How to choose the right motor insurance policy and add-ons for your vehicle
Anyone who has had any exposure to driving on Indian roads would agree that accidents are far easier to get into than out of. The data reverberates this fact. As per a recent World Bank report, India sees an alarming number of around 4.5 lakh road crashes each year. Not just this, the report also states that India tops the list when it comes to road accident deaths, even though we contribute to only 1% of the total vehicles in the world. These numbers sure paint a dismal picture, but they are also a caution light for you to brace up your road journey with a robust motor insurance policy and select add-ons that best meet your needs.
Given the glaring need for motor insurance in the country, the government had also mandated a valid third party liability insurance for all vehicles being used in both personal and commercial capacity in 2019. Road accidents are a harrowing experience for anyone and everyone involved. Third-party insurance, which is compulsory by law, covers the damages caused by your vehicle to any third party. But a comprehensive insurance policy guarantees a risk cover for your own vehicle from any unprecedented financial loss arising due to accidents. Besides, accidents are not the only threat a comprehensive insurance policy covers. It also casts a safety net against hazards like theft or natural calamities.
With COVID-19 restrictions easing out, vehicles are once again back on roads as usual. This might be the best time for you to re-evaluate your vehicle insurance needs.
Here’s how you can safeguard yourself and your vehicle with the right motor insurance cover and select the best add-ons for your needs:
Assess your needs: Third-Party Cover vs Own Damage Cover
Since third party insurance (TPI) is a mandate by law, it is a must for all vehicles. However, you can choose between opting only for TPI and a Comprehensive insurance policy that covers damage to your own vehicle as well. If you have an older vehicle or you do not take to the road quite often, a third party cover may be a good enough option for you. This is because you might end up paying more premium in an extensive policy while you might not need it. For small damages, paying out of your own pocket could be a cheaper option than an extensive policy.
On the other hand, if your vehicle is new or being regularly driven, you should definitely opt for comprehensive coverage. This will not only ensure protection from accidental damages but also risks like flood, fire, theft etc.
Important Add-ons for your motor insurance
Talking of comprehensive coverage, there are some useful add-ons among many others that make your policy truly comprehensive. They come at an extra premium, depending on terms and conditions but prove valuable in case you need them. Check with your insurer for these add-ons before you buy motor insurance. Some of the popular add-ons are –
# Zero Depreciation Cover – The value of very vehicle undergoes depreciation as the it gets older. The insurance policy usually does not cover the depreciation cost of your vehicle. So, at the time of settlement, the claim amount is calculated after deducting the depreciation cost. But, adding a Zero Depreciation cover to your policy helps take into account the depreciation costs as well and get you a higher claim amount at the time of settlement. This add-on usually covers cars that are up to 5 years old or bikes that are up to 2 years old. Some insurers offer Zero Depreciation up to 7 years as well.
# Return to Invoice Cover – Speaking of depreciation, a vehicle is considered depreciated as soon as it is sold out of the showroom. So, in case of a total loss, the policyholder will be eligible to receive the market value of the vehicle, which will be lower than the amount at which it was purchased. Adding this cover to your policy helps you claim the original invoice price of the vehicle in case of a total loss.
# Roadside Assistance Cover – This cover comes in handy when your vehicle breaks down in the middle of the road and you need immediate assistance. Adding road assistance cover to your policy makes sure that the help you need is just a call away. The insurer will arrange for a mechanic who will help you on the spot in case needed.
# Engine Protection Cover – The engine is the heart of your vehicle and it suffers non-accidental damages while keeping your vehicle up and running. Unfortunately, these damages are not covered by insurance. This add-on helps insure your vehicle against risks like an oil spill, water ingression or mechanical breakdown, etc.
# No Claim Bonus Cover – This cover helps keep your no claims bonus intact. No claim bonus in your policy rewards you for making no claims during the policy year. It is essentially a discount on the insurance premium on renewal if there are no claims during a policy year. However, as soon as you make even a minor claim, your NCB lapses and you have to pay the premium in full. The NCB add-on feature protects your bonus in case you make a claim during the policy year.
Select your IDV
IDV or Insured Declared Value is the total value for which your vehicle is insured. Contrary to the popular belief, the IDV does not represent the market value of your vehicle. It simply represents the total amount which will be paid out in case of a total loss. It’s important that you select an IDV that suits your needs.
Check The Claim Settlement Ratio
Before you zero in on a plan, always check out the claim settlement ratio. This ratio refers to the number of claims settled by the insurer against the total number of claims received in a year. Typically, a CSR of 90% or above is considered to be the ideal ratio. Also, you need to make sure that the process of settling the claims should be quick and hassle-free.
You can also customize your vehicle insurance as per your needs. Pick the plan and add-ons that best fit your requirements for protecting yourself and your vehicle.