Consumer VOICE

Insurance firm asked to compensate for denying accident claim

A consumer court in Chennai has directed an insurance company to pay compensation to its customer who was denied the claim amount for his damaged car on the ground that the damages were not relevant to the cause and
nature of the accident.

The petitioner, M Chandrasekar of Kolathur, was driving with his wife and two toddlers to Trichy from Chennai in February 2010. They stopped at a roadside shop and were having tea when a vehicle rammed into the car, damaging the front portion, windshield and doors as well. The nearest police station was nine km away and not being comfortable in an unfamiliar place, he decided to return to Chennai. On the way back, the damaged bumper and bonnet kept rubbing against the front tyres, forcing him to take the service of a local mechanic.

Soon after reaching Chennai, he completed all the claim formalities with United India Insurance Co. The company’s surveyor inspected the vehicle but declared that the damages had accumulated over accidents that had occurred over a long time.

The District Consumer Disputes Forum, presided by K Jayabalan, found most of the damage was in the front of the vehicle such as the bonnet, front right side, bumper, grill and windshield, which proved that the vehicle was damaged during the accident and not accumulated over a longer period. Accordingly, the forum directed the company to pay a sum of Rs 23,150 towards the claim amount and additionally pay Rs 10,000 as compensation, plus Rs 5,000 towards litigation expenses.

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