Bharti AXA General Insurance is now part of ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

Bharti AXA General Insurance is now part of ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

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  • How to Link Your Aadhaar Card with Your Driving Licence

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 21, 2022

    The Aadhaar card is one of the most important identity documents for Indians. It is critical for availing of the benefits of various government schemes. As part of attaching all other official identity documents with the Aadhaar card, the Central government has listed guidelines to link your Aadhaar card with your driving licence. It means two-wheeler and four-wheeler owners would now need to share their Aadhaar card details to obtain a new driving licence. Also, you must have your Aadhaar card attached to your driving licence for licence renewal purposes.

    The UIDAI mandates Indian citizens to link their Aadhaar cards with their driving licence to curb the growing menace of duplicate and fake driver’s licences in the country. A report by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways revealed that 30% of driver’s licences in India are fraudulent. They expect the new provision to overcome the problem of forged and counterfeit documents.

    In addition to linking the Aadhaar card with the driving licence, vehicle owners must buy a robust motor insurance policy to safeguard themselves against road mishaps and related losses.

    A detailed guide on how to link your Aadhaar card with your driving licence

    State road transport departments issue driving licences to the residents of their respective states and union territories. To link your Aadhaar card with your driving licence, visit the website of your state transport department or that of the state where the driving licence was issued.

    Remember, the process for linking an Aadhaar card with a driving licence may vary slightly from state to state. However, the need to have a valid bike and/or car insurance plan, depending on the vehicle(s) you own, is uniform across India.

    To link your Aadhaar card with your driving licence, follow these steps:

    1. Visit the relevant licence-issuing state road transport department website.
    2. Search for the “Link Aadhaar” tab on the homepage of the given website and click on it.
    3. It will take you to a new webpage. Find the “Aadhaar Number Entry" tab and click on it.
    4. Select the “Driving Licence” tab from the drop-down menu.
    5. When the system prompts, enter your licence number.
    6. Click on the “Get Details" tab.
    7. Your driving licence details would appear on the screen.
    8. Now, enter your UIDAI-registered mobile number and 12-digit Aadhaar card number in the appropriate boxes.
    9. Double-check entered details. Then, click the “Submit” tab.
    10. The system will generate an OTP and send it to your registered mobile number for verification purposes.
    11. Once the OTP is verified, your Aadhaar card will be linked with your driving licence on the official portal of the state transport department.

    Benefits of linking the Aadhaar card with your driving licence

    Some benefits of linking your Aadhaar card with your driving licence are:

    • It will help in reducing corrupt practices, improve transparency, and make the licence-issuing process easy, smooth, and hassle-free.
    • Government agencies can access the database containing licence details of all vehicle owners in India via the Aadhaar-based unified platform.
    • Authorised agencies can identify fake driving licences from genuine ones through this drive.
    • Transport authorities can sift out forged documents and take disciplinary action against individuals with multiple licences.
    • The consolidated online database bearing details of automobile owners in India will dissuade people from renewing duplicate licences.
    • Individuals can receive their driving licence within 72 hours after passing the driving test thanks to electronic processing.
    • Linking the Aadhaar card with the driving licence will go a long way in reducing the number of road accidents since individuals cannot obtain a licence without clearing the driving test.
    • Both individuals and government bodies can benefit from quicker and hassle-free operations.
  • 6 Airbags Mandatory in Cars from 1st October 2023

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 21, 2022

    Similar to the mandatory third-party motor insurance, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has made 6 airbags mandatory in all cars starting October 2023. In the wake of the rising number of road accidents in India, Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said that all M1 category passenger vehicles must have 6 airbags to ensure the safety of the passengers.

    Initially, the road transport ministry was set to make 6 airbags mandatory in all 8-seater passenger vehicles starting 1st October 2022. However, it could not be implemented due to supply chain disruptions in the global automobile manufacturing sector.

    In July 2019, the Government made it mandatory for all cars to have a driver airbag. Later, in January 2022, dual front bags were made compulsory to protect the driver and front seat passenger in the event of an accident.

