Car Insurance Do's and Don’ts for College Drivers
“Speed thrills but kills”, “speed is a knife that cuts lives”, “hurry makes worry”, “three enemies of the road: liquor, speed, and overload” – are the warning signs that often welcome us on Indian roads. As students who are in a hurry to rush to their college on time or to get to our friend’s birthday party, we overlook these and hurtle to our destination. This negligence on roads has cost several lives and it is vital that we are responsible and vigilant on the roads, following all the rules prescribed by law!
What is third-party liability car insurance?
Popularly known as the ‘act only cover’, a third party motor insurance is mandatory as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It is liability insurance that provides the owner of the automobile protection against the claims of another party. Third-party insurance guarantees only a basic level of protection to the insured.
What is a comprehensive cover plan?
This insurance policy offers coverage for eventualities such as theft, damage caused by third parties, riot damage, arson or vandalism, natural disasters, etc., and combines the best features of first-party and third-party insurance covers.
The benefits of a comprehensive policy are –
- Covers both own damages and third-party liabilities.
- Also, the insured can claim a No Claim Bonus at the end of the term in case there have been no claims made against the policy.
- The insurance policy will also provide basic legal assistance (including basic investigation and verification) to the insured.
What are do's while buying a car insurance policy?
Compare online before buying
Ensure that you compare the terms and conditions of different policy documents – the key information that one must look out for includes the cost of the policy, the premium charged, term of the policy, benefits offered, deductibles, and add-ons.
Check for add-ons
Additional covers offer a great scope of customisation to the insurance policy and are really useful in ensuring that your car gets a 360-degree indemnity. Add-ons such as Zero depreciation cover, Engine Protect cover, Consumables add-on, Roadside Assistance Cover, etc are important if it is a new car, fresh out of the showroom. These add-ons can only be availed for comprehensive car insurance policies.
Only buy from a reliable insurance company
A background check regarding the insurance company is a must. Trusted brands will ensure that they create value for customers and offer timely services, causing little or no trouble to the insured. Make sure that you check the claim settlement ratio of the company to know the number of claims that they settle in a particular year- a higher ratio indicates that a higher number of claims have been accepted and processed by the insurer.
Make sure that the claims settlement process is easy
This is best learned by doing two things – checking the entire process theoretically, by looking into the policy documents, and practically, by asking policyholders of the same insurance and getting to know their experience during the claims settlement process. Collect as much relevant data as possible before opting in for a particular policy.
Mention all the details including NCB correctly
The NCB or No Claims Bonus is a benefit that the insured gets for having a claim-free year. Ensure that this is transferred in case you change the insurance policy by procuring an NCB certificate from your insurer. In case of renewal of the policy, then ensure that the NCB amount is correctly written in the requisite documents.
Check for available discounts
Different insurers offer different kinds of discounts in order to attract customers. For example, purchasing a multi-year long-term plan might entitle you to receive a discount, or purchasing digital car insurance might result in the insurance company giving you a discount. Make use of these to reduce the overall costs associated with your car insurance.
Renew car insurance before the policy expires
Technology might prove to be a real boon when it comes to this aspect of renewing one’s car insurance. Keep reminders and offer standard instructions to the bank to ensure that you do not default on making payments of premiums or renewing the car insurance policy.
What are the don’ts while buying car insurance?
Do not settle for a low-cost insurance
The cheapest insurance might give you some short-term satisfaction of having purchased a policy cover for your car but will not serve its purpose when you are in real need of it. The cheapest coverage might even fail to provide you the most basic of services there is. Always look out for the benefits and additional coverage offered by the insurance company before opting in for the policy and not simply the cost.
Do not file claims for small things
Filing a claim for small accidents must be avoided since there would be a loss of the NCB, a discount offered by the insurer at the end of the claim-free year. Most NCBs offered start at the rate of 20% for the first claim-free year and steadily rise to 50% maximum for every subsequent claim-free year thereafter. Therefore, in order to benefit from this, one may avoid making claims for every small dent or scratch caused to the car and instead choose to pay it out of one’s pocket.
Also, recurrent filing of insurance claims adversely impacts the claim history of the insured. This may result in an increase in the renewal premium rate.
Do not let the insurance lapse
Renewing your car insurance policy will keep you out of trouble and prevent you from losing out on the NCB. In the case of a lapsed policy, the insurance premium will be calculated all over again, which literally means a policy cover with a high premium.
Do not file false claims
Filing false claims might not just result in rejection but might lead to vitiating the policy itself. Therefore, it is always advisable not to file a false claim as insurance companies are very particular or serious about the claiming procedure.
No amount of caution is sufficient when it comes to guarding things that are of value to you. Therefore, the choice of a car insurance policy requires careful consideration of the terms and conditions of the policy. It is prudent to keep these above pointers in mind and invest sufficient time and energy in this process before you invest money into it.