Your Car Is Stolen – Now What?
All drivers are legally required to have car insurance, but many people resent what can be a hefty annual expense. Some of the ways to lower your car insurance premium is to lower the sum insured. However, there can be dire financial consequences to that if your vehicle is stolen.
It’s a sad fact that vehicle theft risk in Malaysia is one of the highest in the world, with vehicles more likely to be stolen here than in the USA or the UK, according to studies done by SBD Security. Furthermore, Malaysia is one of the few countries to show a consistent increase in vehicle theft since 2001.
According to The Sun Daily, the Selangor police chief DCP Datuk Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah said vehicle thefts have risen by almost 20% in the Gombak district from 246 cases in 2010, to 294 cases in 2011.
With the risk of vehicle theft, it makes sense to make the process of theft claim as painless as possible.
What you need to know about theft claim?
1. The settlement by your car insurer will be based on the Market Value or the Sum Insured, whichever is lower. Therefore, it is important to ensure your Sum Insured is sufficient to cover the cost of paying the loan of your vehicle and getting a replacement vehicle.
2. The process of making a theft claim is similar to making other car insurance claims, except the process is longer. The period stipulated by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is within six months. However, in most cases, claims are settled as soon as the theft investigation is finalised without any irregularities being detected and all documents required for claims processing with payment have been processed.
What if the compensation amount is lower than the Market Value?
If you find the compensation amount is not according to the Market Value of your vehicle at the time of theft, you can file an appeal letter to your insurer with the relevant documentation to justify your appeal.
Some of the documentations can be newspaper clippings, classified ads, written quotations or valuation from reputable car dealers. Your appeal however, will be subjected to further deliberation.
Is your vehicle recovered?
If your car has been recovered and your insurance claim has not been settled, you can choose to withdraw the claim and repair the car (if need to) at your own expense to retain your No Claim Discount (NCD) entitlement, or pursue a damage claim.
However, if the settlement has been made by your insurer, the insurer will assume ownership of the vehicle.
The probability of having your car stolen is based highly on where you live and work. In an attempt reduce car theft, the Malaysian Road Transport Department (JPJ) made it compulsory for all new passenger cars to be fitted with an immobiliser system.
However, vehicle thieves have moved on to improve their methods in recent years and could yet be able to easily overcome basic immobiliser systems. It’s always safer to know your rights for unfortunate events such as this, and relieve some of the stress that comes having your vehicle stolen.