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What is car insurance?

Car insurance is a financial shield that provides coverage for you, your car, as well as the third party, against damages and injuries in case of any accidents.

As stated in the motor vehicles act of 1988, every car owner requires vehicle insurance in India before getting on the road. Otherwise, it may result in facing penalty charges and in some cases, imprisonment as well.

Besides the legal implications, a car insurance policy can also safeguard your financial interests in case of permanent, partial/total disability, or death of the owner/rider and third party.

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Benefits of insurance covers?

Comprehensive Insurance Policy

It covers damages to one's own car, third-party legal liability, theft, along with the personal accident coverage under natural and man-made disasters like fire, earthquake, tornado, damage caused by animals, falling objects, etc.

Third-Party Liability Cover

It covers damages and injuries caused by the insured vehicle, only to a third-party person or property. It is mandatory under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, to maintain at least third-party insurance coverage in India.

Own Damage Car Insurance

It provides coverage only for the damage sustained by the insured's four-wheeler in a road accident, natural/man-made calamity, fire, explosion, theft, or any other mishappening. A standalone own-damage car insurance plan aims at offering the insured, flexibility in terms of the insurance provider they want to choose.

Benefits of Car insurance

  • Damage or loss to the insured vehicle

    In case your vehicle is damaged due to an accident, fire, or self-ignition, you are covered.

  • Personal accident cover

    In case your vehicle is damaged due to an accident, fire, or self-ignition, you are covered.

  • Large network of Garages

    This feature makes car insurance more convenient to avail of repair services in case of any damage to your car.

  • Third-Party Liabilities

    If your car is involved in an accident that results in damage or loss to the property of any third parties, you are protected.

  • Legal Requirement

    As per the Indian Motors Vehicle Act, third-party insurance is mandatory on all vehicles. Along with that, buying comprehensive car insurance helps you to remain in compliance with regulations and set your mind free too.

  • Cover Against Theft and Vandalism

    Comprehensive car insurance provides you with cover against theft and vandalism. You can get your hard-earned money back if your car gets stolen.

  • Safety Against Natural Disasters

    If your car is damaged due to a flood, fire, or earthquake, your car insurance policy will come in handy to claim for the damages.

  • No claim bonus

    One of the major advantages of having car insurance is no claim bonus (NCB). It can be available as a discount on your premium, which can make car insurance purchases more affordable.

  • Quick hassle-free process

    The entire process of buying/renewing car insurance is simple, quick, and convenient.

Inclusions: What is Covered

Inclusions refer to the risks that are covered under the car insurance policy. Here are some popular inclusions in motor insurance:

  • Third-Party Bodily Injuries
  • Third-Party Death
  • Third-Party Property Damages
  • Natural Calamities
  • Manmade Disasters
  • Vehicle Theft
  • Personal Accident Cover
  • Fire
  • Accidents

Inclusions: What is Not Covered

Your car insurance policy covers you against financial losses that may occur during an accident or theft. However, there are certain events, which your policy may not cover:

  • Occurrence of loss or damage when the insurance policy has expired or is not active.
  • Regular wear and tear of the car and its parts
  • Usual depreciation of the car
  • If the person driving the car does not possess a valid driving license
  • Electrical or mechanical breakdown
  • If the person driving is found to be under the influence of liquor/alcohol/drugs
  • Loss or damage as a result of war /mutiny /nuclear risks
  • Damage to the engine due to oil leakage
  • If the car faces a mishap while being driven outside India
  • If the car is used for any other purpose other than its intended use such as speed testing, racing, etc.

Add-on Covers

Add-on covers are additional benefits added to your car policy that cover the car against unforeseen expenses. Add-ons, also known as riders, can be included in your insurance policy by paying an extra premium.

There are various types of add-ons offered by insurance companies listed as follows, but you should select the one according to your specific requirements.

  • Zero Depreciation Claim
  • No Claim Bonus Protection
  • Return to Invoice
  • Cost of consumables
  • Repair of Glass, Fiber, Plastic, and Rubber Parts
  • Roadside Assistance cover
  • Daily Allowance
  • Engine & Gearbox
  • Loss of Personal Belongings

How to Compare Car Insurance Policy Online

Comparing car insurance premium rates can help you understand which insurance plan is the best as per your budget, but it is not the only consideration. You should remember that a low-cost car insurance policy might not be the ideal one for you in terms of coverage. It’s best to do your due diligence, and compare all the features, coverage, and premium rates before making the decision. Here are some points that you should keep in mind while comparing car insurance policies online.

Compare Features

Firstly, you should select the type of policy that you need for your four-wheeler. Compare different car insurance plans online. As the comparison makes it easier to pick the best car insurance plan as per your budget and your needs.

Compare IDV

The IDV represents the maximum coverage liability that the insurer undertakes. In the case of theft or total loss of the four-wheeler, the maximum claim amount would be the IDV of the policy. When comparing, make sure you compare the IDV quotes offers from insurance providers to get the best sum insured for your insurance policy.

Policy terms

One common mistake that insurance buyers make is that they read about the policy benefits, but forget to read about the conditions that the policy does not offer. Hence, make sure to understand both inclusions as well as the exclusions, to make an informed decision.

Claim procedure

When you buy a motor insurance policy, you should ask your insurer about the claims process. Also, check the claim settlement ratio of the insurer. The claim settlement ratio of a company tells about the number of insurance policies that are settled by paying back the claims in a year.

