What to do if the vehicle gets wrecked or damaged in an accident (Insurance claim)?

Motor Vehicles Act

Road transportation has become an integral part in each and every day life. As individuals we highly depend on the public transportation. Motor vehicles have enhanced better connectivity between different towns and cities. They play a crucial role in trade and commerce as well. However the accidents on roads are increasing day by day. The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 deals with the issues regarding Motor Vehicles in India.

Ways in which accidents are caused:

Drunken driving-

Drunken driving refers to the act in which the person who drives the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any drugs. This is made punishable under Section 185 of the Act with imprisonment for the first term which may extend upto 6 months and fine of two thousand rupees or both. For second and subsequent terms, when the same offence is committed within three years of commission of the same offence shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend upto two years or with fine of two thousand rupees or both[i]

Vehicle driven in excessive speed:

This particular act is punishable under Section 183 of the Act which provides them with fine upto four hundred rupees and when the same offence is committed subsequently then the fine amount may extend upto thousand rupees. [ii]

Negligent act by any one of the drivers:

Where accident occurs when any one of the drivers were driving in a negligent manner and resulting in accident.

Natural causes:

Problematic climatic conditions may result in damage to roads which make driving tedious.

Cell phone usage

With increase in the usage of cell phones, people are not cautious about the roads and they get distracted and it results in accident.

Insurance claims under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988:

Insurance claims are regulated by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. Chapter XI of the Act deals with the insurance of motor vehicles against third party risks. Section 146 of the Act makes it compulsory for the owner of the vehicle to apply for insurance against any risks caused by the third parties. This was reiterated in the S. Rajaseekaran v. Union of India[iii] case.  Here the term third parties refer to claimant because in the particular case the insurer will be the first party and the person who insured will be the second party.  

Procedure for claiming insurance under the Act:

In the event of an vehicle accident, there are certain steps that has to be followed-

  • As soon as the accident occurred, the owner of the vehicle can place the claim to the insurance company.
  • The insurance company will assign a surveyor to look over the damages caused.
  • In case if the accident is caused by the third party, the person who met with the accident must try to note the registration number, name and colour of the vehicle if possible.
  • FIR must be filed in the local police station where the accident occurred.
  • The claim must be filed with the insurer and all the necessary documents must be produced with the claim.

List of the necessary documents:

  • FIR copy of the complaint that has been filed in the nearest police station where the accident occurred.
  • Documents of the identity of the claimants
  • Original bills of expenses incurred during the course of treatment.
  • Cover note of the third party insurance policy
  • Other documents that are deemed to be necessary[iv]

Motor Vehicle Claims Tribunal:

Chapter XII of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 deals with the Motor Accidents Claim Tribunal. The tribunal can be constituted to adjudicate upon the claims relating to compensation for accidents that may be result in death or bodily injuries to the persons in the motor vehicles or if damages had arisen to any third party vehicles.[v]

The application to claim compensation may be made only by any one of the following persons.

  • Person who has sustained any injury.
  • By the owner of the property.
  • Where death has resulted from accident, by all or any of the legal representatives of the deceased.
  • By any person duly appointed as a agent by the injured person[vi].

Third party liability in motor insurance:

As under Section 145(g) of the Act, third party includes the government. Third party includes every person other than those who are the contracting parties in the insurance policy who might have met with the accident including any person travelling in another vehicle or any person walking along the road etc.,

This third party liability can be claimed only when any parties other than parties to the insurance policy has incurred any loss or damage.

Other claims:

Section 163 of the Act deals with scheme that can be formulated for determining the form manner and time within which the application for compensation can be made and other such procedures.

Section 163-A deals with the special provisions regarding the payment of compensation based on structured formula basis. The owner of the vehicle is liable to pay compensation from his insurer to the victims of the accident when the said accident is caused by him.


Accidents are increasing in the modern world. More number of people are victims to these accidents. India is a signatory to the Brasilia conference and in that conference “Brasilia Declaration of Road Safety” [vii]was adopted by the delegates in which they agreed to reduce the road accidents deaths to half at the end of the decade. By considering the regulations that were initiated in the conference, India has to take serious steps to combat the existing road safety issues.

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[i] Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act,1988

[ii] Section 183(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

[iii] MANU/SC/0899/2018

[iv] https://www.taxmann.com/blogpost/2000000563/claims-under-motor-vehicle-act-1988.aspx

[v] Section 165 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

[vi] Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act,1988.



Shuruthi Jegannathan
This is Shuruthi Jegannathan pursuing BA LLB in Sastra Deemed to be University. My areas of interest include Constitutional Law, Sociology, Criminal Laws and Jurisprudence. I would always love to play the role of the researcher in the moot court competition and has staunch interest in quiz competitions. I work best as a team member and I believe team works bring effective results. I am fond of Indian vegetarian cuisine and I'd love to claim myself as a foodie. I like binge-watching Tv Series. I see myself to be a person who continues to read and write a lot about legal issues in the coming future.