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The insurance company told to pay Rs 6.8 lakh for the damaged car even if the claimant was not at the wheel

BENGALURU, Feb 17, 2022: The insuree not being behind the wheel and someone else driving at the time of the accident are no grounds to deny motor insurance claim for a damaged vehicle, a city consumer court recently observed. The case pertained to a Bengalurean whose car was damaged in a crash that happened after a hotel parking attendant drove it away without the owner’s knowledge in Thiruvananthapuram, where he was on a business visit.

The court ordered the insurer to pay over Rs 6.8 lakh in claim money with interest and ordered the hotel owner, parking contractor and a hotel aggregator to jointly and severally bear the rest of the damage cost. The vehicle’s repair bill had touched Rs 9.5 lakh. Insuree is a person who buys insurance for his vehicle.

Insurance co told to pay 6.8L for the damaged car even if the claimant was not at the wheel (1

On September 3, 2019, Varun Sequeira, 36, a resident of Vijayanagar in Bengaluru, and his relative, drove to Thiruvanathapuram to set up his ice-cream parlour business there. He checked into Vibrant Stay hotel in the Kerala capital and as requested by the hotel manager, handed over his car keys to the parking attendant.

In the early hours of September 5, 2019, Sequeira received numerous call from the owner of a local LED lights shop where he had shopped the previous day. The man had spotted Sequeira’s car in a completely damaged state and abandoned on a city road. He had called Sequeira after finding his shop’s purchase bill lying on the vehicle seat.

The Bengalurean rushed to the hotel lobby and learned from the manager that the parking attendant had illegally taken his car for a spin in the early hours and crashed it. Sequeira and the manager approached the local police station and lodged a complaint, apart from alerting Go Digit General Insurance Limited with whom the car was insured. However, Sequeira told the insurance company that he was driving the car at the time of the accident, which was later proved false by a Go Digit investigator. On the grounds of misrepresenting facts about the accident, his money claim was repudiated by the insurance company.

With damage to his car estimated at Rs 9.5 lakh but his insurance value only Rs 6.8 lakh, the Bengalurean was in a fix as the insurer denied his rightful claim and the hotel owner was not cooperating. Finally, in November 2020, Sequeira approached the Bengaluru Rural and Urban 1st additional district consumer disputes redressal forum in Shantinagar with a complaint against Go Digit General Insurance Limited, the owner of Vibrant Stay hotel, Oravel Stays Private Limited, as hotel aggregator Oyo was earlier known, and Crystal Staffing Solutions in Kochi which had provided parking attendants for the hotel.

An advocate presented Sequeira’s case, while his counterparts from Go Digit and Vibrant Stay claimed the case was baseless. The insurance firm’s lawyer argued the complainant had falsely stated he was driving the car during the accident and the lie was nailed when the matter was probed and thereafter the claim was denied. Crystal Staffing Solutions remained ex-parte. Source: timesofindia.com