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Types of Motor Insurance in India: A Comprehensive Guide

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Purchasing a vehicle is a major investment, but the costs don’t stop there. Insuring your car or two-wheeler is crucial for financial protection, yet India’s myriad motor insurance options can be daunting for buyers. Given the importance of choosing adequate coverage, it’s valuable to understand the key types of policies available. 

Importance of motor insurance

Car insurance is crucial to protect yourself financially if you get into an accident or your vehicle gets damaged. Without insurance, you could pay massive amounts out of pocket for repairs, which could be financially devastating. In addition to protecting you financially, third-party motor insurance is mandatory by law in India.

So, having at least basic coverage is crucial to following the rules of the road and being a responsible driver. Moreover, insurance can give you peace of mind and save you money in unexpected situations.

Types of motor insurance

The different type of motor insurance are as follows:

Third-party liability insurance

Third-party liability insurance is the most basic type of auto insurance and is mandatory in India. You’d be covered if you caused damage to another person’s property, like their car or building, or injured them in an accident. But it doesn’t cover any damage to your vehicle.

Own damage insurance

Own-damage insurance is stand-alone coverage. Under this plan, the policyholder gets insurance coverage only for their own damages. It would cover your car if things like natural/man-made calamities, fire, explosions, theft or any other mishaps occur.

Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive insurance is complete coverage. Comprehensive insurance would cover your car if things like fire, flooding, or theft damaged it. It also includes third-party liability. So, comprehensiveness gives both you and others on the road protection.

Add-ons and riders for motor insurance policy

Here are some common motor insurance policy add-ons:

  • Depreciation cover. This cover protects you from the cost of depreciation for damaged car parts. It ensures that the full cost of replacing damaged car parts is reimbursed with new ones during a claim settlement.
  • Engine protection cover. This cover protects you from consequential losses to engine and gear box parts because of water ingress and oil leakage due to accidental undercarriage damage. It would cover such damages and pay for the repair or replacement of the damaged engine parts of the car like nuts, bolts, screws, lubricants, etc.
  • Roadside assistance. With this cover, you get assistance in situations like car breakdowns, flat tyres, fuel refills, battery jump-starts, etc. where your car is immobilised on the road.

Factors influencing premium rates

  • Vehicle type and model. An insurer will charge more for vehicles that are more expensive to repair or replace, just like luxury cars or sports cars. They also tend to charge more for vehicles that are stolen more often.
  • Insured declared value (IDV). The IDV of your car influences the premium of your car insurance. Higher IDV results in higher premiums, whereas lower IDV reduces car insurance premium.
  • Geographical location. Premium rates can vary a lot depending on where you live. If you live in an urban area with high rates of accidents, theft, etc., you’ll pay more. Certain cities and states have higher insurance costs.
  • Previous insurance claim history. If you have submitted insurance claims for accidents or damages that were your fault in the past few years, your insurance company sees you as a higher risk. With fewer claims, your premiums will stay the same over time. A clean record with no at-fault accidents or claims leads to lower rates.


Choosing the right motor insurance policy in India can seem overwhelming, given the many options. The key is understanding what risks you want to safeguard against to select adequate coverage for your needs and budget. While third-party liability is the legal minimum, comprehensive or add-ons like zero depreciation better protect your investment. 

Evaluating all factors that influence premiums helps find the most savings, too. With this guide’s assistance, you can now shop insurance policies feeling well-informed and empowered to make the best choice.

Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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