Motor insurance broadly covers the insurance policies purchased for all kinds of motor vehicles including two-wheelers, three-wheelers, cars, commercial trucks, etc. The main use of motor insurance is to protect a vehicle against various possible eventualities such as accidental damages, thefts, and third-party liability. In India, it is mandatory for all vehicles to have third-party liability motor insurance. Though not mandatory, a comprehensive motor insurance cover will provide complete protection against own vehicle damages, personal injuries, and death.
Motor insurance available in India can be broadly classified into two-wheeler insurance, car insurance, and commercial vehicle insurance. These two types of insurance policies are likely to vary in terms of cost and extent of coverage. Insurance policies provided to personal vehicles such as cars and two-wheelers form a large chunk of the motor insurance market. In addition to this, insurance policies are also available for commercial vehicles such as large trucks and heavy motor vehicles (HMV).
The number of cars plying the Indian roads is increasing day by day. With that, the car insurance market is also witnessing a massive growth in India. Regulations dictate that car insurance is mandatory in our country. Almost all car dealers have exclusive tie-ups with various insurance companies to provide car insurance for their customers. Premiums for car insurance are calculated based on the insured declared value (IDV) of the vehicle. In case of accident or theft, this IDV will be taken into consideration to provide compensation to the vehicle owner.
India has recently overtaken China to become the world’s largest two-wheeler market. Insurance for two-wheelers is already a major market in India with different players offering different kinds of insurance products. Two-wheeler insurance is also mandatory in India, and all bike owners must have third-party liability insurance at the very least.
Commercial vehicle insurance - Commercial vehicles are those that are not used for personal purposes. These vehicles are primarily used for carrying goods, and they include vehicles such as trucks and HMVs. There are many commercial vehicle insurance products available in the market. They provide coverage for accidental damages to vehicles, personal injury, third-party liability, property damages, etc. Companies that operate a fleet of motor vehicles can take fleet motor insurance and save money on premium charges.
All motor insurance products are available in the form of third-party liability insurance and comprehensive insurance. Both have their own set of benefits and disadvantages. A brief insight into these two types will help you choose the ideal one.
Third-party liability insurance - This insurance covers accidental damages inflicted to a third-party during an accident. This is a limited cover that does not provide any protection against personal injuries or the damages sustained to one’s own vehicle. In India, it is mandatory for all motor vehicles to have this cover irrespective of their type or model. One of the advantages of this cover is that it is much cheaper than a comprehensive insurance policy. Since the protection offered here is very limited, this cover is not advisable for new vehicles that are high in value.
Comprehensive insurance - As the name implies, a comprehensive insurance cover provides complete protection against most kinds of threats. The primary advantage of a comprehensive insurance is that it provides coverage against both third-party liability and own vehicle damages. In addition to accidents, a comprehensive insurance provides protection against theft, damages due to natural calamities, damages incurred due to man-made disasters, personal injuries, etc. If safety and security is your top priority, comprehensive insurance is the best choice for a vehicle.
There are many reasons to buy a motor insurance cover for a vehicle. Some of the primary reasons can be listed as follows.
Some of the key features of motor insurance can be listed as follows.
In this day and age, the sheer number of insurance companies that offer motor insurance is truly overwhelming. Sometimes, choosing the ideal motor insurance policy can be a difficult process due to the range of options available in the market. In this case, the best thing you can do is to compare the motor insurance policies available and choose the best one suitable for your specific requirements. When comparing policies, do not always go for the cheapest one in the market. Make sure that the benefits offered by a motor insurance policy is adequate for your requirements. Here is a list of thing you must compare before taking a motor insurance policy.
All the information required for buy insurance can be easily accessed online. Use the service of third-party insurance aggregators like Bankbazaar to check for different products available in the market. Once you have all the information required, you can make an informed decision about the product you are willing to buy.
Most people opt for convenience along with affordability. With the advent of internet, purchasing a motor insurance policy is no longer a difficult process.
Online purchase and renewal has become the most popular option in the recent days. Most vehicle users in our country have access to the Internet. Even if you are not tech savvy, you can contact the company’s helpline to guide you in the online purchase process. While offline method is still used, it has its own set of limitations. One major downside with it is that you cannot compare policies of other service providers. Also, offline purchase can be a little more expensive than online motor insurance purchase.
