Buyers Beware! Modus operandi of car registration frauds revealed; IRDAI cautions insurers

Buyers of used cars or pre-owned cars need to be vigilant while purchasing a car from some other owner or from dealers. The engine number and the chassis number of the car that one is purchasing could have been forged. The car registration fraud is related to vehicles undergoing a Total Loss (TL) yet their registration number not being cancelled and used in stolen vehicles. In case of a Total Loss of a vehicle, generally in case of a fire or a sever accident, the overall cost of repair and retrieval of the vehicle exceeds 75 per cent of the Insured Declared Value (IDV) of the vehicle. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has recently asked all general insurers other than standalone health insurers to ensure there is no misuse of Total Loss accident vehicle documents over stolen vehicles cancellation of Certificate of Registration (RC) of the vehicle in case of total loss claim settlement and to also ensure cancellation of Certificate of Registration (RC) of the vehicle in case of total loss claim settlement.

Modus operandi

The fraud begins when a vehicle has a Total Loss (TL) and the salvage of the vehicle gets sold to scrap dealers without cancelling the Certificate of Registration (RC) of the vehicle. Thereafter, documents pertaining to such vehicles are being misused like giving new identity to the stolen vehicles by forging engine number and chassis number of destroyed vehicles under TL claims. The Law Enforcement Authorities have confirmed this to the regulator.

In case of a TL of one’s vehicle, as per the existing rules of Motor Vehicle Act 1988, it is the responsibility of the owner to get the registration cancelled.

How to cancel certificate of registration

As per Section 55 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988, if a motor vehicle has been destroyed or has been rendered permanently incapable of use, the owner will have to within 14 days report the fact to the registering authority within whose jurisdiction he has the residence and need to forward to the authority the certificate of registration of the vehicle. The registering authority shall, if it is the original registering authority, cancel the registration and the certificate of registration, or, if it is not, shall forward the report and the certificate of registration to the original registering authority and that authority shall cancel the registration.

So, the next time you buy a used car, make sure about the details on the Certificate of Registration (RC) of the vehicle to avoid any kind of a fraud. For the benefit of buyers, the government also needs to standardize the format of the RC and have a centralized mechanism to know the authenticity of the document.