If you own a vehicle, you would be aware that it is mandatory to have a third-party liability insurance cover as per the Indian law. Additionally, you can get an own-damage motor vehicle insurance cover to protect yourself from expenses that could arise to fix the damage to your car from an accident.
However, insurance companies, as well as the law, is stern on cases involving drunken drinking. If the driver has been found driving with more than permissible amount of alcohol in their blood, they could face penalties, rejection in insurance claims and even jail term.
- The recent revision in the Motor Vehicles Act has increased the penalty on drunken driving to Rs 10,000.
- The permissible blood alcohol content is set at 0.03 percent per 100 ml of blood.
- In the case of a road accident, one could be liable for a police case if the alcohol content in your blood level exceeds the limit.
- In case of death of a person from you driving under the influence of alcohol, you are not only criminally implicated for causing the death, but you could also be imprisoned. You will also be required to pay compensation to the family of the deceased.
Claims on driving under permissible limits
Terms and conditions of motor insurance do not cover accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol. However, there have been cases where the vehicle owners have dragged the insurance companies to the court and the court has ruled in their favour.
The Indian Motor Vehicle Act allows a policyholder to make claims under own-damage part of the motor insurance policy if the driver was drunk within the permissible limits.
According to a recent Times of India Report, in November 2016, a cab-driver based in Bengaluru met with an accident and had to drag a general insurance company to the consumer court after his insurance claim was rejected on the grounds that he was drunk, despite having alcohol content within permissible limits in his blood.
His cab crashed into a vehicle when a car ahead of him took a right turn without any indication. He was injured in the incident and his car was damaged.
His medical report from a nearby hospital, that he was rushed to, proved that his blood had alcohol content within the permissible limits. However, despite the surveyor ascertaining a 75 percent damage to the car, the insurance firm had rejected his claim.
Following litigation that lasted two years, the court ordered the regional manager of the insurance company to not only pay the rightfully ascertained insurance amount but with additional 12 percent interest from the date of the accident, court charges and Rs 25,000 for causing mental agony to the cab driver.
Other instances where motor insurance claims are rejected:
- in the case of driving after substance abuse
- if the driving was part of an illegal activity
- if there has been a delay in applying for the claim
- if accident takes place due to driver's negligence
- in case of non-disclosure or wrong declaration of information
- if driving without a license
- if driving with an expired license
- if one does not file FIR report
There could be many loopholes (apart from the ones mentioned above) that the life insurance company could find to reject your claim. If you have rightfully followed the law and have valid proof, you can take your issue to the consumer court or higher to receive compensation.