There are plenty of advantages when it comes to buying motor insurance online. In addition to the obvious advantage of convenience, online purchase of insurance products has the following benefits.
Cost effective - Online purchase of motor insurance eliminates the need for any brokers or intermediary agents. Insurance companies can also save on commissions when their customers purchase policies online. Most importantly, the entire process is paperless and does not involve any additional service costs. These cost benefits are mostly transferred to customers who can enjoy these benefits through premium discounts.
Automated service - Since the online purchase of motor insurance is completely automated, it is possible to access these policies at a great service benefit. The entire process takes just a few minutes to complete. Moreover, you don’t have to depend on anyone to make the purchase or renewal.
Electronically managed - When you buy a policy online, everything is managed electronically without any need for traditional documentation methods. Scanned copies of ID proof, address proof, and other KYC documents can be uploaded online in a few easy steps. All purchase information about a policy will also be delivered in the customer’s email. Customers can visit the insurer’s website and access the policy information anytime they want. This provides customers with complete control over their purchased motor insurance policy.
Ability to choose - Sometimes, the problem with using intermediaries is that you might end up purchasing a product that you don’t need. Online purchase of motor insurance policies gives you the freedom to choose any product without getting influenced by other people. You can do your own research and filter out the policies that do not match your requirements. Through this way, you can make an informed decision on your own.
Access to customer support - With the customer support provided by most insurance companies, even people who are not tech savvy can access the company’s website and purchase their desired product. Customer support does not influence a buyer on what products to purchase. Rather, it merely guides on how to make the purchase.
Motor insurance claims are typically filed after various events such as third-party liability, own damage claim, theft claim, etc. The process involved in filing a claim can be given as follows.
A third-party liability claim arises when a third party’s vehicle gets damaged during an accident. If your vehicle is involved in an accident, it is necessary to report it immediately to the police. The insurer must also be notified soon after the accident. Following a successful claim, the insurer will compensate the third-party for the damages incurred.
If your vehicle gets damaged in an accident, you can get the insurance details from the vehicle owner and file for a third-party claim. If you manage to establish negligence on the part of the inflictor, the insurance company of the vehicle owner will compensate for the damages sustained.
In addition to vehicle damages, third-party liability insurance also provides compensation for personal injuries and death of the third party. If you have a comprehensive insurance policy, your insurer may engage in subrogation with the third party’s insurer to get reimbursed for the losses caused.
It goes without saying that own-vehicle damages are covered only by a comprehensive insurance policy. If you only have third-party liability insurance, you cannot claim compensation for the damages incurred to your own vehicle. The process for filing a claim with an insurer for own vehicle damage is pretty straightforward. It goes as follows.
During accidents, the surveyor must know the damages caused to the vehicle before it is repaired. Hence, it is important not to move the vehicle from the damage location without the insurance company’s approval. If you have cashless service facility, you can take your vehicle to a garage that comes under the insurer’s network and get it serviced there.
Following the theft of a vehicle, the police must be informed immediately and an FIR must be obtained. The insurance company must also be notified immediately after the theft of the vehicle. The following list of documents must be submitted to the insurer in order to make a successful claim against the theft of a vehicle.
Once these documents are submitted, the insurer will start processing the claim. The validity of the claim will be verified by the company. As a rule, the keys of the vehicle must be surrendered to the insurer while filing the claim.
It is mandatory to have the basic motor insurance cover in India. However, it is not a good idea to take insurance just for the sake of legal obligation. There are tremendous benefits that can be obtained from this policy against various threats to your vehicle. Some of the key benefits of motor insurance can be given as follows.
It protects your vehicle from damages.
Vehicular damages can come in many forms. It may occur due to accidents, floods, riots, fire, bad weather, etc. A comprehensive cover will help you get reimbursement against these damages incurred to your vehicle. In addition to this, you also have the option of taking add-on covers to maximize your protection.
It eliminates third-party liability.
If you are at fault during an accident, you are liable to compensate for the damages caused to a third party. Third-party insurance is mandatory in India. Getting caught in an accident without a proper third-party cover will land you in all kinds of legal troubles. In addition to paying for the damages from your pocket, you may also have to face charges for not having insurance.
It compensates dependents when accidents result in death.
Motor insurance does not stop at compensating for the damages incurred to a vehicle. A comprehensive cover also provides compensation to the dependents in case of fatal accidents. In addition to life and health insurance benefits, this compensation will come in handy for a grieving family.
