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Understanding First Notification of Loss (FNOL) in insurance

Team AckoMay 9, 2022

Insurance is all about ensuring financial support in case of damage to or loss of the insured asset. However, to receive this promised support, you need to follow certain steps. And the First Notification of Loss is one such important step. Read ahead to get a better understanding of First Notification of Loss (FNOL) in insurance.

First Notification of Loss (FNOL) in insurance

What is First Notification of Loss (FNOL) in insurance?

FNOL in insurance is the first step taken by you to inform the insurer about your loss. For example, if your insured vehicle (such as a two-wheeler or a car) is damaged due to a treefall, you need to get in touch with the insurer and inform them about this incident to initiate the claim process. For FNOL in insurance, you can call the insurer, email, or use their website/app, depending upon the insurer’s process and your preference.

Since this is the first time you are informing the insurer about your loss (regarding a particular claim), the process is termed First Notification of Loss i.e. FNOL in insurance. The meaning of FNOL in insurance remains the same for car insurance, property insurance, etc.

What is required to file an FNOL?

The exact details required to notify the insurer about your loss will depend upon the nature of the damage or loss and the insurer’s process. You will come to know about the requirements after you contact your insurer. Here are some points to give you an idea.

1. Policy number

Each insurance policy has a unique number. It helps in identification, record keeping, and other back-end processes. While notifying the insurer, you will need to share your policy number.

2. Personal details

You might be asked to share basic personal information such as your name and mobile number for verification. Refrain from sharing private details such as credit card number, CVV, etc.

3. Asset information

Share details about the insured asset. For example, the bike’s registration number, make and model, age, etc., based on the insurer’s requirement.

4. Details about the loss/damage

You need to share details about the nature of the loss. For example, if it’s a car insurance case, then you need to explain how your car got damaged, where it was at the time of damage, whose fault it was, etc.

How to file a First Notification of Loss (FNOL)

Here’s how you can approach the notification process in car insurance and bike insurance. Note that the exact process might vary from one insurer to another.

Step 1: Get in touch with the insurer via call/email/website/app.

Step 2: Share details such as policy number, basic personal details, etc.

Step 3: Answer questions asked during the process.

Step 4: Submit documents requested by the insurer.

Step 5: Receive acknowledgement of notification registration in the form of a message, email, letter, notification, etc.

Documents required to file an FNOL

FNOL usually marks the beginning of the claim process. You might be asked to share the following documents during the process.

  • Driving Licence

  • Registration certificate

In some cases, other documents might also be needed. For example, you might be asked to submit a First Information Report (FIR) in case of a bike accident for a two-wheeler insurance claim.

Importance of timely FNOL in auto insurance

Not only is it important to initiate the notification process with clarity, but also vital to initiate it at the earliest when it comes to auto/vehicle insurance. A significant delay (for example, a month) from you in initiating the process can lead to claim rejection.

One possible reason for such claim rejection could be that the insurer needs to usually inspect the damaged vehicle before accepting or rejecting a claim. And a huge gap between the incident causing vehicle damage (for example, a car accident) and notification can widen the scope for inaccurate information, evidence tampering, and insurance fraud. Thus, it is essential to begin the process as early as possible.

Inspection of damages after FNOL

Vehicle inspection is a crucial step during the claims settlement process, especially if the vehicle damage is significant. Either a virtual or a physical inspection is required, unless specified otherwise. 

Once your First Notification of Loss is registered with your insurer, they will process it and let you know about the vehicle inspection process.

What are the outcomes following the FNOL?

Most likely, there are two possible outcomes after you inform the insurer about the loss.

1. Acceptance

If your notification is accepted, the insurer will initiate the next steps in their claim process. This next step is usually verification. For example, in vehicle insurance, this means vehicle inspection to verify the extent of vehicle damage.

2. Rejection

Your notification might be rejected if there are issues with the information you provided at the time of filing the FNOL. For example, if your insurance policy has expired, the insurer will not proceed with the claim settlement process.

Questions to ask during FNOL

When you initiate the First Notification of Loss process, the insurer will ask a couple of questions. However, once your notification is registered, you should ask the following questions so that you have clarity about what to expect next.

  • If and when will there be an inspection?

  • If any documents are needed, can a soft copy work?

  • Where can you track the claim process?

  • Will you receive mobile/email notifications about the process?

  • Are there any action items, especially time-bound actionable, from your side?

Use of technology in FNOL

Gone are the days of paper-based processes. We are in the digital era, and digital-first insurers are incorporating technology into everyday processes to ensure a hassle-free insurance experience. Such use of technology is also possible in the First Notification of Loss process. Here’s an example.

Suppose there’s a Telematic device installed in your insured car. It’s a device that primarily uses Global Positioning System (GPS) to track the vehicle. It can also track the speed, accuracy, and patterns related to driving. Similarly, it can also detect an accident and inform the insurer about it, thereby initiating the  First Notification of Loss.

Currently, all the insurers in India might not use this level of technology for FNOL, but digital-first insurers do offer a mobile app through which you can raise car insurance claims. This is certainly more convenient, efficient, and quick than visiting an insurer’s branch office, filling out lengthy forms, and attaching a bunch of documents!

Takeaway

If your insured asset has been damaged in an accident, lost, or suffered other losses, please inform the insurer at the earliest. This process of intimation is known as First Notification of Loss. Based on your information, the insurer will provide the next steps in the claim settlement process. Note that the insurer might not go ahead with the claim settlement process if there are issues with your First Notification of Loss, such as incorrect details, inactive policy, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a section of common queries and answers related to FNOL in insurance. If you still have unanswered questions, you can get in touch with us at [email protected] Shoot an email with the questions, and our team will help you out.

Will the insurer consider my FNOL if there was a delay in intimation due to a medical reason?

A delay in First Notification of Loss due to a medical reason might be considered by the insurer depending upon their terms and conditions.

Is it possible to register FNOL via a mobile app?

Yes, you can register your First Notification of Loss via a mobile app if your insurer offers such a service.

Can I register FNOL for an accident that happened after my car insurance has expired? I will complete the car insurance renewal process and then register the FNOL.

The insurer will consider the First Notification of Loss as valid if your motor insurance policy was active at the time of the accident.

Is FNOL only required in car insurance or bike insurance?

FNOL is an integral part of different insurance policies and is not limited to car insurance or two-wheeler insurance.

Is claim settlement assured if I complete FNOL?

The First Notification of Loss is just the beginning of the claim settlement process. It does not assure you of a settled claim.

Does the FNOL process flow remain the same for all types of insurance policies and insurers?

The essence of  First Notification of Loss, which is informing the insurer about the loss, remains the same. However, the exact processes might differ based on different insurance policies and different insurers.

Is digital FNOL and physical FNOL the same?

Yes, both are the same only the process differs. Digital FNOL can be initiated via call, email, and an app, while a physical notification is paper-based, where you might have to visit a branch, fill out forms, and submit documents as a part of the process. 

Disclaimer: Please note that the information in this article is generic and not specific to ACKO.

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