Bike Pillar

Bike Insurance

Whether you are riding off into the sunset, speeding along a highway in rain showers or simply stepping off a bike and taking off your shades, bikes have an unfailing charm. Movies often feature bikes at the centre of songs – from the carefree Rajesh Khanna singing “Zindagi Ek Safar” to two friends celebrating friendship in the iconic film Sholay, and of course, heist artists in the Dhoom Series who used motorbikes as getaway vehicles. If you’re the proud owner of one, you’d realize how important it is to keep the machine maintained and safe from accidents.

Brief History

The earliest known motorbike design can be traced to Germany in the year 1885. They really took off during the first and second world wars, when they were used by armies to dispatch messages. They thus replaced horses which were earlier used for the purpose. Motor bikes benefited from the western world’s transition from agricultural to industrial economies during this period. Today, apart from Japan, motorbike usage has shifted from developed economies to emerging ones – India, China, South East Asia, and various African countries.

Where Do We Stand Today?

The first ever motorbike to hit Indian roads was a 350 cc powered Bullet; courtesy the Royal Enfield (UK) company during the British times. The tough model was originally an army vehicle, helping troops to access rugged terrain without paved roads. The motorcycle industry boomed in the post-Independence era, and it became the go-to vehicle for people who could not afford a car and were forced to rely on bullock carts, bicycles, tangas and the railways for covering longer distances. In current times, mobility is no longer at the mercy of unreliable modes. The Indian Government too has encouraged production and assembly of motorbikes within the country, leading to a flourishing native industry. It also helped to indigenously develop fuel efficiency and improved technologies. From such humble beginnings, today India exports bikes all over the world.
India is the world’s largest market for two-wheelers – motorbikes and scooters. In the year 2017-18, nearly twenty million units were sold to consumers. Some of the largest brands in the market are Bajaj Motorcycles, Hero Motorcorp, TVS, Mahindra, Royal Enfield, Suzuki, Honda, and Triumph.

    • Two wheelers enjoy mass appeal because of their lower fuel consumption as compared to cars. Oil price fluctuations thus affect the budgets of motorbike owners less than car owners. To an extent, this makes them environment-friendly as well.
    • Fuel for motorbikes gives more mileage per liter than any other vehicle. It is a value for money option.
    • Motorbikes can be squeezed in anywhere, and so parking space is less of an issue.
    • Development of roads connecting remote rural areas to the rest of India.
    • Public transportation systems which are severely insufficient.
    • Rising disposable incomes in the hands of the public and booming upwardly mobile middle classes.
    • Women too have contributed to the increase in two-wheelers on the roads. Scooters give them an easy commute option.
    • It is easier to get a loan for a two-wheeler than a car.
    • Two wheelers make it a breeze to circumvent traffic jams.
    • Taxes on two-wheelers have been reduced in recent times.

But the main reason is that India is the world’s fastest growing economy. We are all in a hurry to reach places and get things done. Nearly every Indian household today uses at least one motorbike. Indian manufacturers are tinkling with CNG and electric powered motorbike technology. The future for motorbikes is very bright indeed.

Motorbike Safety

Bike Pillar

Motorbikes definitely offer a lot of fun and freedom for the rider. However, it cannot be denied that it is also more likely to be involved in an accident if you are on a motorbike than any other vehicle. India has one of the highest road accident rates in the world. It is telling that nearly forty percent of those killed or injured in such accidents are motorbike riders. You are also more at a risk of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) which can cause a mild concussion, coma and in extreme cases even paralysis. More than 75% of motorbike accidents result in TBI, recovery from which is nearly impossible.

    • A motorbike’s size makes it less visible to bigger vehicles that are making turns. It is usually always the car driver who doesn’t see the motorbike coming, leading to a head-on collision between the two.
    • Motorbike riders are more likely to try to maneuver through small spaces in a traffic jam. Again, this might surprise the car drivers.
    • Motorbike riders are more likely to exceed speed limits.
    • Motorbikes are more likely to collide with fixed objects. Because they are so lightweight, potholes, wet roads due to rain or snow, dead animals and other obstacles on the road may push them off course.

You love your motorbike and can’t give it up. So, what can you do to ensure the safety of both body and machine? Get a comprehensive motorbike insurance to secure your vehicle against damages.

Bike Pillar

What is motorbike insurance?

In India, two-wheeler insurance means an insurance policy that protects all sorts of two-wheeler vehicles on the roads – motorcycle, scooty, and moped. The two-wheeler may be used for personal or commercial purposes or both. It is the best way to protect yourself and your motorbike against all sorts of damages – theft, accidents, natural disasters, and bodily injuries while riding a motorbike.

