Motor insurance: Have two cars? Take a standalone personal accident cover of Rs 15 lakh

Motor insurance: Have two cars? Take a standalone personal accident cover of Rs 15 lakh
19 Dec 2018

Irdai has relaxed its directive for compulsory personal accident cover for owner-driver under motor insurance policies

If a vehicle owner has a general personal accident cover, then it is no longer mandatory to buy another cover along with a vehicle insurance. The insurance regulator has relaxed its directive issued on September 20, 2018 for the compulsory personal accident (CPA) cover for owner-driver under motor insurance policies. If a customer has two cars, then he can take a standalone personal accident cover and need not take CPA for either of the cars. At present, customers are supposed to take CPA for both cars. In this case, a customer can save Rs 750.

No bundled cover
Owner-drivers can now buy one personal accident insurance for multiple vehicles owned by him. The duration of the standalone CPA cover will be for one year. “Effective January 1, 2019, standalone compulsory personal accident cover for owner-driver may be issued. Keeping in view the date of implementation, as an interim measure, insurers may price the product in accordance with their general pricing philosoply, based on actuarial principles for the risk in question,” underlines the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India’s circular.

From January 1, on expiry of a bundled CPA cover, it will have to be replaced with a standalone CPA and then it can be taken from any registered insurer transacting general insurance business. The coverage under the standalone CPA will extend to all the vehicles owned by the owner-driver under the same policy. The standaone CPA cover will be valid when the owner-driver drives any of the vehicles owned by him.

The regulator’s circular says that as a general personal accident cover also includes cover against motor accidents, if an owner-driver already has a 24-hour personal accident cover against death and permanent disability (total and partial) for capital sum insured (CSI) of at least `15 lakh, there is no need for a separate CPA cover to be taken.

Cover for owner-driver
The insurance regulator has directed all general insurance companies to raise the compulsory personal accident cover for owner-driver to `15 lakh. The premium for all classes of vehicles for this cover was fixed at `750 per annum for annual policy. In order to reduce the number of uninsured vehicles on the road, the regulator has also mandated that buyers of new cars and two-wheelers will now have to mandatorily purchase third-party insurance cover upfront for at least three and five years, respectively. Long-term third-party insurance will reduce the hassles of renewing the policy every year and an increase in the number of insured vehicles could bring down the premium as the risk pool becomes larger. It will also ensure that the policyholder has some stability in rates for a defined period. These two directives increased the cost of insurance.

The insurance issued the September directive comes after a Madras High Court judgment in October last year which ordered Irdai to enhance the compulsory personal accident cover from the existing `1 lakh to at least not less than `15 lakh to “add to some succor or solace to the victims of road accidents, who are the owner of the vehicle, who may incidentally sustain bodily injury or death”. The court also ordered that an option can be given to the insured/owner of the vehicle to pay higher premium amount to get enhanced compensation over and above `15 lakh in case the owner of vehicle desires such enhanced compensation.

The owner of the insured vehicle holding a valid driving licence is termed as owner-driver. The cover is provided to the owner-driver whilst driving the vehicle including mounting into or dismounting from or traveling in the insured vehicle as a co-driver. Earlier, CSI for motorised two-wheelers and private cars/commercial vehicles is `1 lakh and `2 lakh, respectively.

Animesh Das, head of product strategy, Acko General Insurance, says at present an individual vehicle owner has to buy a CPA cover of `15 lakh for `750 with his vehicle insurance. This has to be mandatorily taken with every vehicle insurance policy. “In case where a customer has multiple vehicles, he may end-up buying CPA cover for more than one vehicle, which is unnecessary. The Irdai has come up with a solution and introduced standalone PA cover where a single PA cover can be taken for multiple vehicles. With the introduction of this option, customers will be able to save the additional `750 per vehicle,” he says.

(Disclaimer: These are the author’s views. Readers are advised to consult their financial advisor before buying any plan)