    The accidental death of Cyrus Mistry, the former Tata Sons Chairman, at Palghar in Maharashtra in September 2022 stirred raging debates over road safety measures in India.

    What is the M1 Category of Vehicles?

    The M1 category of vehicles refers to passenger vehicles equipped with up to 8 seats, including the driver’s seat. The M1 category of vehicles includes MUVs, SUVs, hatchbacks, and sedans.

    The new rule prioritises the safety of all passengers travelling in cars notwithstanding the cost or the variant of the vehicle. Previously, Nitin Gadkari had urged car manufacturers to adopt safety norms for ensuring the safety of passengers, especially those using economy cars.

    He had said that most automobile manufacturers in India export cars equipped with 6 airbags but are hesitant to sell them in India due to their high cost. He highlighted that not much thought is given to the safety of people driving economy cars in India.

    If you are a car owner, think of your financial protection. Purchasing comprehensive car insurance is a step in that direction. It is a good strategy to compare various car insurance online and choose the plan that best suits your needs.

    A Note About the Safety Mechanisms in Cars

    Both airbags and seatbelts are part of the safety mechanism in cars. Seatbelts secure the seat occupants and prevent them from being thrown out by force. On the other side, airbags fitted into cars interfere between the driver and the hard surface on the front during the collision, reducing the possibility of serious injuries. An airbag is an inflated safety device designed to protect passengers during road accidents. However, an airbag alone is not enough. You must be wearing your seatbelt for the airbag to save you.

    An airbag comprises a diagnostic monitoring unit, a steering wheel connector coil, an airbag module, an indicator lamp, and crash sensors. All these airbag constituents are integrated and powered by the car battery.

    When abrupt decelerations are detected, the crash sensors start transmitting electrical signals, activating the initiator. As a result, there is a rapid chemical reaction, which leads to nitrogen emissions and bloating of the airbag immediately.

    Because of this, a plastic module inflates to protect the passenger from hitting anything hard in the front due to the impact. After inflating for one-tenth of a second, the bag deflates in three-tenths of a second after the impact. Airbags contain a mixture of cornstarch and talcum powder and this mix gets released when the bag opens.

  • How to Avoid Making Minor Claims and Save Car Insurance NCB

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 16, 2022

    A car policy offers financial security in case of a mishap or loss related to your car. As a policyholder, you hold the right to file a claim for any damage to your car. However, before making a claim, consider questions such as, “Should I claim insurance for minor damage? Can a no-claim bonus protection plan help in covering the losses better?” Assess the extent of loss, the impact on NCB (No Claim Bonus), deductibles to be borne by you, and future premium costs before making a claim. Here’s everything you need to know.   

    What is NCB in car insurance?

    No Claim Bonus or NCB is the discount offered by an insurer on your own damage (OD) or comprehensive car insurance for being a safe driver. Yes, it is the reward for driving safely and not raising any claim during the previous policy term. It begins only after you complete one claim-free year and is given a 20% discount on the premium amount for the next policy. With each passing claim-free year, you can go on accumulating NCBs until it reaches the peak of 50% of your premium amount. However, you must have consecutive claim-free years to be able to do that. Once you file a claim, you lose NCB, and then you must start accumulating it from the scratch. You will get an idea from the following table:

    Period of Insurance % of NCB on OD Premium
    The preceding year 20%
    Preceding Two consecutive years 25%
    Preceding Three consecutive years 35%
    Preceding Four consecutive years 45%
    Preceding Five consecutive years 50%


    The NCB increases every claim-free year up to 5 years. The percentage of NCB offered depends on the insurance provider and may vary from one insurance company to another. 

    Advantages of No Claim Bonus on car insurance premium:

    • Discount on renewal premium

    Filing a claim should not be the first thing on your mind whenever you see a scratch or a minor dent in the car. They are certainly covered but using the car insurance policy just for making the car look shiny and flawless will increase the future premium amount when you renew the policy. File a claim only when there is a major expense due to an accident or damage beyond repair, car theft, or replacement of major parts. Avoid claiming for expenses that you can afford and save the NCBs for discounts on your renewal premium.

