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5 Types of Car Insurance Coverage Explained

If you are buying the car insurance policy for the first time, it will be an overwhelming experience. There are many insurance companies offering ‘n’ number of products for customers. You should choose the best policy to cover your vehicle-specific, driving conditions-specific, driver-specific and third-party-specific needs in a very efficient manner. As the insurance coverage increases, the premium will also increase. Hence, you should include the required features and forego the unwanted features by customizing the plan.

5 Types of Insurance Coverage

The following 5 types of car insurance coverage should be studied to choose the best coverage for your car:

Liability Coverage 

When you are involved in the accident and when it is concluded that that accident took place before of your fault/negligence, the liability coverage will come to your rescue.

The following benefits are offered by the liability insurance plan:

  • Covers the repair/replacement cost of the damaged property (of third-party)
  • Covers the medical bills of the third party due to hospitalization or medical treatment
  • Vehicle owners should buy minimum liability insurance as per the legal obligation and the insurance policy will cover the same
  • You should choose liability insurance premium higher than the mandatory requirement as per the law as the maximum risk coverage will be done by the policy and you can reduce your out of pocket expenses
  • If you opt for higher ‘sum assured’, you will not want to pay a large amount when the policy’s limit has exhausted
  • The liability coverage will include the third-party injury, death or damage to the third party property.
  • Liability coverage is mandatory as per the motor vehicle Act 1988.

Collision Coverage

  • If you had subscribed for the ‘collision coverage’ in the insurance plan, the insurance company will bear your car repair expenses after the accident.
  • In some cases, the cost of repairs will exceed the current market value of the vehicle. In such circumstances, the insurance company will pay the current market value of the car.
  • The collision cover should be subscribed as per the age of your vehicle. If you are buying an insurance company for a brand new vehicle, you should ensure that the collision coverage is included.
  • If there is a lien on your vehicle, you should buy collision cover.
  • The collision cover can be as low as possible for old vehicles.

Personal Injury Coverage

  • In addition to the mandatory liability insurance, you can include certain coverage to overcome various risk factors.
  • Personal injury protection will cover all the costs associated with the accident.
  • The medical bills of the driver and other passengers will be covered by the personal injury protection.
  • Regardless of whose fault, the insurance company will pay the medical bills.
  • Hence, you can buy personal injury coverage for the vehicle owner, driver and passengers so that you can make the most of your investment.

Uninsured Motorist Protection

  • If your vehicle is hit by another vehicle which is not covered by any insurance policy, you will want to bear the repair or replacement of the vehicle from your pocket.
  • In some cases, the third-party’s insurance coverage is not sufficient enough to meet your needs.
  • You can include the additional rider such as uninsured or underinsured protection so that you can minimize your exposure.
  • The insurance company will pay the additional or total amount so that you will overcome the damage or medical bills very easily.

Comprehensive Coverage 

A comprehensive insurance coverage will include all kinds of risk factors that are associated with your vehicle, driver, passengers, third-party vehicle, third-party driver, third-party vehicle passengers and third-party property.

The insurance policy will also cover the following risk factors:

  • Weather damage
  • Floods
  • Fire
  • Theft

The comprehensive policy will cover various aspects which are outside the purview of the collision of the vehicle.

The comprehensive insurance policy can be bought as per your budget.

By installing anti-theft devices and other security-enhancement gadgets, you can decrease the insurance premium quoted by the insurance carrier.

3 Types of Car Insurance Policies

In India, three types of car insurance policies are offered by all the general insurance companies. The insurance companies will design various kinds of products as per the needs of customers. New products are discovered and existing products are enhanced as per the guidelines of the IRDAI.

Customers should choose mandatory insurance policy or comprehensive policy or a policy which stands in between these two as per their budget and risk perception.

Features of Third Party Car Insurance Policy

  • Affordable - You can buy the cheapest policy in the market by covering the third-party liability only
  • Covers Bodily Injury and Death - The insurance policy will cover the bodily injuries and death of the third party
  • Covers the Property Damage - The damage of vehicle or property of the third party will be covered by the insurance policy
  • Fulfills Legal Obligation - The insurance plan will fulfill the legal obligation in the best possible way
  • Suitable for Old Vehicles - If you are buying an insurance policy for an old vehicle whose market value is less than the repair/replacement cost, you will be benefited by the third party liability plan.
  • Will not Cover Own Vehicle Damage - The drawback of the policy is that it will not cover the own vehicle damage. The bodily injuries or death of the driver or passengers will not be covered by the plan unless additional riders are subscribed by the policyholder.

