First-time car buyer? Here’s a guide to help you choose a suitable vehicle insurance

For first-time car buyers, there are many compelling reasons to invest in a vehicle. From the sheer convenience of personal transport that fits your schedule, to the independence it gives you by freeing you from the constraints of public transport, a car offers the freedom to travel effortlessly, whether for work or college. A car opens the door to a more active lifestyle, allowing you to explore new places and activities. Additionally, in emergency situations, having a car can be vital, ensuring that you have a reliable means of transportation when unexpected situations arise.

Amidst the excitement of being a first-time car owner, it’s vital to remember one critical aspect: car insurance. In the event of any change to the car, the necessary financial protection is available through appropriate car insurance. This article will explore some key issues that you should keep in mind before purchasing car insurance.

Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision and save money on your premium.

⦁ Understand the types of car insurance coverage

Automobile manufacturers, often called OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), are keeping up with changing trends and lifestyles by introducing incredible innovative technologies. At the same time car insurance has changed from being a one-size-fits-all product. It is no longer just a necessary expense; it is a reflection of your unique style and preferences. Before deciding on your insurance policy, it is essential to understand that there are different types of coverage available, each with their own benefits and costs.

It’s now simpler than ever to customize your insurance to align with your preferences and preferences. You can do this through Add-on Covers, which protect your vehicle’s cutting-edge features, ensuring that your high-tech add-ons are fully protected.

The most common types of car insurance cover are:

⦁ Third party liability: This covers the damage or injury you cause to other people or their property in an accident. This is mandatory by law in India.

⦁ Personal accident: This covers compensation for the death or disability of the driver or owner of the car in an accident. This is also mandatory by law in India.

⦁ Comprehensive: This covers the damage to your car caused by natural or man-made causes, such as fire, flood, earthquake, vandalism, riot, etc. including any third party liability.

Add-on Covers:

a. IEA Insurance: Protects your car loan against unforeseen events such as accidents or disability.

b. Pay As You Drive: Cover adapts to your driving habits, saving you money by only paying for what you need.

c. Engine Protect: Shield against high repair costs from engine damage.

d. Consumables Cover: Covers essential consumables for effortless maintenance.

e. Key Protection: Covers the cost of replacing lost or stolen keys.

f. Return on Invoice (RTI) Cover: This ensures that you get the original invoice price in the event of theft or total loss.

g. Zero depreciation: It guarantees the full value of the car without deducting depreciation in claims.

h. Roadside Assistance: Provides emergency services for breakdowns or accidents.

⦁ Compare quotes and read the policy document

When it comes to buying your first car insurance policy, it’s like shopping for the perfect suit. Just like you wouldn’t settle for the first item of clothing you see, don’t rush to choose the initial insurance quote. Ask for quotes from multiple insurance companies, much like trying on different outfits to find the one that suits your style. Remember that the cheapest option may be attractive, but it is essential to ensure that you get comprehensive coverage that is tailored to your specific needs. Think of it as adding the right accessories to complete your outfit; consider the various add-on options available to customize your cover for that perfect fit. Before making your final decision, read the policy document carefully. Think of it as an instruction manual for your suit, explaining what is included, what is not included (the exclusions), and the costs you may incur in the event of a claim (the deductibles). Confirm that your personal and car information is accurate.

If you have any questions or concerns about the policy, consider the insurer or consultant as your dedicated advisor, who is there to help you choose the right policy, much like a consultant helps you make an informed choice. Finally, learn how to renew your policy before it expires to maintain uninterrupted protection on the road.

⦁ Keep your policy handy and know how to file a claim

After you buy a car insurance policy, you should keep a copy of it handy in your car or on your phone. You should also know how to file a claim in the event of an accident or damage to your car.

You should follow these steps to file a claim:

⦁ Notify your insurer as soon as possible after the incident.

⦁ Register your claim online or offline by providing incident details and your policy number.

⦁ Take photographs of the damage and collect evidence such as FIR, witness statements, etc.

⦁ Have your car repaired at an authorized network garage according to the insurer’s instructions.

⦁ Submit the necessary documents and bills to the insurer for verification and approval.

⦁ Get claim amount or refund as per policy terms.

Buying your first car is an exciting venture, but it needs to be approached with the responsibility it deserves. Choosing the right car insurance is a significant step in ensuring your safety, financial security and peace of mind as a first-time car owner. By following these tips, you can buy the right car insurance policy for your first car.

The author, Rakesh Jain, is CEO, Reliance General Insurance.

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Updated: 13 November 2023, 02:06 PM IST

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