurance company to review the claim to determine if the cause of the loss is covered under the insurance policy. After the cover is confirmed, the loss is assessed to determine the quantum. Motor claims assessment are carried out by internal claims officers or outsourced surveyors.
- Accept or reject liability
Insurance companies accept liability if the cause of loss is covered under the insurance contract. Liability is rejected if it is not covered under the insurance policy. For example, insurance companies will reject any own damage claim under a third party policy.
- Claims settlement
Claims payment is the last stage of the claims process. Settlement can be made in four (4) different ways after liability has been accepted by the insurance company. The various means of settlement are Cash payment, Repairs, Replacement and Reinstatement. Within our jurisdiction, cash payment is the most common way insurance companies pay claims because of its flexibility.
What kind of claim can I make under my motor insurance policy?
- Own damage claim (damage to insured’s own vehicle)
- Third party property damage claim
- Injury claims/death claims
Own Damage Claim
This covers the policyholder’s own vehicle in case of an accident. It applies only to comprehensive insurance and third-party fire and theft policies (excludes collision damage). No cover is available under third party policy.
What documents do I need to present to my insurance company when making an own damage claim?
- Completed motor insurance claim form (date and circumstances surrounding the accident)
- Estimate of repairs
- Pictures of the damaged vehicle with vehicle number showing / making the vehicle available for inspection depending on extent of the damage.
- Copy of driver’s licence (front and back)
- Police extract or report if a third party was involved in the accident
- Fire service report if it a fire claim
- When loss is assessed and accepted, the insured is indemnified
Third party property damage
Provides cover for damages to a third party property caused by the insured vehicle. The limit for third party property damage in Ghana is GH¢6,000 – which can be increased at an additional premium.
What documents do I need to present to my insurance company when making a third-party property damage claim?
- Completed claims form by the insured
- Letter of claim from the third party addressed to the insurance company
- Police accident report
- Estimate for repairs of the third-party property
- Pictorial evidence of damage to the third-party property (car, shop, signage, house etc.)
Injury or Death claim
This provides cover for any injury or death caused by the insured’s vehicle. The limit of cover for both injury and death are stated in the Cap 2021-Limit on Motor Injury and Death Claim under the new Insurance Act 2021 (Act 1061).
What documents do I need to present to my insurance company when making an injury claim?
- Completed claim form by the insured
- Police accident report
- Medical report
- Original receipts of medical bills and other expenses
- Identity card of the victim
- 2 passport pictures of the injured party endorsed by the medical doctor
- Statutory declaration
What documents do I need to present to my insurance company when making a death claim?
- Death certificate / burial permit / postmortem report
- Letters of administration or proof of probate or registrar’s certificate
- Two passport pictures of the administrators / beneficiaries
- Identity card of the claimants and their relationship to the victim
- For rural dwellers who cannot provide all this information, a letter from their chief and statutory declaration can be provided
Effective motor insurance claims management is very important in ensuring customer satisfaction and high retention rate within the current competitive insurance industry. Customers realise the benefits of their premiums paid when their claims are paid promptly by an insurance company. Claims payment should be managed well by insurance companies to prevent leakages. This is because claims payments form a greater portion of an insurance company’s expenses.
>>>The writer is a chartered insurance Practitioner and an Associate of the Chartered insurance institute of UK. He also holds a professional qualification in Risk Management (Associate in Risk Management -ARM) from the American Insurance Institute. He is currently pursuing his CPCU designation with the American Insurance Institute and MBA (Finance) programme with the University of Ghana Business School. He has over nine (9) years’ experience in insurance, reinsurance and risk management. He can be reached via +233249236939 and or [email protected] / [email protected]
- Motor Vehicle Third Party Insurance Act 1958
- Insurance Act 2021 (Act 1061)
- Road Traffic Act 2004, (Act 683)