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After a dream home, a dream car is your second-largest purchase that you make in your lifetime. But the expense does not cease when you drive off the car dealer's lot.
Owning and maintaining a vehicle makes up the second-largest expense in the Indian household. Reports indicate the upkeep costs roughly between Rs. 10,000 Rs. 40,000 for every 40,000 Km.
India is a big country spanning over 3.29 million square kilometres and is a land of diverse environments and landscapes. India has seven metropolitan areas, 300 plus cities and many thousands of villages spread all over the country.
Given the diversity, people live and commute all over the country for personal tasks, daily work or travel for leisure. India’s ministry of statistics observed over one crore vehicles registered, both commercial and personal every year and while the infrastructure is improving in a steady manner, the vehicular traffic is also increasing and which leads to plenty of risks and liability to the daily traveller.
Below are the essential tips to save money and benefit from using your vehicles.
Credit Score and Car Insurance
Your credit scoring is inversely proportional to the car insurance premium. The higher the credit score, the higher the insurance score. Meaning, your chance of qualifying for lower auto insurance premiums with wider cover is greater.
Subsequently, if you have a low credit score, you end up paying a higher motor insurance premium, and may lose greater insurance cover. In most cases, car owners pay about 80% more than policy holders with good credit score for the same cover.
When you approach a vehicle agency, they may tell a lot of benefits about having extended warranties. Be wary of the benefits and the extent to which the warranty covers.
Simply relying on the salesperson will not suffice, warranties may not cover significant costs, and that is where a good insurance coverage will protect your financial interests.
Your Car’s Health
Your car is part of your home, for some transportation and some an asset. Keeping your car in good health will reduce repair costs in the long run.
A properly maintained vehicle helps reduce last moment damages and further related costs. One may feel the brunt of doing the servicing and related aspects for tuning up.
But tuning up expenses will definitely be lesser than costs involved in repairs and changing of parts of the vehicle. Keep a check on the different fluids like engine oil, coolants, fluids for clutch and brakes, power steering and batteries.
Oil and Tire
Oil plays a major part in lubrication and keeps the engine healthy and increases efficiency. Oil helps reduce friction-related wearing of the parts. It tends to turn blackish with use. Oil filters help to keep it clean.
Keep a regular check on the oil filter and get it cleaned or replaced when it wears out. Change the oil when necessary to keep the engine health.
Tires also need to be maintained. Cleaning the tires help to remove gravel, stones, and pebbles from them, so your ride is smooth. Tire air pressure also helps to increase fuel efficiency. Tires under optimal pressure increase ground friction and chances of losing vehicle balance. But well-maintained tires reduce operating costs.
Wheel Balancing and Alignment
One less thing to worry about is your vehicle suspensions and the costs involved in them. This can be when proper wheel balancing and alignment is done at least once a year.
This helps to keep the tire life, wearing of parts low and saves you money.
Planning Car Insurance
Monetary insurance and safety of the traveller, co-travellers and other people are made compulsory for personal and commercial vehicles to ensure safety and security while travelling.
Plan Coverage On Older Vehicles
Understand the your 10-year-old car has depreciated 10 times the initial premium, therefore the cost of maintaining it would be more than the car’s worth. Save up to 40% by modifying your current car insurance policy by dropping collision coverage and just keeping the third-party liability cover.
How does Insurance Work in India?
Insurance for vehicles in India is provided in both closed loop and open loop formats.
Closed Loop Format Insurance
In Closed loop formats, car insurance companies tie up with the vehicle manufacturers. When you buy a vehicle, you are provided instant quotes and prices for the respective vehicle insurance at the auto sales office itself.
Open Loop Format Insurance
In Open loop formats, an auto vehicle owner can buy a new auto insurance policy from any insurance provider after presenting required documents.
Open loop formats provide competition amongst insurance providers and thus gives a higher possibility of having better rates for a similar kind of insurance facility.
Whichever way you buy, the insurance company provides security for the owner of the vehicle, the passengers in the vehicle and the other affected person in case of exigency. Insurance can also be claimed in the event of theft and as a third-party (being affected by a vehicle concern).
Different Types of Motor Vehicle Insurance
The different types of motor vehicle insurance in India are:
- Private car insurance: Car insurance is made compulsory for all vehicles in India. One cannot drive a car if they do not have an insurance and if found guilty, will be penalised.
- Two-wheeler insurance: Two-wheeler insurance is similar to car insurance and provides insurance to the owner of the two-wheeler, the pillion rider and third party as well. The need of two-wheeler insurance was introduced because of dangerous road conditions in India and the increasingly worrying traffic conditions.
- Commercial vehicle insurance: Commercial car insurance provides cover for vehicles used for logistics and business purpose. While the insurance here is more stringent in nature, the same provides safety against loss of vehicle, commercial vehicle damage, goods theft and related damages.