Features of Comprehensive Insurance Policy

  • Comes with a wide range of coverage options
  • It includes the accidental damages to the third-party
  • Covers vehicle collision and other risk factors
  • Damage due to manmade and natural disasters are covered by the policy
  • This is the highest form of insurance plan that you can buy from a car insurance company
  • Protection against damage from accidents even though you are at fault
  • You can subscribe to additional riders to enhance the insurance cover
  • Complete protection for the vehicle including theft

Add-on Insurance Cover for the Vehicle

The following add-ons can be included as per your needs to get optimum protection for your car:

  • Roadside Assistance - If your vehicle stops in the middle of the road, the insurance company will come to your rescue. You will get assistance so that the vehicle can be moved to the nearest service station very easily.
  • Engine Replacement - The damage of the engine due to various reasons will be replaced when you subscribe to the ‘engine replacement’ coverage
  • Nil Depreciation Cover - Nil depreciation cover or zero depreciation cover will help you get maximum compensation for your car. The vehicle will be insured to the invoice price so that there will be no loss.

Should You Upgrade to a Comprehensive Insurance Plan?

If your current car insurance policy covers to the extent of ‘third party’ damage, there is every reason to consider the upgrade. By choosing the comprehensive cover, you will get the highest level of compensation from the insurance company.

  • Replacement of the windshield - If the windshield is damaged due to the accident, the replacement will be done with the compensation paid by the insurance company.
  • Damage to the car due to the entry of flood waters into the engine and other parts of the vehicle
  • Damage to the car and accessories due to fire
  • Damage due to natural disasters such as a windstorm or earthquake
  • Damage to the vehicle by hitting an animal
  • Damage due to strike, vandalism, riots
  • Damage to the third-party

Are There Exclusions with the Comprehensive Cover?

Comprehensive auto insurance will offer maximum coverage. However, there are certain exclusions. You should be aware of these exclusions so that there will not be unpleasant surprises while claiming the policy.

  • Normal wear and tear of the vehicle
  • Aging of the vehicle
  • Breakdown of electrical or mechanical parts
  • Damage to tires and tubes of the vehicle
  • Damage to the vehicle driven by an unlicensed driver
  • Damage to the vehicle driven by a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Damage due to war or nuclear attack

If the damage of the tires and tubes take place at the time of the accident, there will be compensation of up to 50% of the cost of tires and tubes

What are the Benefits of a Comprehensive Car Insurance Coverage?

  • If you would like to protect yourself and your car, there is no better option than a comprehensive insurance plan.
  • For a brand new vehicle, you will want to go for a comprehensive insurance cover. Most of the insurance companies offer bumper-to-bumper cover so that the vehicle will be restored to its original invoice price when it is damaged by the accident or another event.
  • Sports and luxurious vehicles should be covered by a comprehensive insurance policy. The cost of repair or replacement of a luxury car is very high. Even though the insurance premium is also in proportion to the cost of the car (and cost of spare parts and service charges), it is a worthwhile option to purchase a comprehensive car insurance plan.
  • Roadside Assistance - If you are going on a long drive, you will get great benefit by the ‘roadside assistance’ subscribed under the vehicle insurance policy. Especially, when your vehicle is not covered by the AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract), you can consider the inclusion of the risk with the insurance policy.
  • You can buy an insurance policy for the highest IDV (Insured Declared Value). IDV is crucial in settling your insurance claims. If your vehicle is completely damaged, the maximum liability of the insurance company will be up to the IDV mentioned in the insurance policy. Hence, you should consider a higher IDV even though the insurance premium is high.

How to Shop for Car Insurance Plan?

  • Before shopping for a car insurance plan, you should understand your vehicle insurance requirements.
  • If you are buying a used car, you should weigh the car in three important aspects. The value of the car, the insurance premium and the extent of coverage should decide the type of cover.
  • If your vehicle is not in good condition, you can go for a minimum coverage i.e., third-party or liability coverage. You can also buy personal injury coverage so that the driver of your vehicle and the passengers will be covered by the policy.
  • Instead of paying a higher premium for an old car, you can repair the car at a cheaper price.
  • You should understand the difference between the third-party insurance and the comprehensive insurance policy and the best policy can be chosen as per your needs.
  • In addition to the third-party coverage, you can include additional riders such as zero depreciation cover, engine replacement cover, and other risk factors that are relevant for your conditions.

Cost of Repair/Replacement

  • The cost of repair or replacement of the vehicle is very high. Hence, you should assess the risk potential with the help of an expert. The insurance policy that can meet your requirements should be purchased from a reputed insurance company.
  • The insurance company should offer the best support to fulfill your needs.
  • Cashless garage facility will help you repair or restore your vehicle in an effortless manner.
  • You should be aware of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy and the claims process so that there will not be any issues.

Conclusion

Car owners should be wise enough to choose the best car insurance coverage options to minimize the risk and to maximize the benefits. While the mandatory liability insurance is the cheapest option, it will not cover the policyholder’s interests. Hence, the selection of insurance policy should be done as per the make and model of the car, frequency of usage, location and other factors. By comparing and analyzing various kinds of coverage, you can settle for the best car insurance policy.