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Everything You Need to Know About Private Car Insurance

Published On Sep 26, 2023

All About Private Car Insurance

India, the most populated nation in the world, has an increasing number of private vehicles on its highways. Such expansion is accompanied by a corresponding increase in thefts, damages, and accidents. Therefore, car insurance is required for all vehicles operating on Indian highways by the government. Beyond legal requirements, nonetheless, it is imperative that all automobile owners comprehend the fundamentals of private auto insurance. It provides a safety net against unforeseen expenses and liabilities.

What is private car insurance?

Unlike commercial or public vehicle insurance, private car insurance is intended only for use on personal vehicles. Vehicles utilised for paid passenger transport, cargo transportation, or business services are not covered by it. Private auto insurance basically offers financial protection against property loss or physical harm brought on by auto accidents, as well as any liabilities that may emerge from them.

In India, there are basically three kinds of private auto insurance:

  1. Third-party liability insurance is a fundamental type of car insurance that is required by Indian law. It pays for any legal obligations resulting from harm the insured vehicle causes to a third party. This could involve accidental harm to oneself or others, fatalities, or property damage. It does not, however, pay for harm done to the covered vehicle or its owner.
  2. Comprehensive car insurance: As the name implies, comprehensive car insurance is a more all-encompassing type of coverage. In addition to covering third-party responsibility, it also provides owner and vehicle damage protection. Usually included are factors like thefts, fires, accidents, natural disasters, and even damages from vandalism or rioting.
  3. Standalone own damage car insurance: While buying a new vehicle, vehicle owners have to buy long term policies (3 years for Car, and 5 years for Bike) hence to safeguard their own vehicle, they have to buy StandAlone Own Damage Insurance. This type of insurance safeguards their own vehicle against any damage that might arise
  4. Furthermore, drivers can choose from a variety of riders or add-ons to expand the policy's coverage. Roadside assistance, engine and gearbox protection, zero depreciation cover, consumables are common add-ons.

Here’s another piece of the puzzle that you must understand. The sums paid on a regular basis to keep the insurance coverage in place are called premiums, and they vary depending on a number of factors such as the age, make and model of the vehicle, the area, the owner's driving record, and the type of coverage selected.

Everything You Need to Know About Private Car Insurance

What does private car insurance cover?

In India, a private auto insurance policy usually offers a wide range of coverages to protect drivers against a variety of hazards. Although the precise coverage may vary depending on the insurer and the particular policy selected, the following is typically covered:

1. Third-party Liabilities: Every auto insurance policy, as required by the Motor Vehicles Act, offers protection against any legal obligations resulting from unintentional damages that cause a third party to suffer permanent injury, death, or property damage.

2. Own Damage: This refers to the harm done to the insured car directly. It might result from:

  • Accidents: Any harm brought on by crashes or mishaps.
  • Natural Calamities: The harm brought about by calamities like storms, landslides, floods, earthquakes, and cyclones.
  • Man-made Disasters: These include riots, strikes, acts of terrorism, and any other malevolent deed that causes harm.
  • Theft: The insurance policy makes sure that the policyholder gets paid the insured amount (also known as the vehicle's insured declared value or IDV) in the sad event that the insured car is stolen.

3. Personal Accident Coverage: This offers a one-time payment in the event that an accident involving the insured vehicle results in death or permanent complete disability.

4. Fire/Explosion Damage: Damages from unintentional fires, explosions, self-ignition, or lightning strikes that impact the insured vehicle are categorised as fire and explosion damages.

5. Transport related damage: Covers any damages that may arise when a vehicle is being transported by road, rail, air, or sea.

What does a private car insurance policy not cover?

Although private auto insurance provides extensive coverage, it's critical to recognise its limitations. The following are some exclusions that are typically not covered by a typical private auto insurance policy:

  1. Normal Wear and Tear: This excludes depreciation, wear and tear, and any ensuing harm.
  2. Mechanical or Electrical Breakdown: Defects or malfunctions pertaining to the vehicle's electrical or mechanical components.
  3. Damage from Impaired Driving: Any collision or injury brought on by a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  4. Drive Without a Valid Licence: This refers to any damages that happen when a driver operates a vehicle without a valid licence.
  5. Nuclear Risks and War: This section does not include damages resulting from nuclear fission, radiation, or war-related activities.
  6. Vehicle Usage Beyond Limits: Any damage or accident will not be covered if the vehicle is used for purposes not covered by the policy, such as using a private automobile for business travel, or if it is used outside of the designated geographic area.
  7. Tyre Damage: Although tyre damage may be covered, claims may only be allowed for a portion of the total claim (often 50% of replacement cost) if the vehicle hasn't sustained damage at the same time.
  8. Contractual Liability: An insurance policy is not covered if the insured party has agreed to take on liability that otherwise would not have materialised.

