Cancellation of motor insurance policy may be expensive

Published in Mint on, Jun 18 2013, Written by Kapil Mehta

I met with an accident recently and my knee was fractured. Now I have recuperated. I want to know if ever the need for a knee replacement arises, will it be considered as a pre-existing disease?
—Priyanka Singh

When you decide to go in for a knee replacement, the insurance underwriter will determine the reason why you want to replace the knee. If it is because you had another accident then the claim will be promptly paid.
However, if the replacement is required because of gradual wear and tear or degeneration then the insurer will check if the waiting period for the knee replacement has been completed. The fact that you had a fracture would generally not be relevant to the claim decision, particularly since the fracture healed well.

I travelled to Mumbai two weeks ago where I lost my laptop. I had taken domestic travel insurance when I booked my air tickets and my laptop is insured as well. Could you tell me which one will cover the loss of my laptop?
—Niranjan Nair

The laptop all-risk policy should be your first choice because laptop loss is a specific risk that is covered in that insurance. Most domestic travel insurances will not cover laptops.
It is important that you present your laptop loss case to the insurer properly. You must establish, ideally through a first information report, that your laptop was stolen. If it appears that loss was due to your negligence then the claim will be denied. For example, if somebody picked up the computer at the airport lounge and ran away the loss will be covered. However, if you walked out of the lounge and forgot to take the laptop your claim will be denied.

How can I cancel a motor insurance policy? I have just purchased a car (taken delivery of the car) but the dealer has issued me an insurance certificate with the wrong engine number. The dealer said that it could take around two-three weeks to rectify this error.
—Ishaq Batliwala

I would recommend that you retain the policy. You should immediately email the insurer’s customer helpdesk with a scanned copy of your insurance, the car’s registration certificate and a request to correct the engine number. Once you have registered your request formally the responsibility for making the change shifts to the insurer and they will be obliged to pay up if you have a genuine claim in the interim period.
Cancellation is possible but expensive. To cancel, email the insurer and they will guide you on their specific process. However, do consider that you will lose money because the insurer will return premium as per the short period scale—in effect this is a material penalty for cancellation.

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