In India, all vehicle owners must have insurance—which means just purchasing insurance along with your new bike is not enough and you must keep renewing the policy year after year to stay covered and enjoy the benefits. Meanwhile, being caught with an expired policy can lead to traffic fines or imprisonment, or even both. To make it worse, you will also lose financial protection against any damage due to accidents or other reasons. Plus, you will not be eligible for cashless garage service facilities. Now, that’s too much of a loss, right? But that does not mean you cannot fix the situation. Usually, insurers send periodic reminders about renewals, but there could be instances when you forget to renew and the policy expires. Renewal of an expired policy involves additional charges and in some cases, an inspection of your bike. Here is a step-by-step guide to renewing an expired bike policy.
Since most insurers have an online presence, you can now renew an expired bike insurance policy online. If your insurer permits, you can avoid submission of a hard copy of documents and may not have to take your bike to your insurer’s branch office for inspection. Mostly, inspections and approvals take time, thus, delaying the renewal process. The steps for online renewal are:
- Login to your account on your insurer’s website and go to the policy renewal page.
- Fill in the required details such as your bike’s registration number as prompted by the online form.
- If the remaining details are not displayed automatically after this, you may have to fill in few more details of your bike such as the make, model, variant, year of registration, and city/location of registration.
- In case you are switching over to a new insurer, you will have to enter your personal details, your previous policy details and other information, as required by the insurer.
- Provide the status of your previous policy and No Claim Bonus (NCB) details.
- Since it is an expired policy, you will not receive the benefits or discounts from the NCB (No Claim Bonus) unless renewed within grace period after expiry.
- Offering a discount for online renewal is at your insurer’s discretion.
- If you have a basic third-party policy, you can get an additional own-damage policy or upgrade to a comprehensive policy.
- You can also buy add-on bike insurance policy depending on your requirement and budget.
- You may have to pay a late charge.
- Complete the online payment through your preferred method such as a credit/debit card, net banking etc.
- If your insurer does not ask for any inspection of the bike or submission of hard copies of the documents, the policy would be renewed instantly in PDF format and activated.
- You can download and save it for future reference.
- For own damage or comprehensive policies, you may have to upload photos or videos of your bike for the initial inspection.
- Post-inspection and approval, the own-damage component would be activated but it may take some time.
- You will also receive a soft copy of the policy in your e-mail inbox.
Insurers usually provide a grace period for the online bike insurance renewal of expired policies. If you exceed this grace period, then you will not be able to renew the policy and may have to buy a new policy from the scratch. This would include the registration process as well. In case you renew the policy after a year or more, the insurer will send your policy to the underwriter for approval. These rules vary from insurer to insurer, so you have to be clear about the process that your insurer follows.
To bring down the number of expired policies, the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority of India (IRDAI) has introduced the mandatory multi-year third-party liability policy for bikes. Under the new rule, the liability policy would be valid for 5 years and you need to pay the total premium in one go, at the beginning of the policy period. This would reduce the stress of remembering the renewal dates every year.
Precautions in case of expired policies
Once you realise that your policy has expired, start the renewal process immediately. Keep your previous policy documents handy, so that you can refer to them anytime during the renewal process. The documents that you may require include the previous policy copy or renewal notice sent by your insurer, the RC (Registration Card), your photo ID, and your driving licence.
There may be a time lag for the activation of your own-damage policy, so, avoid taking your bike on the road unless you receive the proper policy documents. This would ensure that you do not suffer any financial loss in case there is an accident or face penalty if caught by the traffic police.
Since bike insurance is meant to provide you financial protection against unexpected emergencies, you should take care to renew it on time. If you miss the renewal due to some reason, do not delay the process further as it can lead to several problems in future.