PALAKKAD : Claiming insurance coverage of vehicles has become a nightmare for many people as most of the authorised automobile service centres fleece customers by taking advantage of the loopholes in the system.
Customers complain that authorised service centres charge double or triple or more amount for repairs undertaken than private automobile mechanics.
Insurance agencies keep mum over the issue fearing that they may lose the big ticket deals with authorised service centres. Experts say it is the key reason why the insurance premium has been going up but at the same time customers are not getting any benefit out of it.
“My car met with an accident a couple of days ago in front of the Railway Station at Thrissur and I went to the Hyundai Service Centre at Poonkunnam to get it repaired and later to claim the insurance coverage. It was a minor accident but the employees at the service centre informed me that `22,000 was needed for repairing it of which I was supposed to shell out `8000 and the rest by the insurance company. One of my friends argued with them over the repair charges and we checked it with a mechanic to assess the damage. I was surprised to know that only `2,000 is needed for the entire work.
“Do I need to think of an alternative?” said Bindu Palacheril, a Thrissur-based former UN employee.She also said that the vehicle owner will be debt-ridden if the vehicle parts are replaced each time it meets with an accident. So I prefer to depend on private automobile mechanic,” she said.The rights of customers are grossly being neglected by private insurance companies. “If a customer goes to an authorised dealer the service providers there try their level best to sell maximum spare parts. Though the problem can be rectified manually they go for its replacement eyeing huge profit.
“On the other hand, automobile mechanics try to solve the problem manually and he will go for replacement only in extreme cases,” said a former employee of Oriental Insurance company who preferred anonymity. Vishwanathan Odott, managing director of AIMS Insurance Broking Company Private Limited, pointed out that the present scenario will benefit none except the vehicle companies.
“This is the key reason why United India Insurance is planning to make a new system of network workshops to approve insurance claims. As per the new system, each area will have local workshops and the people can repair their vehicle here free of cost and the mechanic can claim the amount from the insurance companies later.