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The Importance of Car Insurance on a Road Trip

By Vikas Chandra Das
21 July 2022, 11:46 AM

Weekend getaways, long drives, excellent food, wonderful friends, exciting activities – these words never fail to bring a smile across our faces. The thought of finally getting that break that we have all been yearning for is exciting. But before you decide to head towards your dream destination, it is vital that you spend a little time doing the not-so-interesting, yet indispensable planning associated with your car insurance. Here is some basic information that might be of some use to you!

What is Car Insurance?

Car insurance offers protection to the vehicle from financial losses that occur due to natural causes such as floods, storms, lightning, earthquakes, landslides, etc., and manmade causes such as accidents, collisions, accidental fire, theft, burglary, external damages, etc.

What are the Types of Car Insurance Policies?

Insurance companies offer a range of insurance policies that cover different kinds of risk. The main types of motor insurance policies offered in India are as follows –

First-party insurance cover

Also known as the ‘own damages cover’, first-party insurance offers protection to the life and property of the insured against an unforeseen incident. It is not mandatory. Having it, however, will allow the policyholder to ask for compensation for the damages caused to the automobile as well as salvage the medical and other expenses due to personal injury. However, claims made by the insured will be rejected if the unforeseen event occurred when the driver was voluntarily intoxicated or if the driver did not have a valid driver’s license while driving the vehicle.

Third-party insurance cover

This ‘act only cover’ is mandatory as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It offers the owner of the vehicle protection against the claims of another party. Needless to say, it only guarantees a basic level of protection to the insured. The eventualities covered under this policy are – partial disability, permanent or total disability, death, and property damage of the third party person. The amounts that will be covered are – medical expenses, loss of earnings, compensation for physical disfigurement, etc. The insurance policy will also offer basic legal assistance and costs associated with the insured against third-party. Policy covers are usually divided into two types namely, liability cover and property damage cover.

Comprehensive insurance

A comprehensive car insurance policy provides coverage for cases of theft, fire, damage caused by or to third parties, riot damage, arson or vandalism, natural disasters, etc., and combines the best features of first-party and third-party insurance covers.

Another way to classify insurance policy is – commercial and private car insurance policy.

Private car insurance – is an insurance policy that covers the private car of an insured from financial losses that are incurred as the result of theft, accident as well as natural calamities. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the insured is adequately compensated for all personal losses and injuries caused due to unforeseen events.

Commercial car insurance – is an insurance policy that covers passengers and hired drivers of the vehicle plying for commercial purposes and offers to protect the policyholder or the owner from liabilities – both financial and otherwise, that arise out of accidents, theft, etc.

The Importance of Car Insurance

Though most individuals get insurance due to the iron hand of law, there are several benefits that one may derive from opting in for the right insurance cover for your car. The advantages are as follows –

  • It ensures that huge, lump sum, out-of-pocket expenses for damages and losses to the car can be averted by investing small, timely sums in an insurance policy.
  • It offers protection to not only oneself but also third parties, passengers, and drivers depending on the insurance cover purchased.
  • The aftermath of an accident can be rather troublesome and might pose various legal and financial challenges. With the right insurance policy, significant time and energy can be saved.
  • In certain cases, it may even complement one’s health insurance cover by filling in the void for certain medical treatment expenses incurred in case of personal injury or injury to a third party.

The Importance of Car Insurance for a Road Trip

Having valid car insurance is especially important for a road trip as –

  • It is a guarantee that you are a legitimate driver that has permission to drive on the roads legally.
  • Assistance such as road assistance can be availed in case of emergencies.
  • Ensures that financial losses incurred are covered for and cashless claim settlement is made.
  • Provides legal assistance in case of an accident and protects one from legal hassles.
  • It may also be submitted to the traffic cop as proof when the car is stopped for random checks and inspections.

Deeksha and her friends randomly planned a road trip to Jaipur from Delhi. While on their way to the trip, her car was stopped by the cops for random checks and inspections. Thankfully, Deeksha had a valid car insurance policy, she didn't face any legal trouble. But after crossing the police check-post, her car stopped all of a sudden. It was a stranded place and Deeksha got paranoid. After a few minutes, she realized that her car insurance policy comes with roadside assistance. Hence, she called the customer care team of her insurance company, and just a few minutes later, the mechanics were there to help Deeksha. All this can be possible for Deeksha with a valid car insurance policy.

Important documents to Carry on the Trip

  • Driving license

This document is indispensable for it is proof that you are a legitimate, qualified driver and are aware of the traffic rules and regulations of the country. Multiple photocopies of the same must be carried at all times, all the more during a road trip.

  • Registration book or certificate

An RC, which contains technical details such as vehicle number, chassis details, etc. is the most important proof of ownership of the car. It is mandated by law that this be obtained upon purchase of a car and it must be carried at all times.

  • Insurance papers

Insurance papers especially third-party insurance policy papers are mandatory as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. It must be carried by the owner at all times, with photocopies if need be.

  • Pollution certificate (PUC)

This certificate is essential to prove that the vehicle is compliant with all the environmental norms of the country and poses no grave threat to the environment. If you do not have a valid PUC certificate, it can be easily obtained at any computerized facility such as a petrol bunk that is authorized to issue the certificate.

  • Any other identity proof, if need be.

Like the old adage ‘it is better to be safe than sorry’, it is wise to take all pre-emptive measures to ensure that the risks to your most prized possession is minimized to the greatest extent possible while you are going on your well-deserved vacation. Though this might seem to be a slightly long-drawn process, with all the research, multiple suggestions and offers from different channels, and legal complexities. But it is important that one invests some time and effort to reduce the financial burden and emotional strain that can be caused due to uncertain, unfortunate circumstances.

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