It covers vehicles against theft.
When you lose your vehicle to theft, it will cause a huge financial strain. The compensation amount offered against the theft of a vehicle can be used to replace the vehicle. In order to get this compensation, the vehicle owner must produce an FIR copy along with a list of other documents as mentioned in the policy schedule. Compensation for theft will be provided only when the police could not located the vehicle within a reasonable time.
Most motor insurance policies come with a list of general exclusions for which the insurer is not liable to provide any compensation for the insured vehicle owner.
If a claim is rejected by an insurance company under any of these exclusions, the insured vehicle owner has the right to take up the issue in court. If no case is filed in the court within 12 months of rejection, the claim cannot be recovered by the insured person.
Most insurance service providers offer various add-on covers along with their regular motor insurance plans. These add-on covers can be subscribed by paying a little extra amount in addition to the premium amount set for the comprehensive insurance plan.
Zero-depreciation cover: This is one of the most commonly bought add-on cover. While a comprehensive plan provides compensation only up to the insured declared value (IDV), a zero-depreciation add-on cover will help you claim the full cost of damages. The depreciation element is removed when you take this rider cover along with your regular policy.
Engine protect cover: With this cover, it is possible to protect a vehicle from all kinds of mechanical and electrical breakdown. Even non-accidental engine failures can be covered under this rider policy. This policy is generally offered for vehicles that are less than three years old. Considering the fact that the cost of engine repairs are significantly high, this is a useful cover to have for new vehicles.
Return to invoice (RTI) cover: In case of unexpected theft or total loss of a vehicle, an RTI cover can help you get compensation to the tune of the original invoice value (including registration charges and road tax) of the vehicle, not its IDV. If the same vehicle is available in the market for a lower price, the new price is taken into consideration. This cover is also provided for vehicles that are less than three years old.
No claim bonus (NCB) protect cover: With every claim-free year, no claim bonus is accrued in the name of the policyholder. Most companies allow NCB accrual up to a maximum of 50%. NCB protect cover helps protect the NCB value even after a claim is made by the policyholder. This cover is typically limited to one claim per year. This cover is also not available for vehicles that are older than three years.
Roadside assistance: This add-on cover helps a policyholder get access to various services like towing after a breakdown, flat tyre change, mechanic services, refueling, etc. while on the road.
Accident cover for passengers: In a comprehensive cover, accident liability is limited to the driver alone. However, with this rider cover, it is possible to get accident coverage even for the passengers. Against death or personal injuries, this add-on cover offers maximum sum insured up to Rs.1 lakh per person.
Daily allowance: With this add-on cover, policyholders can get daily cash allowance to hire an alternate vehicle if their vehicle gets stolen or under repair. Most insurers offer this allowance for maximum of 10 to 15 days. The allowance amount varies from Rs.500 to Rs.1,000.
Consumables cover: This add-on policy provides coverage against a range of consumable elements such as nuts, bolts, washers, engine oil, bearings, screen washers, etc. following an accident. This coverage is also limited to vehicles that are less than three years old.
Key replacement cover: As the name implies, this coverage provides compensation for the replacement of misplaced or stolen car keys. The cost of replacing the lock of the vehicle is also provided by the insurer.
These are some of the common add-on covers that are sold along with motor insurance policies. Some insurers may also offer a few other covers in addition to the ones listed here. With the right mix of add-on covers, you can maximize the protection offered to your vehicle.
Any claim made under the insurance cover offered for a vehicle is referred to as motor insurance claim. Claim can be made for both damages sustained to a vehicle and personal injuries. A comprehensive motor insurance cover provides coverage even against the death of the vehicle owner during an accident.
People can avail motor insurance from the age of 16. Age is one of the factors taken into consideration when determining the premium charges for a policy. For young drivers between the ages of 16 and 25, insurance companies charge a little higher on premiums.
When it comes to motor insurance, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Based on your unique requirements, you must choose the ideal policy best suited for your vehicle. The number of insurance policies available in the market can be a little overwhelming. However, you can narrow down the policies based on its premium charges, features, benefits, etc. Also, check the position of the company in the market. A company’s claim settlement ratio and incurred claim ratio are some of the best indicators to assess its financial stability.
