Ghatkopar tragedy: FIR needed for vehicles with third party insurance | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Ghatkopar tragedy: FIR needed for vehicles with third party insurance

May 22, 2024 08:51 AM IST

Getting back damaged vehicles and claiming insurance on them has become a problem for those affected by the billboard collapse in Ghatkopar

Mumbai: If physical injuries weren’t enough, getting back damaged vehicles and claiming insurance on them has become a problem for those affected by the May 13 billboard collapse in Ghatkopar. The incident killed 16 people and injured more than 75, while 47 two-wheelers, 39 four-wheelers, and 10 rickshaws lay crushed under the weight of the fallen billboard.

Site of the hoarding crash at Ghatkopar (Raju Shinde/HT Photo)
Site of the hoarding crash at Ghatkopar (Raju Shinde/HT Photo)

Vehicle owners are struggling to get insurance claims from the companies as their vehicles lie in a heap of compressed metal. Sources say vehicle owners visit the site almost every day. On Tuesday, the authorities were demolishing the skeletal framework of another hoarding at the site.

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Pravin Kumar was saved by a whisker when he jumped under a truck that was waiting in the queue inside the petrol pump. His motorbike was damaged after the billboard collapsed. When he checked with the workshop about the insurance, he was told that he won’t get it as his vehicle has only third-party insurance.

“I had paid insurance money on my vehicle, but no one informed me about the need to have ‘First Party’ insurance. I am caught unaware after this disaster and trying to understand the issues on vehicle insurance,” said Kumar who is a gig worker and had bought the motorbike more than two years ago. Currently he uses a motorbike belonging to his friends and family for work purposes.

His bike is still lying in the pile of vehicles at the site. Pravin has been running around to get his motorbike back, and said the process is underway.

Less than ten days after the incident, the site looks like a dumping yard of mangled cars and motorbikes. Police personnel stand guard at the site. Personnel from fire brigade, BMC and other agencies are also at the site.

Like Kumar, Ajay Bhoir’s vehicle is in the wreckage. “I have approached the insurance company who have asked me to get an estimate done. Other processes for getting the insurance claim are underway. I bought my vehicle in 2023 and recently its zero-debt scheme expired,” said Bhoir, who owns a Maruti Ertiga which was used by his driver. He used to provide vehicle services to offices. “Strict action should be taken against the culprit,” he said.

Government officials at the site said for the past two or three days, vehicle owners are flocking to the site during the morning hours. “I have been trying to get my motorbike from the site which was crushed. I got injured while waiting to fill petrol. I have been denied insurance claim on grounds that I have third party insurance. This motorbike is the source of livelihood for my family,” said Mohammad Arshad, resident of Bhiwandi.

Sources said those who have third party insurance should make an official complaint against the culprit. The police FIR will be an important document to file a claim. “All those vehicles having first party insurance will not have much of a problem getting a claim,” said Sanjay Sasane, former RTO officer and a transport expert.

Inspection by the Regional Transport Offices is expected to take place this week along with other checks. The vehicles will then be removed one by one. Sources said they are currently demolishing the metal skeletal of the hoarding which will then create space for bringing the vehicles out. Currently these vehicles are on uneven ground, with a rundown building on one side. The mangled metal pieces are dumped at several locations.

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