Team AckoSep 17, 2021
Buying Comprehensive Car Insurance in India is a wise decision. It not only ensures that you follow the law but also results in financial cushioning concerning expenses incurred towards car repairs. Buying car insurance has evolved over the years and has become customer-friendly. You can insure a car under 180 seconds via the insurer’s website or their app. However, you must keep certain things in mind while insuring your car. This article is all about these points. Read ahead to know 20 things to consider when buying car insurance in India.
Wondering what to look for when buying/renewing car insurance? Here’s a detailed list of twenty points to assist you in your decision-making process.
It is okay if you are not an expert when it comes to risk assessment. However, you can still gauge basic risks, right? For example, you should reflect upon questions like is your locality flood-prone, have there been instances of car theft lately in the neighbourhood, and is your regular travel route accident-free? Switch on your introspection mode for a few minutes and you will get an idea as to how to proceed with buying a proper car insurance cover.
Even if you are not that brand conscious, you must have given some thought about the car’s brand while purchasing the four-wheeler. Similarly, spend some time thinking about the insurer’s brand as well. If you like what the brand promises, shake hands (virtually!), and embark on a new partnership by insuring your car with the company.
You can either buy insurance just to tick the mandatory insurance box or buy it with the intent to save money in case of mishaps and meet legal requirements. The second option is better in most cases. When you buy a wide-ranging cover in the form of a Comprehensive Plan, you not only adhere to the law but also ensure insurance coverage for the inclusions mentioned in the policy. Plus, add-ons can help to further expand the coverage.
You should be practical while buying add-on covers. They can be understood as small covers that can be tagged along with a Comprehensive Plan. Each add-on has its own price, which can differ from one insurer to another. Thus, do not go on a shopping spree when it comes to add-ons. Select only those that are important to you. Otherwise, your insurance bill might give you a shock.
The mandatory part of a car insurance policy is known as the Third-party Car Insurance Cover. As per this cover, the insurer will help you out if your car injures/damages third-party person/property.
Modern-day insurers are dedicated towards simplifying insurance. Thanks to responsive websites, friendly apps, and helpful executives, policy seekers and policyholders are less intimidated when it comes to buying or renewing car insurance online. However, you must try to read the fine print by going through it before buying a policy or raising a claim. After all, insurance is a contract and the terms of a contract are always important.
In insurance, the word ‘cashless’ means you do not have to pay money upfront when it comes to settling claims. For example, consider the repair bill for your damaged car that came to INR 10,000. The insurer, after calculating everything, offers a settlement of INR 8,000. Here, the insurer will pay INR 8000 to the garage while you will have to pay the balance INR 2000. The insurer can make the payment directly to the garage because they have a tie-up and the garage is known to enable Cashless Claim Settlement. Thus, an insurer with a wide network of garages can offer the cashless facility efficiently.
The IDV of a vehicle or the Insured Declared Value of a vehicle is roughly like the car’s current value in the market. For example, if the car was purchased a year ago for INR 7 lakhs, its IDV after two years would be 5 lakhs because of natural wear and tear. It’s not the resale value. Digital insurers allow you to select the to-be insured car’s IDV from a given range. If you choose a lower IDV, you have to pay a comparatively lower premium to insure the car as compared to paying more premium to insure a car with a higher IDV. This relation can be understood as: more the value of an asset, higher the premium payable to insure it.
The golden rule of online shopping is to compare car insurance before buying. The same applies while insuring your car online as well. However, you need to make sure that you are comparing right. This means you have to ensure that you are comparing policies that offer the same or similar coverage. If you want to check out premium rates across three insurers, ensure that you do so keeping the cover as a constant. For example, finalise the coverage as a Comprehensive Plan + Zero Depreciation Add-on, and then compare. Also, consider the insurer’s online reviews and overall service quotient.
If you tell the insurance company that you are willing to share the risk of insuring the vehicle, the insurer might consider reducing the premium. This is exactly what the Voluntary Deductible does. You volunteer to pay a certain percentage/amount of the claim and in return, the insurer reduces the premium as the insurer’s risk liability is also reduced.
Also, read: Car insurance for new car
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India periodically publishes the Claim Settlement Ratio of insurance companies on its website. This is the ratio of the number of claims raised and the number of claims settled. It can be a good guideline to gauge the insurer’s ability to settle claims. However, it should not be the sole guideline as the number of settled claims can be impacted by fraudulent claims and lack of documentation. Online reviews, testimonials, and peer feedback about the brand must also be taken into consideration.
Anti-theft devices such as alarms, locks, trackers, etc. add a layer of protection on the car and can be helpful on two fronts. One, to reduce the chances of car theft. Two, to reduce the insurance premium. Installing an anti-theft device reduces the theft risk and therefore results in a reduction of the insurance premium. But be sure to install an anti-theft device that is certified by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).