Factors that Determine Car Insurance Premium Online

The following are key factors that determine the premium of a car insurance policy

  • Car Model and Variant
  • Year of Manufacture/ IDV (Insured Declared Value)
  • Fuel type (Petrol / Diesel / CNG / LPG)
  • CC (Cubic Capacity of Engine)
  • Registration Zone (Zone A- Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmadabad, Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad Zone B- Rest of India)
  • NCB (No Claim Bonus)
  • Additional Covers like Zero Depreciation, Key Loss, etc.

Claims Process

In the event of a loss, the following are key points on how to claim your car insurance:

  • Keep the copies of your insurance paperwork up to date and intact. They are critical documents that can get you your claim.
  • Assess and record the damage done to the car
  • File an FIR in case of an accident or theft. It is mandatory in a third-party liability claim to file an FIR
  • Intimate the insurance company at the earliest
  • Extend full cooperation to the insurer and the surveyor appointed for completion of the survey work and for proper assessment of the loss.
  • Provide a "proof of damage" form as well as records relating to your claim (such as medical bills, car repair bills, and a copy of the FIR).
  • Present accurate and validated information to the representative which is the right thing to do for claiming the insurance.

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Car Insurance FAQs

Car insurance is an insurance policy that protects the car owner from financial losses arising out of unfortunate events such as accidents, theft, or damage to the car. It is mandatory by law in India and serves as financial security for the owner and the vehicle.

According to the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 it is compulsory that every vehicle being driven on the road should be insured with liability only cover. This will ensure that any damage done by your vehicle to a third party will be covered in a claim.

Broadly there are two types of insurances policies that offer Car Insurance cover: Liability Only Policy (Statutory requirement)
  • Liability Only Policy (Statutory requirement)

  • Comprehensive Policy (Liability Only Policy + Damage to owner’s Vehicle usually called O.D Cover)

If you take a Liability Only Policy, then damage to your vehicle will not be covered. Hence, it is advisable to take a comprehensive policy that would give a wider cover, including cover for your vehicle. It includes various add-on covers, on payment of a minimal extra amount of premium.

The damages to your vehicle due to the following perils are usually covered under the Own Damage section of the Car Insurance policy:
  • Fire, Explosion, Self-Ignition, Lightning

  • Burglary/Housebreaking / Theft

  • Riot & Strike

  • Earthquake

  • Flood, Storm, Cyclone, Hurricane, tempest, inundation, hailstorm, frost

  • Accidental external means

  • Malicious Act

  • Terrorism acts

  • While in Transit by Rail/ Road, Inland waterways, Lift, Elevator, or Air

The following contingencies are usually excluded under the Car Insurance Policy:
  • Normal wear and tear

  • Not having a valid driving license during an accident

  • Driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor/ drugs

  • Accidents taking place beyond geographical limits

  • If the vehicle is being used for unlawful purposes

  • Electrical/ mechanical Breakdowns

The following factors help determine the premium:

Make model and year of manufacturing of vehicle

Place of registration

Cubic capacity of the vehicle

Individual ownership/company-owned

Seating capacity

Claim status and No Claim bonus

Add on covers

The premium may be lesser of one insurer but may have higher deductibles, lower coverage, and lower IDV, which will adversely impact the insured in the event of claim settlement.

It is the maximum amount to be paid by an insurer at the time of claim settlement. It is the sum insured and is fixed at the commencement of each policy period.

This offers complete coverage of the vehicle without factoring in depreciation. It means, that if your car gets damaged following a collision, you will receive the entire cost from the insurer without deduction of depreciation. It covers all-fiber, metal, and plastic parts. There are other add-on covers that can be clubbed together like engine cover, tire cover, return to invoice, RSA, personal belongings, etc.

It is a discount available in the renewal premium offered by insurance companies if a vehicle owner has not made a claim during the last term of the car insurance policy.

Covers the owner of the vehicle against any legal liability arising out of any property damage or bodily injury to third parties. The limit for third-party property damage cover is restricted up to a maximum of Rs.7.5 lakh, whereas there is no limit restriction on third-party bodily injuries.

It is the first amount to be borne by the insured for each and every claim reported. The insurance company has decided that you will pay at the time of a claim settlement. For sub-1500 cc vehicles, it is Rs 1500 and for vehicles above 1500CC it is Rs. 2000.

It covers engine damage due to water ingression or oil leakage.


Total loss means accidental damage to the vehicle where the insurance company’s share is more than 75% of the IDV.

While generally, it is three times, it could vary from company to company.

This covers the cost of replacement when a key is lost or stolen.

The car owner is paid a fixed daily allowance for a certain number of days if the car has been taken to the workshop.

Insurance companies offer a discount on the premium for installing anti-theft devices approved by the Automobile Research Institute of India (ARAI). These devices enhance security and reduce the chances of making a claim, hence adding the benefit of the discount.

Yes, but an inspection of the vehicle is required. However, No Claim Bonus (NCB) can be protected till the expiry of 90 days from the date of expiry.

  • Expiring policy
  • Information on claims if any during last year
  • RC copy

  • If there is a gap in renewal;
  • Switching from third party cover to a comprehensive cover;
  • There is a requirement to cover additional equipment or accessories fitted in the car, like anti-theft devices, CNG kit, etc. which are not in the expiring policy;
  • Opting for certain specified add on covers

Legally anyone driving a car must hold a valid driving license. In this scenario, it is the owner's responsibility to ensure that his vehicle is being driven by someone with a valid driving license and that the driver is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to the Supreme Court order, IRDA has mandated all general insurance companies to offer multi-year third-party insurance to all motor vehicles sold after 1st September 2018. Therefore, instead of single third-party liability plans, insurance companies will offer 3-year third-party liability plans for cars and 5-year third-party liability plans for two-wheelers.

You will have to inform the insurer about this, as the cost of the premium will differ based on the fuel type of your car.