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Is It Illegal to Drive An Uninsured Vehicle?

Team AckoMay 17, 2022

It might be your budget or due to sheer procrastination that prompts you to drive an uninsured vehicle. Nobody wants to leave their home planning to get involved in an accident. It happens and comes unannounced. Be it repairs or replacement of parts to your vehicle or the medical treatment cost or legal consequences of an unfortunate accident, paying from your pocket can dent your savings.

Is It Illegal to Drive An Uninsured Vehicle

The Indian Motor Vehicle Act mandates all vehicle owners to insure their car or bike with vehicle insurance. If you are caught driving without a valid insurance policy, you will be imposed with fines and/or imprisonment. To know why it is illegal to drive an uninsured vehicle, read on to find out more about fines, types of motor insurance policies, legal complications, and how to find the best vehicle insurance for uninsured vehicles.

Driving a Car Without Insurance:

It is illegal to drive a car or a bike without insurance in India. The Motor Vehicles Act, 2019 mandates the vehicle owner to insure their car or bike with an insurance policy. Driving a car without insurance will not only invite fines and/or imprisonment, but it will also dent your finances due to the costs involved in case of an unfortunate accident.

Driving Uninsured Vehicles is Illegal or Crime in India?

Through the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 2019, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified that it is illegal and a crime to drive an uninsured vehicle. Violation of this rule will attract fines and/or imprisonment up to 3 months.

Under Section 81 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 2019, the penalty and fine for driving without insurance are as below:

Driving Uninsured Vehicle:

First Offence Rs.2,000.
Second Offence Rs.4,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 3 months.

Third-Party Liability:

Through the Motor Vehicles Act, 2019, the Government of India has made it mandatory for all vehicles to be insured with Third-Party vehicle insurance policy. Third-Party or Liability insurance covers your legal liability arising to death/disability of third party loss or damages to their property.

All non-life insurance companies have an obligation to offer Third-Party insurance. However, Comprehensive insurance acts as an add-on to the Third-Party cover and protects the insured vehicle from financial losses arising out of damages or theft. To better understand Third-Party vehicle insurance, below are some important details:

  • First Party: The Insured Vehicle.

  • Second Party: The Insurance Company

  • Third-Party: The individual who raises a claim against damages caused by the first party.

The third-party vehicle insurance premium is fixed by the Insurance Regulatory Development and Authority of India (IRDAI). It covers damages to third party vehicles or their property or injuries caused to the third party in an accident. The policy does not cover the cost of damages to your vehicle or for injuries you suffer during an accident. Hence, these factors are compelling enough to insure your vehicle.

The penalties or the fines if you are caught driving an uninsured vehicle are steep and could invite imprisonment of up to 3 months, the legal complications arising out of an accident to a third party can be complicated and unnecessary. The financial loss due to the accidental death of the person driving an uninsured vehicle or a third party can be extremely complicated and a bad experience. Also, it can lead to suspension of your driving licence.

Loss of No Claim Bonus:

In case your motor insurance policy has lapsed beyond a certain time frame, you may lose out the No Claim Bonus (NCB). This will lead to higher premium while renewing the lapsed policy. The longer the time you renew the expired policy will further increase the premium. Some insurance providers might not offer Add-ons such as Nil or Zero Depreciation cover.

Damage to Self:

In case of an unfortunate accident, apart from the third party, your vehicle could sustain damages as well. While you have to bear the cost of damages to the third party or their property, you will have to pay for damages to your vehicle and treatment cost of any injuries. Insuring your vehicle with the Comprehensive vehicle insurance ensures coverage for both third-party and own damages.

Tips to Avoid Getting Fined for Driving a Vehicle Without Insurance:

Here are some tips to avoid getting fined for driving an uninsured car or bike:

  • Renew the vehicle insurance ahead of its expiry date.

  • Ensure you buy vehicle insurance if you have purchased a used or a second-hand vehicle.

  • Store a hard copy of the vehicle documents such as the Registration Certificate (RC), Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate and your Driving Licence (DL).

  • Store the soft copy of your vehicle insurance, RC, DL and PUC certificate.

Also, read: Parked Car Accident

How to Find the Best Vehicle Insurance?

The online vehicle insurance has made the process of buying/renewing/raising claims hassle-free and easy. However, it’s imperative that you choose the best vehicle insurance in the market. Here some tips to choose the right insurance for your vehicle:

  • Type of Coverage: While the Third-Party insurance is cheaper compared to the Comprehensive insurance plan, the latter covers both Third-Party liabilities and Own Damage. Choose the right insurance as per your needs analysing the risks involved in not opting for the Own Damage Insurance cover.

  • Compare Different Insurance Plans: Compare vehicle insurance online to see what options are there for you to choose the best car or bike insurance policy.

  • Avail Discounts: Ensure you avail discounts or deals offered by insurers as this will reduce the insurance premium to a certain extent.

  • Choose the Right Insured Declared Value (IDV): A lower insurance premium does not necessarily mean higher coverage. The Insured Declared Value (IDV) is the total amount of compensation paid when you raise a claim during the policy period. This is also known as the market value of the vehicle.

  • Choose the Right Add-Ons: Add-ons act as an enhancement to your basic Comprehensive vehicle insurance policy. Riders or Add-ons such as NCB Protect will protect your No Claim Bonus (NCB) despite raising claims during the period.

  • Check the Claim Procedure: The process while registering or settling a claim should be a hassle-free experience. A good vehicle insurance provider will be able to settle your claims without much difficulty.

  • Check the Renewal Procedure: Ideally renewing vehicle insurance online is the fastest and efficient method of renewing the vehicle insurance policy. Ensure you choose an insurer who offers an easy renewal process.

  • Read the Policy Wordings: It’s important to read the terms and conditions to understand each and every detail of the contract between the insurance company and you or the policyholder. Find out what is covered and not covered in the policy to safeguard your interests.

FAQs About Uninsured Vehicles:

Here are some frequently asked questions about driving an uninsured vehicle:

What is the process if I’m caught driving an uninsured vehicle?

If you are caught by the traffic police, you will have to stop your vehicle and produce the vehicle RC, your DL and the PUC certificate. You will be issued a traffic challan for driving the uninsured vehicle. This can be paid offline by visiting the nearest police station or you can visit the traffic police website to pay the challan online.

How to renew lapsed vehicle insurance?

Renewing an expired vehicle insurance policy might require inspections and assessment by the insurance company. Call the insurance company or visit their website to initiate the process of renewal. Post the assessment, the insurance will be renewed accordingly.

What is the penalty for driving without car insurance in India?

As per the Motor Vehicles Act, 2019, if you are caught driving without car insurance for the first time, you will have to pay a fine of Rs.2,000, and the subsequent offence attracts a fine of Rs.4,000 and/or jail term of up to 3 months.

Is the fine for driving an uninsured vehicle the same for all types of vehicles?

Yes, the fine for driving without car insurance in India is the same across all types of vehicles.

What happens if you meet with an accident without insurance when you are at fault?

Third-Party vehicle insurance policy is mandatory as per the Indian law and failure to insure your vehicle will lead to penalty and/or imprisonment. Also, when it is your fault, you need to bear the cost of damages and injuries to the third party.

What happens if you meet with an accident without insurance when you are not at fault?

Whether you are at fault or not, you need to insure your vehicle with the Third-Party insurance as per the Indian law. Also, damages to your vehicle or injuries sustained by you or your passengers will have to be borne by you.


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