Is motorbike insurance mandatory?

The Indian Motor Vehicles Act has made it mandatory for all vehicles plying on the roads in India to be covered by third-party insurers. A two-wheeler policy, in particular, is a hedge against losses due to accident, theft, wear and tear of the vehicle and injury to the riders.

    • The high rate of accidents on Indian roads – Traffic regulations are poorly implemented in the country and there is immense congestion on roads during rush hours. Aggravating the problem is the fact that the number of vehicles on the road are increasing exponentially and pedestrians don’t follow rules for crossing the road. Also, India is severely lacking in good all-weather roads. Most roads are poorly maintained and turn into a mess as soon as the monsoon arrives with potholes and slippery surfaces being a common sight. Add to it problems like improper parking on the road and encroachment by vendors, reduces space for vehicles to pass and contributing to the general chaos.

    • Two-wheeler users – The highest number of motorbike users are comprised of the middle and lower middle classes of society. Many of them depend on this mode of transport for their livelihoods. As such, any damage to vehicle or rider, no matter how minor, will impose a heavy financial burden on them, upending their savings. A comprehensive two-wheeler insurance policy can save them from financial ruin.

    • Man-made damages – It is not only during the ride that damages may occur. Frequently, unexpected events such as riots, theft, strikes, terrorist attacks, malicious activities and damage during transport damages the vehicle.

    • Natural causes for damage –Every two-wheeler insurance policy covers a comprehensive list of reasons against which they cover the insured. These include explosion, earthquake, cyclone, floods, landslide, hailstorm, fire and hurricanes among others.

    • The rising number of vehicles on the road – Economic development and a skyrocketing population growth have resulted in millions of new vehicles on the roads every year, while the number of roads remains constant. This has naturally increased the probability of road accidents as well.

    • Technological changes– Indian automobile manufacturers are in a race against time to build the two-wheelers of the future with better engine performance, rider ease, and the machine design. Strict enforcement of environmental laws has resulted in increased research into environmentally friendly models. Consumers too demand the best and latest technology. This means that the cost of spare parts has increased alongside. A small bit of damage can cause thousands of rupees to be spent. A comprehensive motorbike insurance policy covers repairs costs as well.

    • Bodily injuries to riders and their passengers (if any) –A comprehensive motorbike insurance policy covers the medical costs arising from accidents sustained during a ride by both rider and passengers. The amount you will be awarded depends on the severity of the injury. For example, cases which require hospitalization and extensive post-release care will naturally be awarded higher amounts. In cases where the rider dies due to a road accident, the full amount of insurance is awarded to his nominees or legal heirs. You must go through the policy in detail. The policy usually requires the injury to the rider must be visible and should have occurred by violent and external means. It may not cover accidents which occur when the rider is mounting or dismounting from the motorbike.

    • Bodily harm to any third parties –Road accidents are not always due to third parties or external reasons. Sometimes, the rider himself may cause an accident. He may or may not be at fault. Accidents may occur even when he was alert and extremely cautious and had followed all road safety norms. Such an accident may cause damage to another driver, bystander, or any other third party. A motorbike insurance policy helps pay for damages and medical costs incurred by the third party as a result of such an accident.

    • Damages to the property of a third party –An accident caused by the rider may damage property in the vicinity. The motorbike insurance policy covers any compensation payable to third parties as a result of such accidents. Legal proceedings are initiated, and the policy terms and conditions are followed to arrive at a definite amount of reimbursement. Thus, both the rider and the third party are covered against losses.

What are the types of motorbike insurance policies on the market?

Important terms associated with two-wheeler insurance

When you read through a policy, you might encounter some terms which might confuse you. These are industry jargon and usually not known by ordinary people. So in order to get a proper understanding of what you are purchasing, their knowledge is necessary.

    • Insured Declared Value (IDV) – This is the price you would have to pay for your vehicle if you wanted to purchase it today. It is the current market price. The insurer will have to pay you this amount if your vehicle is lost, stolen or damaged beyond any repairs.

    • Own Damage (OD) –This clause ensures that damage or losses are covered whether due to the insured’s actions or third-party actions. It covers damage to both insured’s body and vehicle and the third party’s body and property as a result of the accident.

    • Compulsory deductibles – The vehicle owner is required to pay a certain sum of money when he files a claim. This is calculated as a percentage of the overall claim filed by him. This provision was introduced to prevent vehicle owners from filing fake claims.

