A natural calamity is an uncertain incident, which comes with a disaster of materialistic loss and life loss. Chennai floods, has again shown us, the worst side of natural calamities which are oftern referred as an “Act of God” specially when it comes to applying for your insurance claims. The greatest way to help yourself, in case you face such incidents is to lodge your insurance claims (Life & General insurance policies) at the earliest. Let’s understand what you need to take care before applying for any claim:-
These natural calamities are so sudden that not only it causes loss of human lives but also loss of assets in terms of immovable properties, valuables, vehicles, equipments, movable assets like machines and stock for businessman etc. There are three main types of insurance claims one need to make, these are Life Insurance (death claim), House & Motor insurance & Medical (health) insurance. Let’s understand death claim in this article:-
- Life Insurance:-
If a person lost his/her life, then after his death, his successors and legal heirs can claim the amount covered under the life insurance policy. A different policy plans and companies may have their own specific documentation; however the basic process and requirements are more or less same for lodign death claims. We advise you to take the following steps, to lodge your claims for life insurance policies.
- Ensure the possession of the original policy document with you.
- Coordinate with the nearest branch of the insurance company with the policy. Please note the time frame within which claim to be lodged from the date of death, try to lodge the claim immediately.
- Some of the important details/documents which are generally required are:-
- Original Policy document,
- Name & other personal details of the policy holder,
- Death certificate (including date and cause of death), and
- Claimant’s relationship with the deceased.
Important Note:- In cases like Chennai floods & calamities like this, apart from the loss of human life, policy papers and documents may also get swept away and Insurance companies may launch a special help desk or drive and become liberal for relaxing the requirements of documents to be submitted. For e.g. getting a death certificate immediately may be a problem or if any person goes missing then, rules in particual this kind of situations, may get relaxed, particularly.
We have seen during Uttarakhand devastation that government had asked public sector insurer to pass claims on the basis of indeminity bonds submitted by the claimants for those who were missing because when in case of no physical proof of death, claims process may take several years. Because in case of applying for a death claim for a missing person you cannot apply for a “death certificate” and insurance claim cannot be made on the basis of “Presumption of Death”.
As per the provisions of section 108 of Indian Evidence Act, you can claim presumption of death only after the end of seven years starting from the date when the person was reported missing; the nominee/ legal heir also need to submit FIR, Police department reports and a court order along with any other necessary documents as required for lodging the and its settlement. These conditions and requirements may get relaxed during any natural calamities/disaster and claims are passed on priority.
For those affected by Chennai floods, most prominent insurance companies have already announced measures like setting up a dedicated toll free numbers and email ids to help claimants lodge their claims seamlessely.