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Understanding Car Depreciation Rate in Car Insurance

Updated On Oct 09, 2023

Impact of Car Depreciation In Car Insurance Policy

Acquiring a car is a thrilling venture, but its value doesn't always stand the test of time. The financial intricacy of car ownership extends beyond the initial purchase, fuel costs, and maintenance. An essential yet often overlooked aspect is car depreciation, and it plays a pivotal role when it comes to car insurance claims in India. In this comprehensive guide, we shed light on the car depreciation rate and its implications on your automobile insurance.

Understanding Car Depreciation Rate in Car Insurance

What is Motor Car Depreciation Rate?


Car depreciation refers to the reduction in the value of your vehicle over time due to factors like wear and tear, age, or obsolescence. In simpler terms, it represents the rate at which your car loses its value from its original purchase price.

How It Works:

  1. Immediate Depreciation: The moment a new car rolls out of the dealership, it experiences a swift drop in value, typically around 5-10%. This initial dip is inevitable, even if the car is in pristine condition.
  1. Ongoing Value Loss: As the vehicle continues to age, clock more kilometres, and endure wear and tear, its value progressively declines. This process is continual and irreversible.

In the Context of Insurance:

  1. Impact on Claims: Depreciation rate is a crucial determinant in the calculation of claim amounts during the settlement process. Insurance companies consider the depreciated value of your car (and not the initial purchase price) when settling claims.
  1. Calculating IDV: The Insured Declared Value (IDV) of your vehicle, which is the maximum sum assured by the insurance company, is directly influenced by the depreciation rate. IDV represents the current market value of the car, which is calculated after deducting depreciation.

How To Calculate Car Depreciation?

Understanding car depreciation helps you gauge your vehicle's value over time, especially critical when filing insurance claims or selling the car in the future. Here’s a step-by-step approach to calculate car depreciation:

1. Determine Initial Value:

Start by identifying the car's initial value. This amount is typically the cost you paid when purchasing the vehicle.

2. Apply Depreciation Rate:

The general annual depreciation rate for cars in India is approximately 15% for the first year. However, the rate varies each year thereafter. Here’s a general guideline:

  • First Year: 15%
  • Second Year: 10%
  • Third Year: 10%
  • Fourth Year and Onwards: 5-10%

Apply the respective annual depreciation rate to the car’s initial value for each year of ownership.

3. Calculate Cumulative Depreciation:

Add up the depreciation for each year to calculate the total depreciation since the car's purchase.

4. Determine Current Value:

Subtract the cumulative depreciation from the initial value to get the current market value or depreciated value of the car.

Different Rates of Depreciation for Car Parts

When it comes to insurance claims for repairs or replacements, different car parts have different depreciation rates. Here's a breakdown in case you’re wondering what is the normal depreciation rate for car parts:

  1. Rubber/Plastic Parts, Tyres, and Tubes: The depreciation rate is 50% for rubber, plastic parts, and batteries, while tyres and tubes have a 50% depreciation after two years.
  1. Glass Parts: Windshields and other glass parts don’t usually depreciate unless there’s damage beyond wear and tear.
  1. Fibre Components: Fibreglass components have a 30% depreciation rate.
  1. Metal / Wooden Parts: The depreciation rate for metal parts varies depending on the car's age, ranging from 0% (for vehicles less than 6 months old) to 50% (for vehicles over 10 years old). The depreciation % keeps on increasing year over year - 

Less than 6 months = 0%

6 months to 1 year  = 5%

1 year   to 2 years   = 10%

2 years to 3 years   = 15%

3 years to 4 years   = 25%

4 years to 5 years   = 35%

5 years to 10 years = 40%

More than 10 years = 50%

  1. Paint: 50% depreciation on the material cost of total painting charges. 25% of the total painting charges (in case of consolidated bill of painting charges)

Why Does This Matter?

Knowing the car depreciation percentage for different parts is crucial when you're filing for an insurance claim due to damage or loss of specific components. Insurance companies use these rates to determine the amount to be paid out. Being informed helps you understand the settlement offered by your insurer better, ensuring you are in a better position to negotiate if necessary.

Understanding Car depreciation rate for income tax

When you use a car for business purposes in India, the Income Tax Act allows for depreciation to be claimed on the vehicle as a deduction from taxable income. This deduction reflects the decrease in the car's value over time due to wear and tear.

