Mohan, 22, is a student of Madras University. While coming back from college on his bike one day, he met with an accident and was hospitalised for a week. After spending more than a month convalescing at home, he is almost fit now and will be returning to college in two days. However, there is one question that is bothering him. How will he commute? His bike is damaged beyond recognition and he doesn’t have enough funds to get it repaired as all his parents’ savings were utilised for his medical treatment.
Mohan could have easily avoided being in this conundrum if he had bought two wheeler insurance cover for his bike, but he did not. Mohan is not alone in this oversight.
The Indian automobile industry is one of the largest in the world and 70% of this industry is two-wheelers. However, just like Mohan, 75% of two wheeler owners in the country have not insured their vehicles. This comes as a big shock not just because so many people take the risk of driving on the dangerous Indian roads without insurance, but also because Third Party Liability insurance is mandatory by the Indian Law.
Why is Third Party Liability insurance important?
Third party liability insurance covers for the damages that occur to any person or property other than you and your vehicle in the event of an accident. The person harmed (or his/her family, in case he/she doesn’t survive the accident) gets the payout amount from the insurance provider. In the absence of third party insurance, the vehicle owner has to pay for damages to the injured person/dead person’s family; the amount for which is decided by court. This could become a major financial burden for the vehicle owner as he/she would already be paying a hefty sum for vehicle repairs and his/her own medical treatment.
Supreme Court comes to the rescue
This year in May, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) briefed the Supreme Court on the appalling number of two wheelers running without a third party insurance cover. The court promptly directed the Road Safety Committee it had appointed to work closely with the transport ministry to develop a protocol that can detect vehicles running without insurance.
Lax enforcement agencies
Two wheelers are becoming popular in rural areas as well. However, in these areas too, not all two-wheelers are covered under insurance due to the leniency shown by the enforcement agencies. It is also for this reason that most two wheeler owners do not renew their vehicle’s insurance policy once it lapses.
Transport Ministry springs into action
The transport ministry, with help from National Informatics Centre, is preparing a list of two wheelers that are running without an insurance cover. Once that is done, they will send the lists to the respective states for their enforcement agencies to take action against the offenders.
Better insured than penalised
By driving a two wheeler without insurance, you are not just putting yourself and your loved ones at risk but are also endangering third parties.
The new Road Transport and Safety Bill proposes heavy penalty for vehicles without insurance; including impounding of vehicles and imprisonment of owners. So, if you haven’t bought an insurance cover for your two-wheeler yet, you must do it as soon as possible.
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With 56 road accidents and 16 resultant deaths occurring every hour in 2014, 27.3% of which involve two wheelers, it has never been a better time to learn more about the precautions you can take to rider safer.