    • Third party insurance – The Motor Vehicles Act has made it mandatory for every vehicle owner to purchase third party insurance. The coverage is used to pay compensation to any third party or their property which has been damaged by the owner’s vehicle. This clause is not for the benefit of the vehicle owner.

    • Comprehensive cover – A vehicle can be damaged due to any reason at all, not all of which can be predicted. A comprehensive cover will provide compensation for damage incurred for any reason.

    • Voluntary excess –This provision helps to reduce the OD premium. This causes the vehicle owner to pay for damaged in case of an accident from his own pocket. This amount is separate from the compulsory deductible.

    • Cashless garage –If your motorbike insurance policy provides the facility of a cashless garage, the insured must only transport his car to the garage and pay compulsory deductible from his own pocket. The garage will repair his vehicle for him without any other extra charges. The insurance company pays the cost directly to the garage. Earlier, the system was that the vehicle owner had to get his vehicle repaired first at his own cost and submit a claim to the insurance company of the final cost. The insurance company would then verify the claim and reimburse him.

    • No Claim Bonus (NCB) – All vehicle insurance policies specify a period during which they provide coverage. However, if the customer has not filed any claim during the entirety of such period, he is entitled to receive a No Claim Bonus. If the customer has not filed such claims for several years in a row, he may be entitled to receive No Claim Bonus of up to fifty percent of the Own Damage (OD) premium.

Bike Pillar

What does a motorbike insurance policy cover?

  • Natural incidents – Fire, earthquake, hurricanes, floods, cyclones, typhoons, landslides, hailstorms and lightning strikes.

  • Human intervention – Theft, riots, burglary and strikes/bandhs. It also covers damage which may be sustained when the vehicle is being transported by roads, rail, airways, lifts, and waterways.

  • Personal accident cover –Upto one lakh rupees is payable to the insured in case of any injuries sustained during traveling or mounting/dismounting from the vehicle. The injuries may cause disabilities which are temporary or permanent, partial or total. They may even cause loss of limb or death. Insurance providers also provide an add-on to extend such coverage to pillion riders.

  • Legal third-party compensation –The policy has a provision for compensation payable to any third party who has sustained bodily injuries or loss of his property due to an accident by insured. Legal proceedings are followed before awarding compensation.

What are some special add-ons in the bike insurance policy?

There are a number of insurance companies competing in this sector. In their race to corner the market, more and more attractive features are being offered every day. All this translates to increased customer bargaining power. Going beyond basic policy, there are now options to buy expensive, advanced spare parts, extend personal insurance cover to pillion riders, and claim settled without considering depreciation accumulated on the vehicle. Insurance companies are also more customers focused. Tie-ups with garages to facilitate cashless settlement of claims, round the clock customer service centers, assignment of a personal consultant to take you through the policy in detail have also benefited consumers.

How are the claims processed?

The entire procedure has been streamlined for a smooth conclusion:

  • The customer calls the insurance company to register a claim.

  • Frequently, in the case of accidents, injuries and property damage, FIR needs to be filed at the nearest police station. The customer must complete these formalities.

  • The motorbike must be transported to an authorized garage or service center. Some insurance policies also cover the cost incurred during such a move.

  • The customer then gathers together all the necessary documents and fills out the claim form.

  • The claim must be filed by visiting the nearest office of the insurance company.

  • The insurance company usually sends an expert to assess the damage before arriving at an amount of compensation to be awarded.

Can you renew a bike insurance policy?

    • Keep your physical documents at hand before initiating the process. Online payment options such as internet banking details or debit cards should also be kept at the ready. The insurance company’s website will contain detailed steps for online renewal of the policy. Follow the instructions whether the data is correct and whether other details such as personal and contact details have been updated. Do not discard the old policy copy until you receive confirmation of renewal. The digital copy of the new insurance policy will be generated online after all details are accepted by the system. Check it from top to bottom closely to see if any terms and conditions have been changed in the new copy. Print out the generated copy along with final confirmation of payment. Remember to always carry a copy of the policy with you when you are riding your motorbike.
    • Using Mobile Applications – To attract the tech-savvy youth, most insurance companies have dedicated mobile apps that allow renewal of the insurance plan through a smartphone. Similar to renewal through the company’s website, the app too will ask you to fill in certain details and confirm others such as manufacturer’s name, registration number, the model number with the year, of your motorbike. Recheck all the details once you have filled them. After that, confirm that you agree with the terms and conditions and then initiate steps to pay online.

