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Car insurance coverage for road trip enthusiasts: The finer points

Car insurance, road trip, adventurous, Third-party Liability policy, Add-on Covers, Roadside Assistance

By Animesh Das

There are people who drive a car within a limited radius and there are explorers who like to wander about with the help of their four-wheeled friend. If you are one of the adventurous types who like to venture out on a road trip on a frequent basis, you must insure your car keeping that in mind.

A road trip is exciting but it can be terrifying as well. Things can go wrong in an instant. Your car insurance plan should be wide-ranging and tailored to your requirements so that you stay financially secured in case of car-related mishaps during the journey. Read ahead to know more about the kind of car insurance you should purchase if you are a road trip enthusiast.

1. Go Comprehensive!

You must be aware that it is mandatory to insure your car with at least a Third-party Liability policy. However, such a basic policy does not offer all-round insurance coverage, especially during a road trip. Thus, it is suggested to opt for a Comprehensive car insurance policy as it offers own damage cover, fire and theft insurance, and financial protection against listed man-made and natural disasters.

You will stay on the right side of the law with a Comprehensive plan as it includes the mandatory Third-party cover. Besides, it will also make you eligible to purchase a host of Add-ons that can help you customize your car insurance cover and strengthen it for extensive road trip coverage.

2. Add-on Covers for Road Trips

Add-ons come at an extra cost but they also offer extra insurance cover. They lend a touch of personalization to the otherwise generic Comprehensive plans. Here's a list of Add-ons to consider if your annual calendar is blocked for frequent road trips.

Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance Add-on is designed to bail you out of car trouble. Imagine you are in an unknown, secluded locality and your car breaks down! Whom will you contact? Who will help you out? What will happen to your trip?

With Roadside Assistance, the insurance company will swoop in and handle your situation. All you have to do is inform them about the car breakdown. They might send a mechanic to the breakdown spot or tow your vehicle to the nearest garage. In some cases, insurers also arrange for alternative transport or accommodation.

Passenger Cover

Road trips are dangerous than regular in-city drives. Thus, the passengers are also at risk of getting terribly injured in case of a car accident. The owner/driver of a car gets a Personal Accident cover of Rs. 15 lakhs with a car insurance policy. But if you want such a cover for the passengers, you will have to purchase an Add-on.

Passenger Cover Add-on is like a personal accident cover for your fellow travelers seated in the insured vehicle. Road trips often involve a bunch of friends/colleagues/relatives travelling together, thus such a cover can come in handy.

Personal Belonging Cover

Nowadays, it is difficult to travel without our digital darlings: mobile phone, laptop, etc. Connectivity-based gadgets are delicate and they can be easily damaged in a car accident. A Personal Belonging cover insures such gadgets in case they are a part of an unfortunate mishap.

Zero Depreciation

This Add-on is for all seasons provided your car is under five years of age. It is helpful for road trip enthusiasts as the car is more vulnerable to getting damaged during a long trip.

Car parts tend to depreciate in value over a period of time. Insurance companies consider this fact while settling claims by deducting the depreciation amount of the part in question while paying money for repairing/replacing it. A Zero Depreciation Add-on doesn't factor-in the depreciation charges while settling claims. Thus, you get a higher amount of claim money than you would get in case you did not have such a cover.

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Review and Renew

A car insurance policy needs to be renewed to keep it active. It is good to renew your policy around ten days before the expiry date so that you get ample time to review the policy and make any changes if necessary.

If you have made any aesthetic or performance-related modifications to your car during the previous policy period, make it a point to disclose them to your insurer. Also, consider going for a long-term Comprehensive car insurance plan with suitable Add-ons to stay insured against major car-related perils.

You can browse your favorite car insurance company's website and find out a suitable plan. Do not buy a plan without understanding the terms and conditions, and inclusions and exclusions. Going through the policy wordings of your selected plan will help in this regard.

If you face any hurdles in understanding the plan or during the purchase journey, feel free to reach out to the insurer's support team. They will resolve your queries and help you make an informed decision.

( The author is Head of Product Strategy – ACKO General Insurance)