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5 Surprising Consequences of Driving Without a Valid Motor Insurance
Having a Motor Insurance is like having a safety net that can protect you in a whole lot of situations where you might face financial losses and damages to your vehicle – such as in the case of accidents, natural disasters, fires, and more. It also protects you from having to dip into your saving to pay for any losses in the case of these accidents.
But there might be a lot of reasons that you end up driving your vehicle without this protection.
Maybe you were very busy and didn’t realize that your motor insurance had expired, or you forgot to include the premium payments in your budget and didn’t get around to paying them. On the other hand, if you have bought a second-hand vehicle, or you handed it down to your kids, you may have forgotten to get the insurance details updated and you could be driving around uninsured.
Either way, you should know that driving an uninsured vehicle is actually illegal. According to the Motor Vehicles Act, you must have at least a valid third-party insurance to legally drive your vehicle in India. And driving without a valid Motor Insurance can have some pretty serious consequences for you.
What are the consequences of driving without any motor insurance?
So, whether you have not yet bought an insurance policy for your vehicle, or you have just forgotten to renew your existing policy, here are some of the consequences of driving without any motor insurance coverage:
1. You will have to pay a hefty fine
If you are ever caught driving your vehicle without a valid insurance cover, you might get into trouble with the law. As it is illegal to drive an uninsured vehicle (as per the Motor Vehicles Act), you will end up facing some serious consequences, like fines or even imprisonment. And this can be a steep price to pay for something as simple as just forgetting to buy or renew the insurance for your vehicle!
According to the Motor Vehicles Act of 2019, the fine driving without an insurance policy is:
|₹ 4,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 3 months
Repeat offenders might even end up having their driving license suspended.
2. You might have to pay for any third-party damages
As if paying a big fine and even facing jail was not bad enough, there could be even more complications if you are caught driving an uninsured vehicle. For example, in case you get into an accident and end up damaging someone else’s property, or even worse injuring someone, you will be left to face all the consequences on your own, including paying for any repairs or medical bills or even being charged with a criminal case (for negligent driving).
This is something you can easily prevent by ensuring that you and your vehicle are always covered by at least the mandatory Third-Party Insurance. With this cover, you (the first party) will be protected by your insurer (the second party) against claims made by someone else (the third-party) due to any accidental damages.
3. If your car gets damaged, you will have to pay for that too
Okay, so that covers losses caused to some unknown third party, but what about your own losses? As long as your vehicle is not covered under an insurance policy, if you get into any kind of accident and it gets damaged, you will have to pay for all the repairs and other costs yourself. And this is sure to put a dent in your financial savings! 🙁
While the basic third-party liability policy won’t cover any damages to your own vehicle, if you opt for an Own Damage or Comprehensive Motor Insurance policy, your insurer will be there to help you out with the cost of any repairs or replacements.
4. You might see an increase in your insurance premium
Now you might be wondering “If I am not insured, how can I see an increase in my insurance premium?” Well, let us explain.
If you have forgotten to renew your insurance policy and it has expired, you could end up paying a much higher premium when you do end up renewing it. And, if you were caught by the police for this and you had to pay a fine, you might be seen as a high-risk driver by your insurer, and your premium could be affected even more.
5. You could lose your No Claim Bonus
Another consequence of staying too long without renewing your motor insurance policy, is that when you do renew it, you can lose any NCB (No Claim Bonus) that you had accumulated.
An NCB is like a discount that your insurer can give you on your premium for being a safe driver and not making any insurance claims during the policy year. The more years you go without making a claim, the bigger the NCB discount you will get. But, if there is any lapse in your insurance coverage, you will lose your NCB upon renewal.
What happens if you’re caught driving without insurance?
Now that you know the consequences of driving your vehicle without a valid insurance, you might be wondering what might actually happen to you if you are caught in such a situation. Well, first of all, since it is easily avoidable, we hope that it never happens to you!
But, if you are ever caught by the traffic police for driving a vehicle without an insurance policy, this is what you will likely face:
You will be asked to stop your vehicle and show the officer your Driving License, the vehicle’s RC and it’s PUC certificate.
If you have all these documents, you will just need to pay the fine for driving without an insurance policy and the officer will issue you a challan.
You will need to pay the challan online (on the state transport department website) or at the nearest traffic police station.
If you can’t produce these documents, you may end up paying even more fines.
Remember to pay any outstanding fines as soon as you can, because failing to pay can result in a higher fine if you’re caught again.
How can you avoid getting penalized for driving without car insurance?
Well, the answer to this might be very obvious – make sure your vehicle is covered by a motor insurance policy! With so many easy options to choose from online, you can ensure that your vehicle is covered even before you get on the road.
However, there are some other ways in which you can be sure that you are never caught driving without insurance:
Always remember to renew your vehicle’s insurance before its expiry date.
If you have bought a used or a second-hand vehicle, make sure it is covered under an insurance policy.
Also keep copies of these documents on your phone (or on a cloud service) so you can easily access it.
If your budget is getting in the way of paying your insurance premium, consider looking for another insurer.
So, there you have it. Whatever has prompted you to drive an uninsured vehicle, whether you just forgot, or it was budget, you must remember that the consequences of driving without any insurance can be quite severe.
Since third party premium rates start at around ₹ 500 for two-wheelers and ₹ 2,200 for private cars, if you are fined you will end up having to pay out a whole lot more.
We have mentioned, having at the very least a Third-Party Insurance is mandatory in India, and this is because it covers any damage or injuries to a third-party if you happen to get into an accident. But, if you want more coverage you can opt for a Comprehensive Motor Insurance which will also help you cover any damages to your own vehicle as well.