Purujit Sharma, who is in his early 20s, loves his Bajaj Pulsar bike and takes great care of it. He gets it serviced on time, keeps it spotless and makes sure that its insurance is always up to date. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, his bike had been lying parked at home while he was stuck in a different city altogether, completely forgetting the renewal date of the insurance policy. The insurance had lapsed when he returned. While the government gave a short extension for third-party insurance policies expiring between March 25 and May 3, Purujit was unlucky to avail this as he returned home only towards the end of July.
He is not alone as there are several two wheeler owners who missed renewing their vehicle insurance during the lockdown - sometimes due to genuine reasons, and often deliberately since they did not see sense in renewing the policy when the vehicle was just lying parked at home. However, one must remember that a comprehensive bike insurance plan not only secures the vehicle on the road but also protects it from theft and damage due to natural calamities, vandalism and other such events. And in any case, one would have to renew the policy, or get a new one, when they eventually take the bike out on the road as riding a vehicle without insurance is not only inadvisable, but also illegal in India.
What happens if you do not renew bike insurance?
So the big question is what happens when one’s two wheeler insurance policy is lapsed and how can it be renewed afterwards. The most important thing to know is that even after missing the due date, there is a grace period of 90 days during which one can renew the policy while retaining benefits like no-claim-bonus. However, one cannot make any claim for damages caused to the vehicle during the period lying between the lapse of the previous policy and start of the new one. After the end of the grace period, one has to get a new policy and all renewal benefits would be lost. It can also lead to hiked insurance premium for the subsequent cycle. So it is crucial to renew the policy in time, or at least during the grace period if the renewal date is missed for any reason.
The good news is that in either case, one does not have to necessarily visit the office of the insurer as they can simply opt for two wheeler insurance renewal online, with no need for inspection of the bike. However, there is always an option for offline renewal, although the inspection becomes mandatory in this case. In case of an online renewal, the policy period starts a few days after the payment is made to the insurance company.
Your checklist before renewing your Bike Insurance
The first step to renewing your bike insurance is to research well and choose an insurance company that has a good service track record. This can be checked in several ways. One objective way is to find the Claims Settlement Ratio of the insurance companies.
The next step is to ensure that the insurance company of your choice has a wide network of service centres and garages in case you need to avail an insurance claim.
Then you should look for a company that considers consumer centric issues, like allowing delayed renewals in case of a lapse. A good insurance company should come with good service, which includes reminders for renewal, as well as a way to redeem renewal benefits in case those reminders are missed.
One should also consider if the particular insurer provides insurance conveniently with minimum paperwork, fewer steps and impeccable customer service; brownie points if this can be done online.
There are certain insurance companies like Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, that tick all the right boxes. Bajaj Allianz offers certain concessions and benefits in the event of a lapsed policy so the policyholder is not entirely in a position of loss. It not only provides online purchase and renewal without any need for inspection, but also allows the bike-owner to retain no-claim-bonus if the policy is renewed within 90 days of its lapse. The policy also comes with 24x7 support and provides an online two wheeler insurance premium calculator to determine your premium quotes instantly.
There are also some new-age, completely online insurers that have made the entire process even simpler and smoother. While one can consider them for convenience, but with traditional players, there is the comfort of a good settlement track record. And with many of these big companies also embracing technology for the convenience of customers, one cannot go wrong by choosing them.
It is always better to ensure that the two wheeler insurance renewal happens on time. These days, it’s easy to keep track of the due date by signing up for email and SMS alerts. However, in the event that the policy does lapse, extra care needs to be taken to choose the right insurer to optimise benefits. Pandemic or no pandemic, two wheelers require the cover of a good insurance policy and a lapse can exact a heavy price.