According to Section 146 of Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, it is compulsory for all motor vehicles in India to have have third-party liability coverage. This is to ensure that vehicles that are not at fault during an accident are protected from the damages incurred during an accident.
For instance, if you hit another car or a bike during an accident, you are liable to pay for the damages caused. If you don’t have the money, there is an uncertainty on how the third party will get paid for the damages. To avoid this uncertainty, third-party liability coverage has been made compulsory in India.
Insurance protection against damages caused to own vehicle or personal injuries is optional.
Almost all major motor insurance service providers have extensive information about their policies in their company websites. You can also use the services of neutral third-party aggregators like Bankbazaar to compare policies.
When comparing policies, do not settle for the cheapest plan available in the market. Check the features and benefits provided under a policy before coming to a decision. Make sure that the insurance cover satisfies the specific requirements for which you are insuring your vehicle. Also, compare the financial solidarity of the service providers offering the cover. A glance at a company’s total premiums earned, claim settlement ratio, incurred claim ratio, etc. will help you determine its position in the insurance market
Fleet motor insurance is a product designed specifically for corporate customers. When companies operate more than 15 vehicles for their business purposes, the entire fleet can be protected with a single motor insurance policy. This cover helps companies take care of various legal obligations and lower the risks associated with running a fleet of vehicles.
No claim bonus (NCB) refers to the premium discount provided by the insurer when no claim was made in a particular policy period. For instance, if you have not made any claim during the first year of your motor insurance policy, your insurance company may provide you a 10% discount on premiums for the next year.
Many insurance service providers allow accrual of NCB year after year subject to maximum of 50%. Once a claim is made by the policyholder, NCB is reset by the company.
The key thing to know about no claim bonus (NCB) is that it applies to the policyholder, not the vehicle. When you buy a new vehicle, you can transfer the accumulated NCB of your old vehicle policy to the new one. To do this, you need to cancel your old insurance policy first. Your insurance company will provide you with the NCB retention letter. You can submit this letter to your new insurer and transfer the benefits.
The accrued no claim bonus (NCB) can also be transferred between insurance companies. When you transfer your policy to another insurer, you can enjoy the full benefits of your accrued NCB without facing any issues.
For third-party liability insurance, premium charges are set forth by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). For a comprehensive motor insurance policy, premium charges are determined by various factors such as vehicle type, engine capacity, seating capacity, other registration details, location of the vehicle, age of the driver, previous insurance history of the driver, etc.
In addition to these, other factors such as deductible opted, discounts or loadings, no claim bonus, etc. are also taken into consideration while calculating premium charges.
For property damages, third-party liability insurance offers a maximum coverage of Rs.7.5 lakh. The compensation for property damages are provided based on the insured declared value of the vehicle or the current market value of the vehicle.
For physical injuries to third parties, there is no limit on the coverage amount offered.
You are within your legal rights to make a claim for any damages to your vehicle no matter how small it is. However, it is not a good idea to file a claim for every minor damages. The main reason is that you will lose out on your no claim bonus when you file for a claim. No claim bonus is reset when you file a claim with your insurer. In the end, you could lose more money on premiums than what you gained from the insurance claim. You must weigh the benefits before you think of filing for a claim. Make sure that you file a claim only when the damages and expenses are substantial.
Voluntary deductible refers to amount of money you are willing to pay from your hand for every claim. Most insurers provide flexible options when it comes to deductibles offered on an insurance policy. Based on the deductible opted, you can get discounts on your premium charges.
For instance, by opting for a voluntary deductible of Rs.2,500, you can enjoy premium discounts up to 20%. If an accident results in damages worth Rs.5,000 to your vehicle, you have to pay Rs.2,500 from your hand. Only the remaining amount can be claimed from the insurer.
While making a motor insurance claim, you have to submit a list of documents to the insurance company. These documents typically include the following:
For cashless facility, the repair invoice for the vehicle must be submitted along with the FIR copy.
Policy period for motor insurance is typically one year. In the recent years, some insurance companies have introduced long term insurance covers with policy period up to 3 years for two wheelers.
There is no grace period for renewing motor insurance policies. All renewals must be made within the date of expiry. If a policy is not renewed within the date of expiry, it gets lapsed. Once a policy gets lapsed, the vehicle must be inspected again to get the insurance cover back. If a policy is not renewed within 90 days after the date of expiry, the accrued no claim bonus will be lost.