Most car dealers have a tie-up with an insurance company. Make sure to have a word with your car dealer about the extent of coverage offered by the policy. If you want, ask for changes. You can also opt to insure your car with another insurer and not go with the option provided by the car dealer.
People usually associate the term ‘portability’ with mobile network providers. In that context, portability means seamlessly switching between network providers. The same concept is applicable when it comes to car insurance providers as well. You have the option to switch to a different insurer if you do not like the services or find a better plan. Thus, while buying the policy, remember that you are not making a lifelong commitment. You can part ways with the insurer easily while renewing the plan.
Who doesn’t like discounts? Pay less, get more, superb! However, discounts do not apply to Third-party Plans. Discounts in the form of anti-theft, deductibles, offers, etc. are only available on Comprehensive Plan. This is because the rates for third-party policies are standardised. They are decided by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India. Whereas the premium for a Comprehensive Policy is decided by the company offering the plan.
Even if you are an old-school person, buying insurance online is more beneficial. It scores over the traditional offline method when it comes to pricing, convenience, and services. Online insurance companies do not have as much infrastructure, physical office space, and number of employees as compared to traditional players. This reduces their operational cost to a great extent. That is one of the prominent reasons why they can offer policies at a lower rate without cutting down on the coverage.
Low-priced policies are not enough. The insurer should also be known for stress-free claims. What is the point of buying a policy at an affordable rate but not being able to raise a claim in a timely manner due to a tedious claim process? Online insurers have an edge here as well. For example, ACKO offers superior claim services where your car is picked, repaired, and delivered home in three days (conditions apply).
Overall, the services offered by the insurer must be customer-friendly. The brand must put the customer’s needs first in every aspect. Be it customer support while buying the plan, answering queries post-purchase, or ensuring transparent claim settlement, the insurer’s service quotient should be high. This is an intangible component and thus difficult to measure. However, you can gauge this by checking the brand’s social media profiles and speaking with peers.
If you are a generous spender, consider keeping a tight budget when it comes to car insurance expenses. A limited budget will help you to pick only essential add-ons rather than buying all kinds of coverages.
If you have made modifications to your car then you must state them to your insurer. The insurer might want to inspect your car in this case. If the insurer is not informed about modifications prior to the claim application, the insurer might reject the claim if it is pertaining to the modified parts.
Also, read: Vehicle Scrappage Policy in India
Now that you are aware of things to consider when buying car insurance in India, make an informed decision and purchase a best-suited plan. Do not fall for mere gimmicks. Know the policy in and out. Call customer support if needed.
This concluding section is all about answering common queries. If you still have doubts after going through the following frequently asked questions and answers, feel free to call the insurer’s customer support team. But do not blindly buy if you have concerns. Buy once your concerns are taken care of.
Is it possible to buy a Third-party Plan online or do insurers only offer Comprehensive Plans on their website because I see a lot of advertisements for that?
Digital car insurance companies usually offer both Third-party and Comprehensive Plans online.
Do I need to courier my identity-related documents to the digital insurer’s office for buying the policy online?
Digital insurance companies do not require physical documentation. Mostly, you are not required to upload documents as well. You can insure your car on www.acko.com with Zero paperwork in minutes.
Will online insurers want to inspect my new car before quoting the premium?
Car inspection is not required for new cars while purchasing the policy online. If you renew your policy before it expires, the insurer might not inspect it then as well. The inspection usually happens when several days have passed after the policy’s expiry and the policyholder applies for car insurance policy renewal.
Can I choose a different car insurance provider while renewing the plan?
Yes, a policy is applicable till it expires. You can switch to a different plan or choose a different insurer altogether while renewing the policy.
Do I have to mandatorily buy the insurance cover offered by the car dealer or do I have a say in terms of the policy coverage?
You have the option to change the policy’s coverage and choose the insurer as well. It is not mandatory to insure your car from the car dealer.
Do I need to approach the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to file a car insurance claim?
No, the RTO is not involved in the claim settlement process directly. You need to approach your insurance company to raise a claim and not the RTO.
Is there a difference between motor insurance, vehicle insurance, and auto insurance?
These three terms usually mean the same thing. They are used interchangeably. All three terms usually mean insurance for vehicles.
Can I buy only add-on covers?
No, add-on covers cannot be purchased as standalone policies. The add-ons can only be bought along with a Comprehensive Plan.
Is renewing car insurance 10-days before expiry allowed?
Yes, you can renew the car insurance policy 10 days prior to policy expiry. Make it a point to renew the policy before it expires to ensure continuous coverage.
Can I raise a claim via the insurer’s website or do I have to visit the office?
Most digital insurers offer the feature to raise a claim online and there is no need to visit an office. You can confirm the same with your insurer.
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