    • Lower premium on second car

    If you want to replace the car and buy another one, you have the option of transferring the policy and carrying forward the NCBs for your new car. This way you can make a good amount of savings in the new policy premium even if you are switching insurers. The process of NCB transfer is simple and quick. Ask your previous insurer to transfer the NCB and issue an NCB certificate. When you approach the new insurer, present this certificate and NCBs will be transferred to the new policy.

    • Good claim history

    Filing insurance claims frequently will adversely impact your claim history and increase your renewal premium. The rate of increase in renewal premium could be due to repetitive claims, nature of the claims and terms of each insurer. So, try to maintain a good claim history by retaining NCBs.

  • What to do if an Uninsured Driver Hits Your Car?

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 16, 2022

    Accidents are common on Indian roads. And what are just as common are people using their vehicles on roads without valid insurance. Although it is mandatory to have third-party insurance in India, it is far from being followed by all vehicle owners. So, what happens if your car is hit by an uninsured motorist? While your insurance will cover the damage caused to the third party and their vehicle, who will cover the damages to your car and your medical expenses in case of an injury? Today, we will focus on what to do if you meet with a car accident and the other driver has no insurance.

    • Note details: 

    When the at-fault driver tries to flee the scene of the collision, instead of chasing him, make note to jot down the vehicle's details such as the registration number, brand and model number. If the at-fault driver remains at the accident scene, try to gather as much information as possible. Based on the details you get about the other vehicle and uninsured motorist, you can file a police complaint and get the other driver to pay for your car’s repair.

    • Find witness:

    It may so happen that an uninsured motorist hits your car and flees the scene of the accident. In such situations, the only way to learn more about the offender and his vehicle is through a witness. Look for witnesses and check with them if they noticed the other vehicle’s registration number or make. You may also check  if they are willing to testify and record their statement against the at-fault driver. If they do, make a note of their contact information.

    • Security cameras:

    The accident could have happened when your car was on the road or while it was parked in a parking lot. Either way, it is always a good idea to check the security cameras in the vicinity of the site of accident. Surveillance cameras are common in city squares, supermarkets, and mall parking lots and they can assist you in tracking down the details of the uninsured vehicle that hit your car. If you can't find a security camera, ask around to see if any local shops or residences have captured the incident. If you come across any recordings, save them to your phone or laptop for later use.

    • Take photographs:

    Regardless of whether you find any information or details of uninsured motorists or not, it is advised that you take photographs of your damaged car at the site of the accident itself. The photographs will serve as proof of collision and damage to your vehicle and will assist you in obtaining compensation from uninsured motorists.

    • Inform the police:

    Once you have gathered enough information on your own, it's time to file an official complaint against the driver at fault. After lodging the FIR, the police will initiate an investigation and may be able to track down the driver who caused the damage to your vehicle. Filing the FIR immediately after an accident is important because the insurer will require a copy of the FIR for filing third-party vehicle insurance claims. Therefore, if the at-fault driver is underinsured or uninsured, you must submit a copy of the FIR to their insurer. FIR copies also help in obtaining compensation from uninsured motorists.

  • Essential Car Checklist for Long Trip

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 16, 2022

    Things to Check before a Long Car Journey

    Road trips have a charm of their own. The fun of a road trip is rarely about the destination, but the journey itself. But what happens if your car breaks down in the middle of the trip? And if that happens on a lonely stretch or at an ungodly hour, your dream trip can quickly turn into a terrifying nightmare. To save yourself from hefty expenses, you may have bought a good online car insurance policy, but that would not help you with the stress and time invested in bringing the situation under control and resuming your travel. However, timely car checks and preparing your car for a long road trip can save you from unnecessary trouble during the journey. Here are some things you must check before embarking on a long road trip.