  • To attract the tech-savvy youth, most insurance companies have dedicated mobile apps that allow renewal of the insurance plan through a smartphone. Similar to renewal through the company’s website, the app too will ask you to fill in certain details and confirm others such as manufacturer’s name, registration number, the model number with the year, of your motorbike. Recheck all the details once you have filled them. After that, confirm that you agree with the terms and conditions and then initiate steps to pay online.

  • If you prefer the traditional route, visit the nearest branch to renew your motorbike insurance policy. Take all the required documents with you, and make sure to take cash or your debit card to pay for the premium amount. After filling out the policy, a new policy will be handed to you on that day itself, provided your payment has been successfully cleared first. An advantage of visiting the branch office is that you will be able to consult an expert about any add-ons which have been recently introduced and which could benefit you. You can easily get a better deal than expected.

    • Compare, compare, compare – The insurance market in India is very competitive, and insurers constantly offer new and exciting terms. Never purchase motorbike insurance without comparing offers from at least three different insurers at least. Online websites such as policies365 offer side by side comparison of different policies.

    • Transfer your insurance plan when you shift to another vehicle – India has a thriving market in second-hand vehicles of all kinds, including motorbikes. If you purchase such a vehicle you must remember to get your existing insurance policy transferred to this vehicle once the motorbike has been legally transferred to you from the old owner. If such a shift is not possible, buy a new plan as soon as possible to avoid penalties.

    • Keep a track of insurance policy renewal dates –As previously mentioned, third party insurance cover is mandatory for a vehicle plying on Indian roads. Letting your policy lapse not leaves you uncovered in case of any mishap, it is also a punishable offense in the eyes of the law. Always set reminders before the expiry date so that you can seamlessly renew your policy.

    • Always mention nominee in the bike insurance policy – To save your family and legal heirs from any hassle always clearly mention nominee. This will transfer the policy or benefits to them automatically in case something happens to you.

    • Mention hypothecation details (if any) –In case you have used your two-wheeler as collateral for a loan, always mention such details at the time you purchase the policy to avoid legal hurdles later.

    • Personal information – Always double check the personal information you fill out in the application form. Silly mistakes like getting your name or your nominee’s name spelled wrong can create difficulties in processing your claims.

    • Select your motorbike with care –Your motorbike’s model, condition and overall performance can increase or decrease your premium rates. If you have a very expensive, imported bike such as a Harley Davidson, the insurance premiums will be higher, because repairs and spare parts will cost more. However, if your motorbike is a standard model, the insurance premium will be more competitive.

    • Always maintain authentic documents – Purchase of motorbike from an authorized dealer is the best bet. If you have purchased a second-hand model, always ensure that you also receive the original purchase documents from the seller. Also, get the motorbike registered in your name. Proper documents are very important at the time of applying for insurance as well as also for making and receiving claims.

    • Secure your motorbike – Unlike cars, bikes have no doors and are more likely to be stolen. Take measures to protect your bike from vandalism theft by always parking in designated areas, attaching locking mechanisms and using garages at night. You can negotiate with the insurer to reduce premium payment amounts provided you can offer proof of the security measures taken.

    • Go for regular repairs and maintenance – A motorbike which is maintained at peak performance condition will have less chance of accidents due to malfunctions. Insurers also tend to process claims fully and quickly if you can show the bills for such maintenance.

    • Use your motorbike normally – Do not think that just because you have motorbike insurance you can now perform stunts or participate in rash road races. Motorbikes are also used to transport gas cylinders and water jugs. Not only is it dangerous to life and limb, but insurance companies require the motorbike to be used in the normal way, that is, for transport only. Any deviation from normal operations will likely result in your claim being rejected.

    • Co-passenger safety – A motorbike is designed to carry only two persons at a time. However, in India, it is common to see parents, three kids and the family dog riding the motorbike. This is very dangerous. Insurers always investigate claims before paying out. If they prove that mishap occurred due to overloading the motorbike, you may not receive any money on your claim.

    • Riding Gear – Last but not least, always wear a helmet. Choose one that comes with a glass shield if you drive around in all weathers. Get a pair of sunglasses to reduce glare when you are driving in bright sunlight. These are simple things which can save you a lot of trouble.

Conclusion

Bike insurance is an absolute necessity. Safety always comes first. This article highlighted the areas you need to understand before you apply for bike insurance. However, if you need professional guidance, Policies365 can is one of the leading insurance consultants on the market. Their expert opinion can help you differentiate between different motorbike insurance policies on the market and get a great deal. Good Luck!

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