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Mumbai
29 Sep 2017

Consumer court orders insurer to pay theft-claim for unlocked car

Insurer to pay theft claim for unlocked vehicle

A Mumbai consumer court ordered TATA AIG General Insurance to pay Rs. 5.22L and Rs. 40,000 compensation to a Skoda car owner in a 2015 case.

The car was stolen from a heavily-guarded building, but the theft claim was rejected as the car was unlocked.

Central Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said an insurer cannot dismiss any claim because the vehicle isn't locked.

In context

Insurer to pay theft claim for unlocked vehicle
Car stolen from a heavily guarded building in 2012

Details

Car stolen from a heavily guarded building in 2012

The car owner, M/s Banswara Syntex Limited, complained against TATA AIG General Insurance in the Mumbai consumer forum in 2015.

The complainant said the car was parked at the company director's parking slot in a Marine Lines building.

The driver, who slept inside the vehicle all night, went to the washroom in the morning. After returning, he saw that the car was stolen.

Theft Claim

Breach of the policy conditions: Insurance company

The car was stolen on 7 May 2012, and the owner immediately registered a police complaint.

The RTO was informed on 9 May after which the insurer was intimated to submit a theft claim.

However, in March 2013, the insurance company "repudiated" the owner's claim, saying that the stolen car was left unlocked and unattended and that proper care wasn't taken.

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Investigator report binding on insurance company: Complainant's advocate

Court

Investigator report binding on insurance company: Complainant's advocate

In the court, the complainant argued the theft claim was rejected based on a report by the insurance company investigator.

However, the owner's advocate pointed out that the report said, "It was found that the location is well secured and guarded by a fleet of security persons."

The court said the insurance company could not avoid the report by the investigator without proper reason.

Insurer has wrongly repudiated the claim: Consumer Forum

Pointing to the insurance company investigator's report, the forum stated: "Merely because the vehicle was not locked, it cannot be said that it was left unattended. In the instant complaint before us, the vehicle was parked at the parking place under security."

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