Yes! Purchasing insurance can be a confusing and worrisome experience. There are many insurance companies, so many varied product offerings, different permutations and combinations to choose from. No wonder, then, that one tends to rely on the words of the insurance agent, or the insurance representative situated at the car dealer’s office while deciding which car insurance policy is best suited to your requirements. However, this is the most systematic way forward, as insurance agents have the necessary expertise to answer all your queries and suggest options. Hence, to ensure that you purchase the best insurance package possible, it is important that you ask the right questions.
Here are some tips about car insurance that are important to know, and will assist you to make an informed purchase decision.
Third Party vs Comprehensive Coverage: Insurance policies are basically divided into these two types. Third party coverage means that you are protected from damage that your car may do to somebody else’s vehicle, an accident where injury or death happens to the driver or passengers of the other car, or even injury or death of a passing pedestrian. This is a mandatory coverage as per law. However, you, your car, or its passengers are not protected. For this, comprehensive coverage is necessary. Over and above protection from accidental damage, it will also protect you and your car from unforeseen situations like fire, lightning, floods or earthquakes. The premiums are higher for Comprehensive Coverage, but the benefits are bigger too.
Zero depreciation policy: This is a comparatively new concept in the Indian insurance market. In a normal car insurance policy, the insurer calculates coverage based on the depreciated value of the car. So, as your car ages, the insurance coverage amount also reduces. In the case of a zero-depreciation policy, the premium is calculated on the assumption that there is zero depreciation. The premium for this policy is a little higher, but you are reassured that depreciation/age of the car will not be considered while calculating claim reimbursement, and you will receive full coverage. This type of policy is especially useful if you own a very expensive car, where the cost of spare parts is significantly high and, often, dependent on import exchange value.
Voluntary Deductibles: This a useful feature that allows you to reduce your annual premium. In this option, you agree to share the cost of repairs, thereby reducing the claim amount and, thus, the premium.
Bundled Insurance: This feature is not usually talked about by insurance providers. If you have many cars in your household, you can choose to combine the insurance and premium for all of them in one ‘bundle’, and get discounted premiums for all your cars from the insurance company.
Cashless Option: This option is very similar to the cashless option in your health insurance policy, where you can get treatment at hospitals without paying cash. In this case, you can immediately start repair work without having to worry about arranging emergency cash. It is worthwhile to ask the insurance companies whether they have this option, as it could be a boon at certain times.
A Network of Garages: While selecting an insurance provider, it is imperative to know where their own and partner garages are situated. Ideally, they should be within or very near your radius of movement, else, precious time and energy can be lost reaching distant garage locations. Ease of access to repair facilities will definitely enhance your customer satisfaction levels and justify your choice of insurer.
24 x 7 Customer Support: After purchasing an insurance policy, the focus shifts to the insurer’s customer support services, as an insurance package is only as good as the people who administer it. Unforeseen events can happen at any time, so it is important that customer support is also available round the clock. In order to be sure that you have chosen the best car insurance policy, understand well the insurer’s support network, locations of offices, timings and helpline numbers. etc. Also, review their management systems for ease and speed of response, and track record for claim processing and claim reimbursement.
It is worthwhile to decide on insurance provider only after asking detailed questions and making comparison charts. This way, you will make a judicious choice and purchase the best insurance package.