Non Life Insurance - Five ways to bring down your auto insurance cost

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" Maintaining your car is set to cost more from this month, courtesy Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda). The insurance regulator has hiked the third-party motor insurance premiums, in line with its decision last year to review the rates annually. Also, some insurers are planning to revise their Own Damage rates. Put these two pieces of news together and it is a fair guess that your overall premium will go up when you buy or renew your motor insurance. Depending on the engine capacity of your cars and twowheelers, the third-party premium increase will be in the range of 4-8%."  
Third-party insurance cover is mandatory and it comes with the comprehensive motor policy. It covers death or injury caused to a third person or damage to the persons property. The extent of hike in Own Damage premiums is yet to be ascertained. Dont lose hope yet, though. There are many ways to keep the total premium on the comprehensive motor policy under control, thanks to a more liberalised, or detariffed, regime for non-third-party components. Read on...


As per the prevailing laws, you have to buy a minimum cover of Rs 6,000 to compensate third-parties for any property damage. Sure, you have the option to buy a higher cover which may come handy if there is a huge payout, but remember that your premium will also rise with the cover. So if you are keen on keeping the premium low, opt only for the mandatory, limited liability requirement.


You are entitled to no-claim bonus (NCB) for every claim-free year. If you dont make any claim for a few years, the NCB can enhance your cover by as much as 50%. That is why it makes sense not to rush to make a claim for fixing every small dent on your car. Stick to this simple formula: If the amount you are going to spend on repairs is lower than the noclaim bonus you are likely to accumulate, it is better not to claim the amount. Stick to this principle every time you spend to fix minor things. Always weigh whether its worth filing a claim for it or is it smarter to try for another claim-free year. NCB will come handy when you are buying a new car, as it is linked not to the vehicle or the policy but to the policyholder. "You can also opt for a higher deductible amount in the policy," says Amarnath Ananthanarayanan, CEO, Bharti-AXA General Insurance. Opting for the deductible is akin to forgoing a small claim - the company will pay its share only after you foot the bill for the initial, pre-agreed amount.


Many insurers offer better rates these days to customers who are willing to share a lot of personal information like age, gender, marital status, occupation, claim history and driving track record. For instance,, which distributes Bajaj Allianzs motor insurance policies, offers a discount of 5% to those who provide details about themselves by answering the questions in the forms. "This definitely helps the customer in the long run as based on their responses and disclosures, many insurance providers give premium discounts. For example, premium for a young, smoking male will be higher than the premium for the same amount of cover for a young, non-smoking female," says Arun Balakrishnan, CEO, Berkshireinsurance. com. "The details help in correct calculations of premiums and sometimes help in getting discount/offers. The extent of discounts depends on service providers, but generally ranges from 10% to 25%," adds Niraj Jain, CEO,


Add-on features like depreciation cover, roadside assistance, emergency expenses, hospital cash and so on may have immense utility value, but the trouble is that some agents try to push unnecessary add-on covers to customers. This has become a problem lately as the detariffication of motor insurance has resulted in products with diverse features and variable premiums, depending on the insurer. That is why it is extremely important to tally the policy features with your needs before buying the add-ons. This will ensure that your premium is not inflated for options you may never use.


Becoming a member of the Automobile Association of India (AAI) or its affiliates can make you eligible for certain privileges. Among other things, it will fetch you concessional premium rates from some insurers -the discount could be the lower of 5% or Rs 200 on the owndamage premium for private cars. Similarly, if you install an anti-theft device approved by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), you could claim a discount of 2.5%, subject to a maximum of Rs 500, depending on the insurer. You can also beat the premium hike by buying your policy online and insuring only the resale value of your vehicle.

Source : ET Bureau back