    Top 10 car inspections to perform before hitting the road:

    Check your battery

    Nothing can be more frustrating than being stranded on the road because your car’s battery gave up midway. Therefore, checking your car’s battery before a road trip must top your list of priorities. Whether it's too cold or hot, running a car in extreme conditions can take a toll on your car's battery. Also, if your car battery is more than three years old, you should get it tested at one of your nearest certified garages. You may go for a battery replacement if you are not satisfied with its condition.

    Car insurance policy

    Before revving up your car’s accelerator and kickstarting your trip, remember to check your car insurance policy. You must know its terms and conditions to be better prepared in the face of a mishap. If you are planning a long road trip, you may even want to expand its coverage by buying relevant add-ons such as roadside assistance cover, engine protection cover, and more. Also, see if your car insurance policy is up to date. If it has expired, online car insurance renewal can help you in securing your drive in no time.

    Replace air filters

    If you have not replaced your car's air filters in a long time, you may be setting yourself up for a bad trip. Driving with clogged air filters inhibits fresh air from reaching your engine, causing gradual damage to the engine and other internal components. To make your journey pleasant and free of any unnecessary halts, consider using washable and reusable air filters for greater filtration.

    Emergency kit:

    Irrespective of the length of your planned road trip, it is never a good idea to drive your car around without an emergency kit. Before taking your car out of the parking lot, check for the first-aid kit. You may also opt for a personal accident cover along with the car insurance policy to safeguard yourself during road mishaps. Meanwhile, an emergency kit is more than a first-aid kit. It should include a flashlight, jumper cables, some basic car repair equipment, flares, and a few other items.

    Fill the fuel tank

    If you are planning an adventurous trip to the mountains or some far away remote place, make sure your car's fuel tank is full. It is not uncommon to find travellers stranded on roads because they ran out of fuel. Plus, hilly terrains and remote areas may not have many petrol pumps in the vicinity. Therefore, to avoid an unpleasant encounter like this, make a note of this pointer on your checklist before you start your journey. If you are driving an electric vehicle, check to see if it is fully charged.

    Car lights

    If you are taking your car out on the road during night hours or in foggy conditions, you must check your car's headlights. If your car lights are not working or if their brightness has gone down, consider replacing them with new ones. Driving with dim headlights is not only difficult but is riskier as well.

  • Top 10 Most Important Traffic Rules For Car Drivers

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 16, 2022

    Road mishaps are a major source of concern for both citizens and the government in India. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, every 100 road crashes in 2017, 2018, and 2019 resulted in 32, 34, and 35 deaths, respectively. To curb the number of road mishaps and lower the death rate due to accidents, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has laid down several road safety rules in India. Since the number of vehicles on the road is increasing with each passing day, it is important to educate ourselves on various road safety and traffic rules in India. Today, we will look at some important four-wheeler traffic rules in India.

    Top 10 most important traffic rules for car drivers

    1. Do not drink and drive

    Drinking and driving may look like fun but it is far more dangerous not just to self but for others too. Besides risking the lives of people on the road, co-passengers and self, being caught driving while inebriated can land you in big trouble with authorities.

    What do four-wheeler traffic rules in India have to say about drunken driving? 

    • According to Indian law, if you are found driving with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.03% in your body, then you are breaking the law. 
    • The permissible limit for alcohol is 30mg per 100ml of blood. 
    • If you are found drinking and driving, you will be penalized for an amount ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000. 

    Drunken driving also attracts imprisonment for a period ranging from 7 months to 4 years.

    2. Car Insurance

    According to the MV Act of 1981, driving without minimum coverage in the form of third-party liability cover can attract penalties. If your car is not insured or if your car insurance has expired and you are still driving the uninsured car, the traffic authority can fine you for Rs 2,000. If the same offense is committed again, a penalty of up to Rs 4,000 can be imposed.

    3. Always wear your seat belt

    Don't call yourself a safe driver if you don't wear your seat belt around your chest and waist habitually. Driving a car with a seat belt not only ensures your safety but is also mandatory under the law. If you are caught breaking this car traffic rule, you could face a fine of up to Rs 1,000.

