Fitness certificate for insurance claim
A fitness certificate is an official document certifying that the holder’s vehicle is fit for being driven in public places & is also required to be eligible for compensation against the own damage or third party insurance claim.
As per the Motor Vehicles Act, a vehicle must have a fitness certificate issued by the manufacturer, and also, another fitness certificate issued by the state RTO authorities after the inspection of its condition, its pollution certificate, tax, insurance, and other such details. A certificate of fitness issued under this Act shall, while it remains effective, be valid throughout India
Under the Act, the registration of vehicle is treated as valid only if it has valid certificate of fitness from the manufacturer and the inspecting authority. Granting new registration certificates without proper fitness certificates and merely on the basis of the manufacturers’ certificates is not correct.
In case of Private vehicles like cars, there is no requirement of periodic renewal of the fitness certificate & fitness is valid through out the life span of the vehicle i.e for15 years. There is provision for re-registering the vehicle after 15 years & only then a fresh fitness certificate is required for the purpose. A vehicle is not considered validly registered if it don’t posses the certificate of fitness.
However in case of the transport vehicle like trucks, buses, taxis fitness certificate is issued to the new vehicle for only two year. And there after you have to apply for renewal of the same. Previously, the renewal was carried out for one year & owner was required to renew the same every year but now the rules have been amended & renewal is valid for two years for the transport vehicles which are up to 8 year old & for one year in respect of the vehicles which are older than 8 years. A specified fee is charged for renewal of the fitness certificate.
Sec-56 of the motor vehicle act
THE MV act 1988
All Transport Vehicles shall carry valid certificate to ply on road. The owner shall apply for issue of fitness certificate in form KMV 20 along with prescribed fee, Registration Certificate, Insurance Certificate, Tax Card, Pollution Under Control Certificate, Permit and Produce the vehicle for Inspection in a good condition. Motor Vehicle Inspector will inspect the vehicle particularly on following aspects:
- Front axle and steering.
- Front spring,.
- Fuel system,
- Electric system
- Engine performance.
- Silencer transmission,
- Rear springs,
- Chassis frame
- Compulsory equipments
- Any other observation or defects worth mentioning.
But whether the vehicle is ever tested on above parameters in actual practice. This is said, every state having lakhs of registered vehicle & few motor vehicle inspectors deployed for the purpose of inspection, the testing is neither done nor it practically can be done.
Rather renewing of fitness is merely a formality & fee collection mode for the govt. Moreover some transporter say they have to pay bribes to get the fitness certificate of vehicle. So in addition to revenue generation it has become a source of bribery also.
Vehicle fitness Impact on insurance claim: Now coming to the point that what is the impact of validity of the certificate of fitness of the vehicle over the insurance claim.
As in light of the facts as explained above, the affected claimants keep raising questions emphasizing that fitness certificate is just a kind of formality & in case of accident claim, if this is ascertained that accident has not occurred due to non-fitness of the vehicle, the insurance claim should be paid. For example if another vehicle coming behind Or from Right or left strike with insured vehicle or accident occur without any mechanical breakdown of insured vehicle, where does the fitness of the insured vehicle come into play.
But as per the motor vehicle act every vehicle is required to have valid fitness certificate to move on the roads. Plying of vehicle by insured without valid fitness certificate amount to violation of policy terms & conditions. insurance policy cover has to follow the provisions motor vehicle act of India & insurer has to follow the law of the land hence the claim is not payable & is rejected.
Various consumer forums & courts keep giving conflicting decisions from time to time which further adds to the prevailing confusion. So In absence of the valid certificate of fitness, some insurers outrightly reject the claim but few of them keep in view the above discussed facts, consider the claim favorably & pay on non-standard basis i.e. by reducing some % out of the total claim amount.
- As per motor vehicle act, no vehicle can ply on the public roads without having valid fitness certificate.
2. As the insurance contract mandates to follow the provisions of the Indian Motor vehicle act.
3.So in absence of fitness certificate, the insurer can rightly reject the vehicle insurance claim