How can you enhance a private car insurance package policy? 

Even while a normal private auto insurance package policy is extensive, it may not meet the needs of every individual. Thankfully, there are a number of riders or add-ons that insurance companies in India offer that may be added to your base policy to increase its coverage and guarantee more comprehensive protection. Boost your private auto insurance policy in the following ways:

  1. Zero Depreciation Cover: Also referred to as bumper-to-bumper cover, this add-on makes sure that no depreciation is deducted from the coverage to replace damaged parts in the event of a claim. That is, you receive the entire claim amount, net of all deductions.
  2. Engine and Gearbox Protection Cover: This cover protects the engine and gearbox from any damage caused by leaks or infiltration of water, and it is especially useful in locations that are prone to waterlogging.
  3. Roadside Assistance Coverage: This very useful add-on offers services like towing, fuelling, replacing flat tyres, and even small repairs in the event that your vehicle breaks down in the middle of the road.
  4. No Claim Bonus (NCB) Protect: This guarantees that even in the event that you file a claim during the policy's duration, your accrued NCB will not be reduced to zero. Every year you go without filing a claim is worth 10% off your premium with NCB.
  5. Return to Invoice Cover: You would receive the entire ex-showroom price of your vehicle or the invoice value in the event of total loss or theft, as opposed to merely the current market value (IDV). Please note that this cover is available till only 
  6. Key Replacement Cover: It can be expensive to misplace or lose your car keys. This add-on pays for the costs associated with purchasing a new set of keys.
  7. Passenger Personal Accident Coverage: This add-on guarantees the same degree of coverage for passengers in the case of an accident, even when the driver is protected by regular insurance.
  8. Daily Allowance Cover: This coverage helps you keep track of your transportation expenses while your automobile is in the shop for lengthy repairs.
  9. Tyre Protection Cover: This pays for any damage to the tyres without deducting normal wear and tear from the amount covered.

Does purchasing a private vehicle package make sense?

For Indian car owners, private auto insurance is not only a need under the law but also a vital source of financial security. It is strongly advised to choose a package policy, which provides more extensive coverage than only third-party insurance. This is the reason why:

  1. All-inclusive Coverage: A package coverage guarantees defence against vehicle damage as well as against obligations to third parties. The wider coverage provides peace of mind given the variety of possible dangers, including accidents, thefts, natural disasters, and man-made hazards.
  2. Financial Safety: Replacing stolen parts or fixing a damaged car can be very expensive. Such unforeseen costs are protected against by package coverage, so you're never taken off guard.
  3. Add-on Flexibility: The flexibility to add particular add-ons to package policies is a major benefit. You can customise the coverage to precisely meet your needs, whether it's engine protection or zero depreciation.
  4. Legal Compliance: Having a comprehensive policy guarantees that you're always in compliance with the law, even if the accident's circumstances call for larger coverage, even though third-party insurance is required by law.
  5. Increased Resale Value: Because they show careful ownership and upkeep, cars with a thorough insurance history frequently fetch more at auction.
  6. Personal Safety: A package policy protects more than just the car; it also covers the people who ride in it. Examples of this coverage are personal accident and passenger protection.

In summary, although the initial expenses of a private vehicle package policy may surpass those of a standard third-party policy, the advantages over time render it a prudent financial decision. The ability to select particular add-ons and the wider coverage guarantee that the car and its occupants are sufficiently protected against unanticipated events.

Can you get private car insurance for company car drivers? 