    4. Don't use a mobile phone while driving

    Using a cell phone while operating the steering wheel can cause distraction and lead to an accident. According to the new MV rules that came into effect on 1 October 2020, the driver can use his or her mobile phone only as a navigational device. If you are caught talking on the phone or for any purpose other than navigation, you will be fined for an amount up to Rs 5,000. Using a phone while driving can attract imprisonment for a year.

  • Basic Car Insurance Maintenance Checklist

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 16, 2022

    Regular car maintenance is essential to keep it in top condition. While you need to replace some parts from time to time, regular checks can help extend the life of your car and cut down visits to repair shops. In the process, they also help you save money and ensure you drive optimum performance from your vehicle.

    Also, checking the fitness of a car isn’t as time-consuming as you think. Regular fitness checks encompass a range of things, and this article covers all of them. What are these? Let’s find out.

    Level of Engine Oil

    Engine oil has a vital role to play in your car’s performance. It is essential for the smooth running of the engine, curbs fuel emissions, and enhances the engine's overall performance. The engine oil also helps cool the engine circuit and protects it from corrosion. The additives in engine oil slow the process of corrosion, thereby enhancing the engine's lifespan.

    Hence, you must always ensure that the engine oil is maintained at optimum levels. Use a dipstick or an electronic gauge to check the level of oil. Make sure to get the level right before driving. Also, check its texture. It should be translucent and smooth. If you find it too dark, you should change it immediately.

    Inspection of Tires

    There’s nothing more irritating than finding your tires deflated before driving. Also, tire blowouts while driving can be dangerous and put your life at risk. Hence, you must always inspect them to check for leaks and punctures. Equally vital is to ensure that tires have optimum pressure. Proper tire pressure prevents accelerated wear and tear, which could lead to premature tire replacement.

    On the other hand, excessive heat is generated if you drive with under-inflated tires, which could push tires to the point of failure. Hence, always inspect the tires at least once a week or fortnight. Equally essential is to make sure the spare tire is in good condition. Regularly check it for optimum pressure and get leaks and punctures fixed.

    Check Other Fluids

    Along with engine oil, other fluids in your car play a vital role in its performance. Your car’s performance can suffer drastically if any of these fluids leak. These include:

    • Coolant
    • Power Steering Fluid
    • Brake Fluid
    • Transmission Fluid

    Therefore, you must closely watch on them and ensure they don’t leak. Each of these fluids has a distinct color through which you can identify them in case of leakage. If you spot a leakage, take your car to the mechanic without delay. Also, just like engine oil, make sure the levels of these fluids are maintained at optimum levels.

    Inspect Your Car’s Battery

    The battery is the heart of your car. For ultimate car performance, the battery must be in top shape. Hence, you must regularly inspect it to ensure it’s in proper condition. If you find these signs, they are a warning signal of a failing battery:

    • Dim headlights: If your headlights are dim or weaker than usual, it’s time to sit up and take a note. It means that the battery is not able to power the electrical components.
    • Slow crank: If your engine cranks at a slower pace than usual, it’s a warning sign. It suggests that the battery might be nearing its end.
    • Backfiring: It is one warning sign that you can’t afford to miss. A failing battery will cause sparks, leading to fuel accumulating in cylinders. When you ignite this fuel, your car backfires.

    If temperatures get too high in your area of residence, car batteries don’t last long. Hence, you must take special care of your car’s battery and examine it for corrosion signs. If your car doesn’t start as effortlessly as it used to, clean the battery's contact points.

  • Petrol vs. Diesel: How Car Fuel Affects Your Car Insurance Premium?

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 16, 2022

    Just as not all cars cost the same, all car insurance premiums also do not cost the same. Of the many factors that influence a car’s premium, one is the fuel type or variant of the car. Whether your car is a petrol or diesel variant affects the cost of car insurance premiums. Wondering why? The reason is simple. The car fuel type impacts many other factors that have a direct influence on the insurance cost. Some of those factors are:

    1) Cost of the vehicle

    The cost of the vehicle is important in determining insurance premiums. A diesel car is often priced higher as compared to its petrol counterpart. Since the price of a car is directly related to the cost of its insurance, the higher the price of a car the higher will be the insurance charge. You will find this when you compare the online car insurance cost for diesel and petrol cars.