These types of insurances are provided in two sub types. These are:
Third-party cover: Third-party insurance is an insurance which provides insurance benefits when a person is affected by an accident caused by you. This covers the damage caused to their car, related accessories and also coverage to injuries caused to people on the vehicle. Third-party cover does not provide any insurance to you and neither to any damage or injuries caused to you or your co-riders.
Comprehensive insurance plan: Comprehensive plan provides insurance benefits to you as a vehicle owner, the co-riders in the vehicle and also to third party and to cover health costs incurred to the riders in affected vehicle.
Roadside assistance: Certain insurance providers also include additional services like breakdown support, coverage of misplaced key costs, minor damages, towing expense. This comes at an additional cost and applies to select vehicles.
General Inclusions in Motor Insurance
When one has a motor insurance, they can claim the same for the following possibilities:
- Damage and thereby loss due to fire, lightning, natural calamities, theft and burglary, man-made calamities like a riot, war, explosions, damage when starting the vehicle.
- Insurance can be claimed when the third party gets injured or dies due to an accident caused by the owner of the car. The same can also be claimed if a hired driver of a vehicle causes a calamity.
- If a higher premium is paid, then in situations of loss or damage to electrical and electronic accessories, insurance can be claimed.
General Exclusions in Insurance
Insurance cannot be claimed for the following conditions:
- Loss of vehicle due to negligence
- Depreciation of vehicle value
- Mechanical and electrical breakdown, failure, breakage
- Damage to vehicle in accidents if proven to be drunken driving
- Certain policies would give insurance cover for specific geographical area only
As can be seen from above, comprehensive insurance plans are costlier than third-party cover, and thus the third-party cover insurance is more preferred by vehicle owners.
We will try to understand further the salient features of third-party insurance for private and commercial vehicles in India.
Information about Third Party Insurance Cover for Private Vehicles
This kind of motor insurance does not provide insurance benefit for yourself or your vehicle. The benefit can be given to only the person/people and vehicle being affected by you while using your vehicle. This informs that if you are not driving your vehicle and if an accident is caused, then the insurance provider may not provide the insurance benefits.
Third-party insurance provides insurance when:
- There is death or injuries to the person being affected
- There is damage to the vehicle and related property of third party
- If the vehicle owner or the driver of the insured vehicle dies
- If the vehicle owner or the driver of the insured vehicle suffers from permanent and total disability
Information about Third Party Insurance Cover for Commercial Vehicles
Vehicle owners having commercial vehicles generally prefer the comprehensive insurance plan. This is because the costs involved in damage to owner's vehicle are substantial. But third-party cover insurances are also present and provided for commercial vehicles.
As has been mentioned above for private vehicles, third-party covers for the commercial vehicle do not provide insurance for vehicle owner or owner's commercial vehicle.
Injury, death and vehicle damage for the third party gets covered in this policy.
Third party insurance provides insurance when:
- Death or bodily injuries to the affected person
- Damage to third-party vehicle
- Death of the vehicle owner or the driver of the insured vehicle
- Permanent and total disability to the vehicle owner or the driver of the insured vehicle
How to Save Money by Vehicle Pooling?
Vehicle pooling has been quite popular with cars and now has been popular with two-wheelers as well. When you pool a vehicle, you can share fuel costs. Instead of running two vehicles for the same distance, the cost of sharing the price of fuel for one vehicle helps save money. Also, you reduce the risk of having accidents with your car down by nearly 50%. You are also able to reduce the wear and tear and maintenance costs of your vehicle. Moreover, you can build on social contacts and share a nice talk with your co-rider. Thus instead of driving along all alone, it is a good time to have a chat along!
Avoiding Wasteful Habits
The last years have seen a steep increase in prices of fuels. Get into a practice of mindful driving. Avoid accelerating your vehicle unnecessarily. Just give acceleration that is enough for your vehicle to run smoothly. Be aware of how traffic moves ahead. Hybrid vehicles and vehicles which use braking energy to accelerate your vehicle are more efficient than those using only fossil fuels.
Revving up your engine unnecessarily should be avoided. Apart from producing noise pollution, you are simply wasting fuel and also increasing tear of the engine parts.
Is idling Necessary?
Until a few years back, idling was required to warm up the engine. It used to increase the fuel efficiency and reduce smoke emission. Modern-day vehicles do not need that much of idling. Instead of leaving your vehicle idle for minutes, a few seconds of idling is enough. Reducing idling time also reduces fuel consumption.
Maintain the Servicing Schedule
It is always good to have your vehicle undergo the battery of tests and requisite servicing. This helps to understand any underlying concerns and resolve it in the earlier stage itself. Also doing the servicing at a proper centre is absolutely necessary. Try not to get your vehicle services at people who say “Give me a chance.”
This article attempts to give a comprehensive list of care for your car and also how insurance plays a vital role for good care of your car. While having a car eliminates many dependencies on a dicey and hyper-crowded public transport, it brings along its own share of costs on a regular basis. Following tips for efficient working of your car will reduce inadvertent costs and expenditure on unnecessary repairs.
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