Coronavirus: Renewing Car Insurance During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has been ruthlessly ravaging India. The number of new coronavirus cases is increasing every day with an all-time high number of fatalities. To control the situation, state governments have imposed complete lockdown, weekend lockdown or night curfew allowing people to step out from their homes only for essential services.

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      This does ring a bell and takes us back to a year ago when coronavirus had entered India and months of lockdown was imposed. Digitization had taken precedence during the time as everything from groceries to medicines was being purchased online. Work from home became the new normal and even doctor’s consultations were being taken online. But along with these things, what also returned is the confusion amongst the people regarding the renewal of their car insurance policy.

      Coronavirus and Car Insurance 

      Just like the lockdown in 2020, a lot of people are considering avoiding renewing their car insurance policy. The biggest reason for the same is that the imposed lockdown and curfews have reduced the daily usage of cars to a large extent. To begin with, you can take your car out only if you require an essential item or service. You do not need to go to the office, which kills another reason to take your car out. Lastly, the lockdown and the curfew prevent you from taking your car out to meet your friends & families, eat at a restaurant, go to the malls or cinema halls, etc. 

      The usage of cars has definitely shrunk in the current situation, but it does not make car insurance any less important. Car insurance is necessary for all four wheelers irrespective of whether they are being used daily or once a year. Besides, you may still have to take your car out to buy essential items or to visit the hospital in case of a medical emergency. When you do, you may get caught for driving an uninsured car and may land yourself in some serious trouble.

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      Why Should You Renew Car Insurance Despite Coronavirus Lockdown? 

      Take a look at some of the reasons why you should renew car insurance despite the ongoing lockdown and night curfews: 

      1. Third Party Liability Cover is Still Mandatory

      The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 mandates every car to have at least a third-party liability car insurance. Whether your car is used rarely or every day, it needs to be insured with third party coverage. That is the motor law of the country. If you are caught driving your car without a third-party car insurance policy, you may attract a fine. When caught for the first time, a fine of Rs 2,000 and/or up to three months of jail term will be imposed. If caught driving an uninsured car for the second time, you will have to shell out Rs 4,000 as a fine and/ or spend a jail term of up to three months.

      2. Third Party Liabilities Can Lead to Major Financial Losses

      Car accidents can happen any time without a warning. Some accidents can lead to injuries to a third-party person or cause damages or losses to his/her property/ vehicle. Since you are responsible for the injuries or damages caused to the third party, it is your legal liability to pay for their medical expenses or losses. These third-party liabilities can result in major financial losses depending on the extent of the damages caused. Third party insurance covers such liabilities on your behalf and prevents you from experiencing a major financial setback.

      3. Unused Cars Can Also Get Damaged or Stolen

      The current lockdown or curfew may have forced your car to stand in your parking, driveway or on the road for days. But it doesn’t protect your vehicle from any unforeseen loss or damages. Your car can still get damaged in a sudden fire or a natural calamity. Moreover, no lockdown gives a break to thieves, who can still attempt to steal your car. With car insurance, you will not have to bear the losses arising out of such situations as your car insurance company will pay for it.

      4. Increased Renewal Premium

      Considering the low usage of your car during the current lockdown, you may decide to not renew your car insurance policy. But doing so will result in you paying a higher premium when you go for renewal of your policy. This will happen because your policy will lapse if you do not renew your car insurance before the expiry date. You will lose your No Claim Bonus after 90 days from your policy expiry date and thus, lose any savings on renewal premium. Besides, a break in your policy will project you as a careless driver and the insurance company will charge a higher renewal premium to you.

      Buying Car Insurance Online During COVID-19 Pandemic

      Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic paved its way into our lives, digitization of the insurance industry has gained more prevalence. Although car insurance was available online even in pre-COVID times, more people started purchasing them online since the pandemic started. Buying car insurance online was no longer a choice but the need of the hour. Insurance companies also started offering contactless issuance of car insurance policies and claim services.

      In case you are still hesitant, here are some of the benefits of buying/ renewing car insurance online during the current lockdown situation: 

      Compare Multiple Plans 

      Buying or renewing car insurance online allows you to compare multiple insurance plans from various insurers. Several insurance broker websites allow you to compare multiple plans based on their coverage and benefits in one place. You can easily choose the best plan for your needs and purchase it online. That is not possible offline. You will either have to depend on the word of an insurance agent or visit every insurer’s office physically, which is not only difficult but can also expose you to the threat of coronavirus. Hence, you may end up settling for one of the first few car insurance plans you may come across and miss out on the best plan.

      Minimal or Zero Paperwork 

      Car insurance involves minimal to zero paperwork when purchased or renewed online. You just need to provide a few details of your car and specify your preferred coverage in the form online to buy or renew your policy. On the contrary, the offline mode requires you to fill multiple forms and provide a hard copy of documents related to your car. This puts you at the risk of touching papers that may be handled by a person infected with the coronavirus.

      Multiple Payment Options

      When buying or renewing car insurance online, you get multiple options to pay the premium. You can use your debit card or credit card to make the payment. You can also use net banking to make the payment through a safe gateway. This prevents the headache of arranging the cash, handling it and coming in contact with a COVID-19 positive person while transacting.

      Faster & More Convenient Process

      The process of buying or renewing car insurance online is faster and more convenient than the offline mode. You can buy or renew your policy from any place at any point in time. You do not have to visit the office of the insurance agent or the insurer’s branch during office hours as in the case of the offline mode. This prevents you from stepping out of your home and exposing yourself to coronavirus. Besides, you will receive the policy document within a few hours of buying the policy online, which may otherwise take a few days if the policy is purchased offline.

      Online Settlement of Claim

      In the present COVID era, you can raise your car insurance claim online without physically reaching out to someone to help you out. The online claim support service is offered round the clock by most insurers. It is not only more convenient but also keeps you safe from COVID-19. Even the insurance companies now settle the claims online. Your car will be inspected virtually, and the claim amount will be transferred to your bank account.

      Contactless Pick-up/ Drop Service

      Motor insurance companies are also arranging contactless pick-up and drop service from the network garage for the damaged vehicle in the current pandemic situation. A representative from your network garage will pick up your damaged car from your home and drop it back after repair. You will not have to step out of your house to take your damaged car to the garage, thereby, braving the risk of contracting coronavirus.

      In a Nutshell

      The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the life that we knew until 2019. Lockdowns, masks, social distancing and PPE kits have become the norm whether we like it or not. But ignoring the needs of your car and not getting your car insurance policy renewed due to reduced usage is simply irresponsible. You must ensure to renew your car insurance policy on time, lockdown or no lockdown. The wisest way to do so is to renew your policy online while keeping yourself safe from coronavirus.

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