    2) Cost of repair

    Cost of repair can have an impact on the insurance premium charged. Typically, a car with a diesel engine involves a higher cost of maintenance over the years. So, insurance companies tend to charge a higher premium for cars with a diesel engines when compared to their petrol counterpart. The same is also true for high-end cars and cars with expensive spare parts.

    3) Insurance Declared Value or IDV

    It is the estimated market value of a vehicle and has a direct impact on the cost of insurance premiums. Since the cost of a vehicle with a diesel model is higher, its IDV will also be higher, thereby affecting the cost of insurance. The decrease in the IDV of a diesel car would be slower so the renewals would still be more expensive than that for petrol variants.

    4) Engine capacity

    The engine capacity of the vehicles can also influence the cost of insurance premiums for the cars.  Since the engine capacity of diesel-driven cars is it raises the parameters on which the cost of insurance is valued. On the other hand, petrol-driven cars have a comparatively lower level of engine capacity.

    5) Fuel efficiency

    One of the most important factors that must be considered while buying a car is its fuel efficiency. Petrol cars are best when it comes to achieving initial power but diesel cars run best in higher gears. In the long run, diesel cars seem to be more fuel-efficient than petrol cars.

  • How to Choose the Best Car Insurance Plan in India?

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 15, 2022

    Owning a car is not enough. You must protect it with the right insurance policy to be able to take it out onto the roads. In fact, it is mandatory to have third-party insurance to drive your car on Indian roads. While third-party insurance protects you from third-party liabilities in case of an accident, it does not cover your damages or medical costs. For that, you must choose a different type of policy. Yes, there are different types of car insurance and you must get the one that meets your needs and budget. Understanding car insurance and its benefits would help you in selecting a policy that offers you ideal financial protection without being heavy on your pocket. Here’s what you must know about the various kinds of car insurance:

    • A third-party liability policy

    Indian law mandates every car owner to have a third-party liability policy. To ensure everybody can afford it, its premium is fixed by the IRDAI or Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India. The policy offers basic coverage and is limited to covering losses related to the third party only. The insurers do not have any control over the premium. Simplifying the insurance terminology:

    • First party – policyholder or buyer of the policy
    • Second party - insurance company or the insurer
    • Third-party - an individual who demands compensation against damage to himself or his property, caused by the first party

    Also known as a liability-only policy, it compensates for the following:

    • Damage to vehicle or property of the third party

    Any damage to the vehicle or property of a third party caused due to an accident involving the insured car is compensated by the insurer up to a specific amount.

    • Injury to the third party

    If an individual is injured in an accident caused by your car, he would get compensated. The policy would cover the financial expenses for their hospitalization and treatment. The amount paid would depend on the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal’s decision.

    • Death of a third-party individual due to an accident

    In the unfortunate event of the death of a third party due to an accident caused by your car, a lump sum financial amount would be paid by the insurer to the family of the deceased.

    • Legal liabilities Your insurer will also take care of all the legal liabilities faced by you, the policyholder, in case of an accident. 

    The policy works fine as long as your car is not damaged since the policy does not cover that. The entire repair or replacement cost for your car has to be borne by you. If you have an old car that you are planning to sell off, the basic third-party policy would be sufficient. However, you need to reconsider your decision if you have a high-end or brand-new car. In these cases, you may want to check car insurance of different types such as an own damage policy or a comprehensive policy.

    • Own damage (OD) policy

    It covers damages to your car due to accidental or non-accidental causes. Some of the damages covered by it include:

    • Damage due to accidents

    After an accident, take the help of your insurer to tow your car to the nearest network garage and get it fixed. Under a cashless claim, the insurer will directly pay the workshop for the repair work.

