As per the Motor Vehicles Act, it is mandatory to have a minimum of third-party insurance in India. Thus, it is illegal to drive a car without a valid car insurance policy. It is a punishable offence and can lead to problems both legal and financial.
Typically car insurance policies offer coverage for a one-year period but it is also possible to opt for a multi-year policy as well.
The insurance policy recompenses for claims arising during this coverage period only. When the policy term is over, one can no longer file a claim unless the policy is renewed.
If the car insurance policy is not renewed before the due date for insurance renewal then it lapses. This effectively means that you will have to bear any damage or accidental repair expenses until you get the policy renewed. It is possible that the car insurance may have lapsed due to any reason; you may not have renewed before its expiration date or you forgot the date.
In case you renew the policy within time then you can avail the ‘no claim bonus’ and other benefits. But if you fail to renew the car insurance policy before the expiry date, then you will have to start afresh and it is like buying a new car insurance policy.
It is extremely important that once your policy has expired, you do not further delay the renewal process. In such cases, buying motor insurance policy online is the best and quickest option.
Worry not. We have a step-wise nippy renewal guide to help you in case your car insurance policy has expired for any reason.
1. As soon as you realise that your car insurance policy has expired, get in touch with your car insurance agent/ provider.
2. Do not drive your car. If you drive without an insurance coverage, you are at a higher risk. Not only is it illegal but in case of an accident, you may have to pay for the damages to the third party as well as for repairing any damage to your car (without insurance coverage).
3. At the time of renewal you are allowed to choose another car insurance provider for enhanced covered or renew the existing one as per your requirements.
4. You can also opt for additional features and benefits in you car insurance policy at the time of renewal.
5. If your policy has expired, the insurer will fix an appointment to get your vehicle surveyed/ inspected again.
6. The representative will check for existing damages before determining your eligibility for car insurance. It is recommended you book an early appointment to avoid further delay. In case the surveyor finds significant damage during the inspection, being eligible for insurance coverage may be difficult. The surveyor may set a pre-determined deductible that may be charged or deducted when you make a claim in the future.
7. After the car inspection/ survey is completed, you can buy a new car insurance policy. Please note that you need to purchase the new car insurance policy as soon as the inspection is done since the inspection is not valid for a longer duration.
8. Some insurance companies offer the convenience of self-inspection. This means one can instantly renew the policy without waiting for the surveyor to physically check the car. You can log in through the company’s website and opt for the self-inspection option. You are asked to upload the pictures and videos of the car through the portal. On approval, the insurer sends a confirmation to proceed with the payment to renew the policy online.
9. Several insurance companies offer an option to renew expired policies online. This is an excellent option because the entire procedure may be completed within a few hours. In case you want to buy a new policy from a different company, you may compare the various options available and make an informed choice.
Documents you will require to renew your expired car insurance policy:
1. Vehicle Registration Certificate (RC)
2. A copy of the expired car insurance policy
3. RTO address associated with the insured car
4. Car details including car model number, age of car, date of first registration, location of first registration, insurer name, etc.
There are a lot of disadvantages of an expired car insurance policy:
• Legal violation- As mentioned above it is legally mandatory to have a valid car insurance policy for all the vehicles plying on the roads. In case you don’t renew your car insurance policy by the due date, then your car insurance cover also becomes invalid. One might have to face legal consequences if caught driving the car with an expired car insurance policy.
• Loss of coverage – When the policy lapses, in case of an accident or a third party liability, you would have to bear all expenses since policy coverage benefits stop when the policy is not renewed. The insurer will not pay for any losses / damages.
• You lose your ‘no claim bonus’ – ‘No claim bonus’ (ranging from 5% to 50% depending on insurance provider) is the discount offered by the insurer to the policy-holder for all the claim-free years. You can avail it at the time of car insurance renewal and it is transferable while switching the insurer. To avail this ‘no claim bonus’, it is important that the car insurance policy for car is renewed on time and it is only valid on a comprehensive car insurance policy. The ‘no claim bonus’ increases with the number of claim-free years. If your car insurance policy has lapsed more than three months ago, then you will lose your ‘no claim bonus’.
• Higher Car Insurance Premium- When you renew your expired car insurance policy, you will have to pay a higher premium. You lose the ‘no claim bonus’ and you also lose other possible discounts that may apply at the time of renewal, hence you end up shelling more money for premium for an expired car insurance policy.
Thus timely renewal of a car insurance policy can save from a lot of hassles and legal/ financial setbacks in future.