Here's all you need to know about a lapse in car insurance

Here's all you need to know about a lapse in car insurance  11th January 2023

Buying a car in India is seen as more than just a mode of convenient travel. It is seen as an investment and a status symbol too. In such pursuits, people spend way more on their vehicles than they should.

However, considering the income disparity, uncertainty of economic activity, and rising costs in the current scenario, purchasing such high-value assets without security is not feasible. This makes car insurance a necessity.

Despite the benefits of car insurance, there are several things a policyholder has to consider while going through the buying process. It is essential to remember the policy period and renew it before it lapses. Read on to learn all about a car insurance lapse.

What is a policy lapse?

Car insurance is an annual mandatory policy as per the Motor Vehicles Act 1988. The policy document needs to be renewed within the date mentioned, after which it becomes due and expires—failing to renew it before its expiry is called the lapse of a car insurance policy.

Need to prevent lapse.

A policyholder cannot claim damages incurred after the policy has lapsed since it is no longer valid. Such expenses have to be borne by the policyholder himself. Hence, to protect yourself from getting into such a situation, it is essential to renew your insurance before it lapses.

Effects of a lapse.

Apart from bearing the entire cost of damages by oneself, several other problems arise from allowing your car insurance to lapse, including:

1. Vehicles with lapsed insurance policies must undergo the inspection process, which is rather tedious and time-consuming.

2. After your policy lapses, the premium amount on your policy may be revised and will likely be greater than the amount you were previously paying.

3. Fines and penalties are often inescapable while renewing a lapsed motor insurance policy.

4. If you are found to be driving a car without valid insurance, you may have to shell out a fine of up to INR 2000 as per the present rules in case of your first offence. For repeat offenders, the penalty amount increases, and you may be imprisoned for up to 3 months.

5. Since your insurance is no longer valid, you lose out on the accumulated amount of the No Claim Bonus.

Renewing car insurance after lapse.

Depending on the duration after the lapse, you can proceed with the steps stated below:

1. Within the grace period: Insurance companies usually offer a grace period of up to 90 days post-lapse. If you renew your policy within this period, you may avoid paying additional fees altogether or only have to pay a nominal amount.

2. Post-grace period lapse: If the grace period window has passed, immediately contact your insurer. While some may still allow renewal, be prepared to purchase a new policy if your insurer rejects your request to renew the policy.

3. Post-permanent lapse: If it has been a long while since the expiry of the policy, including the grace period, purchasing a new car insurance policy is the only route remaining. It is inevitable to undergo a car inspection for this process. Ensure you keep track of the policy duration and expiry to prevent making the same error again.

Keeping track of minute details can be challenging amid hectic schedules. Therefore, insurers do their part by sending electronic notifications through texts or emails to alert you about the upcoming renewal of your car insurance. While it is an aid you can benefit from, it is ideal to set self-reminders or set up automatic payments with your bank to stay on top of all things related to car insurance.

Using effective self-reminding mechanisms makes avoiding the consequences of a car insurance lapse easy. Ensure that you compare policies and keep track of periods each time you renew your policy.

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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.