Depreciation Rate as per Income Tax Act:

The Income Tax Act, under Section 32, prescribes different rates of depreciation for various assets, including motor cars. For cars, the rate of depreciation depends on the type of vehicle and its use.

Cars Used for Business Purposes:

  1. For motor cars acquired and put to use on or after April 1, 1990, the prescribed depreciation rate is 15%.
  2. Additional depreciation is available at the rate of 20% for new cars used in a business, as per Section 32(1)(iia) of the Income Tax Act.

Cars Used for Personal Purposes:

If you use the car exclusively for personal purposes, you cannot claim depreciation. Depreciation on cars is only allowable if the vehicle is used for business or profession.

Calculation of Depreciation:

The calculation is generally based on the written down value (WDV) method, where the depreciation for the first year is calculated on the cost of the car, and for subsequent years, it's calculated on the reduced balance (i.e., cost of the car minus depreciation already claimed).

Examples for Clarity:

Suppose you purchase a car for business use for INR 10 Lakhs.

In the first year, you can claim depreciation of INR 1.5 Lakhs (15% of INR 10 Lakhs).

For the second year, the depreciation will be calculated on INR 8.5 Lakhs (INR 10 Lakhs - INR 1.5 Lakhs), which amounts to INR 1.27 Lakhs.

Important Points to Consider:

  1. Dual-Purpose Vehicle: If the car is used for both personal and business purposes, the depreciation should be claimed proportionately.
  2. Documentation: Maintain thorough records and documentation of the vehicle’s use for business purposes to substantiate your depreciation claims.

Is There Any Way to Avoid Depreciation?

While depreciation is an inevitable aspect of car ownership, there are methods to minimise its impact, though completely avoiding it is impractical. Here are some proactive steps:

1. Maintain Your Car Well:

A vehicle in excellent condition naturally has a higher value. Regular maintenance, prompt repairs, and diligent care can slow down the rate of depreciation.

2. Limit Your Mileage:

Cars with lower mileage tend to depreciate at a slower pace. If possible, limit the use of your vehicle for long trips to reduce wear and tear.

3. Opt for Popular Models:

Cars that are in demand in the second-hand market usually depreciate slower than those which are less popular. Choosing a model that’s likely to be in demand in the future can be a wise move.

4. Select Cars with Warranty:

Vehicles that come with extended warranties or certification can have a higher resale value, thus facing slower depreciation.

5. Cover Your Car with important add-on covers

Add-on covers such as Zero Depreciation cover help you in maintaining the original value of your car, while add-ons such as Engine Cover, Consumables cover help you in covering additional costs that might go into the repair of your vehicle as the your car gets older.

What is a Zero Depreciation Add-On Cover?

Zero Depreciation or Nil Depreciation is an add-on cover provided by car insurance companies in India. Here’s what it entails:

1. Full Coverage:

This cover ensures that in the event of a claim, the payout is not affected by the depreciation of the vehicle or its parts. You receive the full claim amount without any deduction for depreciation.

2. Premium Cost:

While zero depreciation cover offers substantial benefits, it comes at an additional premium cost. However, the increased premium is often justified by the comprehensive coverage it provides during claims.

3. Eligibility:

Generally, new cars or cars that are not more than five years old are eligible for zero depreciation cover. The eligibility criteria might vary slightly from one insurer to another.

4. Claim Limit:

Typically, insurance companies set a limit on the number of zero-depreciation claims that can be made annually. Make sure to check the details in your policy document.

5. Ideal For:

This add-on is especially beneficial for new car owners, people living in accident-prone areas, inexperienced drivers, and owners of luxury cars with expensive spare parts.

Please note - 

  1. Across most insurers zero depreciation is available till 5-7 years from the date of purchase of the vehicle hence please ensure that you research about applicability of zero depreciation cover as your car gets older.
  2. Additionally as your car gets older and if you had taken a claim in the previous year, insurers might not provide you with the option to buy zero depreciation insurance cover.
  3. Availability of zero depreciation cover is dependent on fuel type of the car, area where the car is driven, car model and hence please be very careful while trying to buy an insurance policy.

How to Buy a Zero Depreciation Add-On Cover?

Purchasing a Zero Depreciation add-on cover is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to guide you through the acquisition:

1. Evaluate Your Needs:

Before purchasing, assess whether you need a zero depreciation cover. This add-on is highly beneficial for new cars and luxury vehicles due to their higher depreciation rates.

