June 25, 2010 / 2:31 PM / 9 years ago

Renewing your car insurance policy

By iTrust Financial Advisors (www.itrust.in)

An executive helps a customer to fill up his application form for a car at a showroom in Mumbai April 9, 2009. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe/Files

Renewing your car insurance policy is as important as buying it the first time. Here we explain how you can renew your policy with the same or a new insurer.

How to renew the policy with the same insurer?

Typically, a few weeks before the expiry of your current policy, an agent for the insurance company might call to inform you that your policy is coming to and end that you will need to renew your policy.

If you are planning on renewing with the same company, then this agent can pay you a visit to take care of the paperwork for the renewal application.

The homework that you need to do is to evaluate the cover level that you require, as well as whether there are any options you wish to add or remove.

For instance, if you have just added a new music system, or made some improvement to the car, then if you want these to be covered, you need to specifically disclose these at the time of the application.

You can make the premium payment by giving a cheque to the agent. At this point you will get a cover note from the agent, which is a document that confirms that the car is insured, and is a temporary certificate while you receive the original policy.

Within 15 days of the payment, you will receive the original policy paper by post or the agent will come to give them to you.

If you haven’t got a reminder call from the insurer’s side, you can follow these steps:

1) Renew your policy online: You can visit the website of the insurer and renew the policy online by entering the old policy details. The benefit of online renewal is that the policy papers can be instantly printed in original form.

You don’t need to go through the offline process of filling a proposal form, getting a cover note and then finally getting the original policy.

2) Call the insurer and request for renewal: If you don’t want to follow an online process, you can notify the insurer that you want to renew your policy. They will send you a proposal form to obtain sufficient information like your personal details, information about your previous policy, any previous claims, and discounts that you might be entitled to.

After you have submitted the duly filled forms to the insurer, an agent will come to collect the cheque from you. The policy papers should reach you by post within 15 days of getting the cheque.

In case your existing policy has lapsed, i.e., has expired a physical verification of your car is done by the insurance company before the new policy is issued.

What if you want to change your insurer at the time of renewal?

At the time of renewal you might decide that you want to change the insurance company, either because you are unhappy with the service provided, or because another insurer is giving you better terms and price. Whatever the reason, you need to take the following steps:

1) Start the process 30 days before expiry: You car should not be uninsured, so avoid a situation where there is a gap in your coverage. Start the process early, at least a month before your policy expires so that the paperwork of moving your coverage from one company to another does not delay you or cause your vehicle to be uninsured

2) Inform previous insurer: Notify the old insurance company at least a month in advance that you will not be taking the new policy from them. Ask them to share with you details of whether you are eligible for any discounts like no claim bonus. You can get this same discount with the new insurer you are going to choose

3) Deal with new insurance company: Share these details with the new insurance company and ask them to give you whatever discounts and benefits you are eligible for, especially if you have a no claim bonus you are entitled to.

Get the cover note from the new insurer and thereafter the wait for the original policy certificate to arrive.

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