You certainly can do this. However, getting private car insurance for company car drivers necessitates a thorough comprehension of the roles, coverages, and potential risks. Let’s understand the nuances: 

  1. Purpose and Ownership: A car may still qualify as a "company car" even though it is driven by an individual for both personal and professional reasons. However, in this scenario, the driver needs to be covered for private use as well.
  2. Commercial Car Insurance: Generally, a commercial or business auto insurance coverage will cover a vehicle owned by the firm. This type of insurance frequently concentrates on the larger liabilities that an organisation may encounter, particularly if several employees use the vehicle.
  3. Adding Private Usage Coverage: It may be necessary to purchase a particular add-on or rider that covers private usage in order to provide protection while the vehicle is being used for non-business purposes. Policies that combine personal and business coverages are provided by certain insurers.
  4. Driver's Coverage: The driver may think about obtaining personal auto insurance in addition to the company's coverage if they would like to guarantee additional security, particularly with regard to personal liabilities not covered by the policy.
  5. NCB: Clarifying the management of No-Claim Bonuses (NCBs) is crucial. The bonus may be accumulated if a motorist does not file a claim for the entire year. However, since it's a work vehicle, the business may be held accountable for the NCB rather than the specific driver. The driver may accrue NCB on whatever additional private insurance they may have.
  6. Factors Affecting the Premium: The type, model, and mileage of a company vehicle may have an impact on the cost of private insurance. In the event that the vehicle is an import or a high-end model, the premium may increase. Similarly, even on the private side of coverage, the rate may change if the vehicle is regularly utilised for lengthy business trips.

Suggested actions:

  1. Clear Demarcation: It's best to have a mutually agreed upon and clear understanding of the duties with the employer. In the event of an accident on a personal trip as opposed to one on a professional trip, who pays? Simple language can help avoid problems down the road.
  2. Avoid Overlaps: Make sure there are no overlaps between the company's commercial policy and the private insurance you are thinking about by performing a double coverage check. You won't have to pay for the same coverage more than once thanks to this.
  3. Rules and Customs: Consistently follow local rules and insurance customs. In India, for example, all vehicles, whether private or commercial, must have third-party liability insurance.

Always seek advice from insurance agents or experts to customise coverage based on unique circumstances.

Final Thoughts

It may appear difficult at first to navigate India's complex private car insurance market, but with the correct knowledge and insight, it becomes a simple process. Purchasing comprehensive auto insurance is a wise choice that not only keeps one in accordance with the law but also preserves one's financial stability, peace of mind, and priceless possession. Car owners can get the best coverage that suits their needs by balancing the advantages against the disadvantages and tailoring policies with pertinent add-ons. A strong private car insurance policy acts as a reliable barrier, warding off unanticipated hardships in an uncertain world.


1) What distinguishes comprehensive auto insurance from third-party coverage?

The answer is that third-party insurance, as required by law, pays for harm your car causes to other people or their property. Conversely, comprehensive insurance offers wider coverage, covering damage to other people's property as well as harm to your own car brought on by theft, natural disasters, accidents, and other events.

2) Is it required to have auto insurance in India?

According to the Motor automobiles Act, third-party auto insurance is indeed required for all automobiles operating on Indian highways.

3) How is the cost of an auto insurance premium determined?

A number of variables affect the premium, such as the age, make, and model of the vehicle, the owner's driving record, the selected coverage type, and any optional features.

4) What does an auto insurance No Claim Bonus (NCB) mean?

The policyholder receives an NCB, or no claims bonus, on their premium for each year they remain claim-free. It can build up over time and result in significant savings if no claims are filed.

5) Can I move my NCB to a different vehicle?

NCB is associated with the policyholder rather than the car. You can move the NCB from the insurance of your previous vehicle to the insurance of your new one if you buy a new one.

6) What do riders and add-ons mean in auto insurance?

You can improve the coverage of your basic auto insurance policy by adding riders or add-ons to it. Roadside help, engine protection, and zero depreciation coverage are a few examples.

7) What should I do in the event that an accident involves my car?

First and foremost, make sure that everyone is safe. After that, let the police know and, if required, file a FIR. Take pictures of the incident, record witness information, and notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Follow the instructions in the claims process.

8) What occurs if I neglect to timely renew my auto insurance?

You run the risk of driving without insurance, which is against the law, if you don't renew it before it expires. Additionally, accrued benefits like NCB would be forfeited.

9) How can I lower the cost of my auto insurance?

One option to lower the rate is to install safety devices, choose voluntary deductibles, take advantage of NCB, and bundle insurance policies. Comparing rules and haggling with suppliers can also be beneficial.

10) Does damage caused by natural disasters get covered by private auto insurance?

In general, damages resulting from natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, cyclones, and more are covered if you have comprehensive auto insurance.


This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.

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