2. Select Your Insurer:

Choose an insurance company that offers comprehensive policies along with the zero depreciation add-on. Compare different insurers based on their premiums, claim settlement ratio, and customer reviews.

3. Online Purchase:

Most insurers have an online presence. Visit their official website or a reputable insurance aggregator platform. Select your base policy and then choose the zero depreciation add-on.

4. Read Terms and Conditions:

Every insurer has specific terms and conditions for their zero depreciation cover. Familiarise yourself with the eligibility criteria, coverage limitations, and the number of claims allowed per year.

5. Pay the Premium:

Once satisfied, proceed to pay the premium. The premium for a zero depreciation add-on will be higher than a standard policy, but it offers extensive coverage.

Benefits of a Zero Depreciation Add-On Cover

Opting for a zero depreciation add-on cover brings along a host of advantages:

1. Full Claim Settlement:

Receive the full claim amount without deductions for depreciation, ensuring you can undertake necessary repairs or replacements without financial strain.

2. Stress-Free Claims:

With no need to worry about depreciation cutting into your claim amount, the process becomes stress-free and straightforward.

3. Enhanced Financial Protection:

Protect yourself from significant out-of-pocket expenses in case of extensive damages or loss to your vehicle.

4. Ideal for New Drivers:

If you’re a new driver, the chances of minor accidents are higher. Zero depreciation cover shields you from the financial implications of these incidents.

5. Protection for Expensive Parts:

For vehicles with costly components, this add-on is invaluable. It ensures that you receive the full cost of part replacement without depreciation deductions.

Final Thoughts

Though depreciation is unavoidable, smart choices and additional covers like zero depreciation can certainly mitigate its financial impact. Being informed and making calculated decisions regarding your vehicle and insurance policy will serve you well in the long run, helping you get the most out of your investment. 

Remember that a zero depreciation add-on cover is an excellent investment for car owners seeking comprehensive financial protection against damages. While it comes at an extra cost, the benefits it offers, particularly in the event of an accident, make it a worthwhile purchase. Make an informed decision by understanding its features and aligning them with your requirements, ensuring peace of mind on the road. 


  1. When it comes to insurance, what does car depreciation mean?

The term "car depreciation" describes how age, wear, and tear cause your car's value to decrease over time. Because insurers take into account the car's current market worth rather than its purchase price, this depreciation has an impact on the amount of the claim payment.

  1. How are insurance claims depreciation calculations made?

Depreciation is computed using the vehicle's and its components' ages. Depreciation rates vary by component, with cars under six months old depreciating at 0% and vehicles over ten years old depreciating at 50%.

  1. Is it possible to stop car depreciation entirely?

Sadly, depreciation on cars is unavoidable. On the other hand, you can lessen its effects by taking good care of your car, driving fewer miles, and choosing models with a high market value.

  1. What does an auto insurance zero depreciation add-on entail?

By guaranteeing that you receive the entire claim amount without any depreciation deductions, a Zero Depreciation add-on offers comprehensive coverage for the costs of repair and replacement for your car.

  1. Is the higher cost for the Zero Depreciation coverage worth it?

The Zero Depreciation policy is frequently worth the extra premium if you drive a luxury or new automobile because it provides comprehensive coverage, which guarantees peace of mind and large savings in the event of a claim.

  1. How many times under the Zero Depreciation programme may I make a claim?

Different insurers allow different numbers of claims under a Zero Depreciation policy. Generally, there are restrictions; for more information, see the terms and conditions of the policy.

  1. Can older vehicles be covered under Zero Depreciation?

In general, vehicles older than five years are not eligible for Zero Depreciation coverage; however, specific insurance companies may have different requirements.

  1. Do all auto parts fall under the Zero Depreciation cover?

The Zero Depreciation policy covers the majority of auto parts, though there may be some exceptions. Always carefully study the policy documentation to ascertain the scope of coverage and any exclusions.

  1. Is it possible to purchase Zero Depreciation insurance for my used car?

The age of the car typically determines eligibility for Zero Depreciation coverage. You can buy this coverage if your used car fulfils the insurer's age requirements, which are usually not older than five years.

  1. How does the premium amount change with the Zero Depreciation add-on?

Incorporating a Zero Depreciation clause into your coverage results in a higher premium. For many automobile owners, it's a helpful addition because it offers substantial coverage at a variable exact price.


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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