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.
While vehicle theft recorded a decrease in 2020 to 2021 during the lockdown, car thieves are back in action in 2023. While their tactics may have changed by targeting rented luxury rides and car spare parts, you should still take all the necessary precautions, including knowing what to do.
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.
Steps to prevent vehicle theft
Following are some of the key pointers shared by the PIAM (Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia) to help reduce vehicle theft:
- One of the fastest ways to steal your car is to steal your car keys. Never ever leave your car key on top of your car or on the seat of your motorcycle unattended.
- When you leave your car unattended, remember to lock all doors and remove the key from the ignition.
- Never hide a second set of keys in your car. Extra keys can easily be found by an experienced thief.
- Park in a busy and well lit area at night and avoid car parks that have a history of thefts or break-ins. Most car thefts occur at night.
- Use a locking device on the steering wheel or transmission gear lever. These devices make it more difficult and time-consuming for the car thief.