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sonika (student)     17 November 2009

LIABILITY OF INSURANCE COMPANY

My commercial vehicle meets an accident. spot survey was deputed by the insurance company who has surveyed the accident spot and condition of damaged vehicle was seen and photos of damaged vehicle were taken. After he went we had to carry the vehicle to the repair workshop through crane.

At the time of toing the crane could not hold the vehicle properly as a result of which it fall from hanger of crane and resulted in the significant damage of vehicle part.

such damage was brought into the knowledge of spot surveyor deputed by the company at the repair workshop where he took the photos of damage part that happened after the spot survey.

when the insurance claim was filed, the insurance company made the deduction of repair estimates of such damaged portion which happened due to crane.

i want to know can i force the insurance company for claim of such damaged parts happened due to toing of vehicle with crane.



 16 Replies

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     18 November 2009

Was the crane itself certified fit to carry the car? Driver duly licensed? Was the job entrusted to the crane company with the permission of the insurance company? Is it on its approved list? was the car properly lashed? These are some of the questions likely to be raised.

It is commonly known that all insurance companies are nasty when it comes to settling the claims and will find loop holes in fine print in the policy to deny their liability.

Suchitra. S (Advocate)     18 November 2009

Insurance company will cover the damage caused only by accident in this case.  The insurance is not covered for the damages caused due to the negligence in lifting the vehicle by you or the crane owner. You should see the termsof the policy  for insurance coverage. 

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     18 November 2009

Dear Anil, I am of the view that if printed matters in the insurance documents  is vauge the same will go against its maker and not the insured. Regarding Suchitra, suggestions I have some doubt. Supposing the vehicle reached the workshop and while rpairing the vehicle by the mechanic the workshop itself got burnt due to the negligence of the owner of the workshop and the vehicle was totally damaged. Can insurance repudiate the claim?

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     18 November 2009

 You are bringing in an extraneous matter. If the workshop is approved, insurance company will be liable for all the damages occurring while the car is in their premises - being repaired or kept parked. You have to take the permission of the company where to get the car repaired. The workshops are on their approved panel. You can't take it to the workshop of your liking. If you have completed all the paper work as per terms of the policy, you will get your car duly repaired i.e. in the condition in which it was before the accident/damage. 

Policies are vague no doubt. But unless the terms are against the law, we are bound by them and the vagueness will not help.

Suchitra. S (Advocate)     18 November 2009

Assumi Sir, then the insurance policy covers the damage caused by fire as per the conditions. I said it depends on the terms of the policy and generally negligence in handling the vehicle is not covered by the insurance people.

Suchitra. S (Advocate)     18 November 2009

And, as Anil Sir said, it all depends on how you prove you are liable to be compensated taking into consideration the vague policy coverage conditions.  :)

Insurance people will do their best to avoid claim.  The policy usually states the conditions of coverage like accident, fire, theft etc.

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     18 November 2009

 When we take the policy or house, we do not read the terms. If things go without hassle, we don't bother. It is in these situations that they will point the condition that is favourable to them and disadvantageous to us. It is such a lengthy document with fine print. We have no time nor have inclination to read them though they cannot put a term or condition that is not sanctioned by law. It is a long drawn battle. But, then there are brokers and touts who manage to corrupt the insurance officers and get your work done for a favour. 

I have never gone through this rigmarole as I never owned a car! It is my general understanding. I can't be specific to your problem.

Isaac Gabriel (Advocate)     18 November 2009

The insurance company is liable for paying compensation so long as the insurance policy is at currency.If the vehicle hit the opposite or the other vehilcle hit ,the insurance company is liable to pay. In the given case,the insurance policy is in currency and the incident has occured while taking attempts to repair the damaged car,which is also one of the functions related to the maintenace of the car.Therefore the insurance company should bear the damages.The insurance company cannot  shirk responsibility by leaving the car  abondoned as it is on the road by just assessing the damages alone cannot make t roadworthy again. The expenses till it is made roadworthy must be borne by the company.The carrying of the car by crane is one among the process  to rectify the car when it met with another fate,and therefore,the insurance company should be accountable,since the insurance is operative. If the Insurance company refutes,you can  initiate legal action.

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     18 November 2009

 No grudge about company's liability. The point is that it has to be gone about in a legal way as per the terms of the policy. Insurance company is not going to pick up the car because it is insured with it, get it repairs to its original condition and then hand it over to the owner. It this was indeed the case manna will fall from the heaven.

N.K.Assumi (Advocate)     18 November 2009

Please note Snika's question which  was based on accident of vehicle based on surveyor's Report. Insurance has to pay the claim based on Surveyor's report and as per the IRDA ( Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority ) Generally the oqwner of the vehicle takes policy of Insurance against fire, theft and accident, and as per Sonika's question the insurance covers fire, accident and theft, and not other insurance like disaster Insurance etc.

 

V.V.RAMDAS (Advocate)     19 November 2009

 Assumi is 100% correct.

Sanjeev Kuchhal (Publishers)     19 November 2009

Can the damages not be claimed under the Carriers Act from the company who provided the services to tow the vehicle.

Sanjeev Kuchhal (Publishers)     19 November 2009

Assumi Sir, here is a interesting case, in the case of accident by mechanic:

 

 "Deceased was riding a bicycle died result of accident with scooter driven by respondent no.3. Said scooter is owned by respondent no.1 who had given it for repairs in the garage of respondent no.3. As the vehicle was entrusted to the mechanic for repairs and it has to be presumed that he has allowed the use of the scooter by the mechanic who was the servant and therefore master and servant would be vicariously liable to pay compensation. However as the vehicle was insured with respondent no.2 covering the third party risk the insurance company would be liable to indemnify the owner of the vehicle involved in the accident. Cannot be said that scooter was being driven without permission of the owner.

Mrs. Nalini wd/o Mukundrao Bhuyarkar & Ors. Vs. Vijayprasad s/o Beniprasad Kanoria & Ors. 2004 (10) LJSOFT 106

Anil Agrawal (Retired)     19 November 2009

 Ensure that the towing company was approved, its towing vehicle had passed the test by the RTO, the driver who was driving the towing vehicle was licensed.  If any of these conditions fail, the company will not pay.

In our hurry, we depend on report of surveyor of insurance company. We are as much entitled to appoint our own surveyor and the report of company surveyor can be challenged.


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