Do the motor insurance policies cover the damage to passengers not wearing seatbelts

Do the motor insurance policies cover the damage to passengers not wearing seatbelts  26th October 2022

Drivers and front-seat passengers must wear a seatbelt when the vehicle is running according to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR). Not complying with this rule can lead to a fine of 1000 INR. Surpassing the fine should not be the motive for wearing a seatbelt. Other than the fine, it can be a big life saviour in times of an accident. There is also a rule that the passengers in the rear seat should wear a seatbelt. But, as per the reports, most passengers avoid wearing a seatbelt in a running car.

It is crucial to understand that it just takes a few seconds to buckle the seat belt, which can protect you and your passengers from severe bodily damage in case of an accident. Also, as per a poll, wearing a seatbelt by a co-passenger had shown a reduced risk of being heavily injured or killed by 25% and 75%, respectively. Not just this, did you know that your motor insurance company can reject your claim if it finds that you weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident?

Let us go through the details of the coverage of damages under motor insurance policies to passengers not wearing seatbelt.

1. Not wearing a seatbelt:
Technically speaking, if you are driving without wearing a seatbelt and you meet with an accident, the insurance company should not be liable to pay for any damages. One can argue that the person could have been saved or suffered much lesser damages during the accident if he had been wearing the seatbelt.

2. Lower compensation:
The main motive of all insurance companies is to make profits. Hence, if they find out that either the front-seat passenger or even the rear-seat passenger was not wearing a seatbelt, they may approach insurance tribunals and file a contributory negligence plea against the insured to lower the compensation or reject it fully.
The courts or the tribunal can lower the compensation claim to some extent. The claim is not rejected just because the insured was not wearing a seatbelt during the mishap. However, lowering the claims is possible since it is a form of non-compliance.

3. Personal accident cover:
Under the motor vehicle act, an individual must take a personal accident cover along with vehicle insurance. It also applies to third-party insurance. Even if the passenger is not wearing a seatbelt, the personal accident cover will pay for the compensation in case of death, injury, or permanent disability due to the accident.
By buying a passenger add-on cover, you can buy similar coverage for up to three co-passengers sitting in your car. This will cost you some extra premium but will provide effective cover to all the passengers in the vehicle.

Driving your vehicle without wearing the seatbelt puts a lot of lives in danger, be it you, your co-passengers, or the vehicle or person with which you have met with the accident. Passengers in the front seat and the rear seat must follow the rule of wearing seatbelts and save penalties and lives.

This is why even the Government of India has announced that it will soon be mandatory for passengers sitting in the back seat to wear the seatbelt when the vehicle is in motion. Even the motor insurance company cannot reduce your insurance claims if you start following this.

There are no shortcuts to safety, and negligence can cost you not just money but even life! Press the accelerator only when your seatbelts are on, drive under the speed limit, follow traffic rules, avoid lane cutting, and make optimum use of all safety equipment installed in your car.

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Disclaimer: The information provided above is for illustrative purposes only. To get more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before purchasing a policy.