    • Natural calamities

    Under OD policy, the car would be financially covered against natural disasters such as floods, landslides, rockslides, and severe weather conditions such as storms, cyclones, and earthquakes.

    • Manmade hazards

    Damage caused due to manmade incidents such as riots, strikes, civil disturbances, torching the car, and vandalism is covered under the OD policy.

  • How to Choose Between Electric Cars & Hybrid Cars

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 15, 2022

    Times have changed. With the advent of new technologies in the automobile sector, more and more car manufacturers are investing in designing and manufacturing hybrid and electric vehicles. The hybrid or electric car not only reduces the burden of extensively utilizing fossil fuels for mobility but also offers an environment-friendly alternative to petrol and diesel cars. While both hybrid and electric cars are sustainable energy-driven cars, they still have some differences in terms of technology and efficiency. Today, we will focus on electric cars vs. hybrid cars.

    What are hybrid cars?

    As the name implies, hybrid cars have two engines—petrol as well as diesel. These vehicles are also known as hybrid electric vehicles as they use both, an internal combustion engine (ICE) and at least one electric motor to generate power. This cycle not only saves you money on fuel but also improves the efficiency of your engine. You cannot charge a hybrid car's battery by plugging it into a power source. Instead, you can charge it using the ICE and regenerative braking. A hybrid car's battery can also help in powering the auxiliary load and reducing engine idling. 

    Benefits of hybrid cars:

    • Cleaner emission:

    Compared to the emission levels of ICE vehicles, hybrid cars are less polluting. This is because hybrid cars use both internal combustion engines and electric motors to turn the wheels.

    • Fuel efficient:

    Since hybrid cars include both internal combustion engines and electric motors, they utilize significantly less fuel than cars that simply have internal combustion engines. The additional power available with them makes them an environmentally-friendly cars. 

    • Regenerative braking:

    In hybrid cars, you don't need to put your car on halt for battery pack charge. Since the car's electric motor generates electricity whenever you apply the brakes, the battery gets recharged automatically.

    Disadvantages of hybrid cars:

    • Lower performance:

    Since the primary objective of a hybrid car manufacturer is to improve its fuel efficiency, its power and acceleration are much lower than those of standard internal combustion engine vehicles.

    • Expensive purchase:

    Compared to internal combustion engine cars, hybrid cars are more expensive due to the presence of dual engines and related features. 

    • High maintenance cost:

    Due to the advanced technology used and the presence of dual engines, the maintenance costs of hybrid cars can dig a hole in your pocket. Also, to get your hybrid car repaired, you need the assistance of a certified mechanic as not all mechanics are trained in or are knowledgeable about hybrid vehicle maintenance. Therefore, it is advised that when you purchase a hybrid car, make sure to secure it with hybrid car insurance.

    What are electric cars?

    Electric automobiles, often known as electric vehicles or EVs, run on an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. This makes them pollution-free clean cars. EVs are often devoid of a fuel line, a fuel pump, and a tank. They need plugging into a charging port to draw power from the grid. The electricity in the EV is stored in the rechargeable battery. Interestingly, EVs accelerate faster and are lighter to drive than ICE cars. If you are planning to buy an EV, don't forget to secure it with electric car insurance.

    Benefits of electric cars:

    • High efficiency:

    EVs have far more energy than fuel-powered vehicles. EVs are energy efficient since they convert 62% of their electric energy into the vehicle's power source. However, in ICE cars, the efficiency rate drops to just 21%.

    • Zero emissions:

    One of the most significant advantages of driving an electric vehicle is that you are helping to protect the environment. With zero tailpipe emissions, EVs are less polluting than ICE cars.

    • High performance:

    One of the most appealing aspects of driving an electric vehicle is that it produces maximum torque as soon as you press the accelerator pedal. When compared to traditional ICE cars, EVs are also easier to maintain due to fewer moving components.

  • Six Car Driving Tips for First Time Car Buyers

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 15, 2022

    Bringing in your first car at home is always special and so is taking it out on the roads to explore the world—think of all the adventure and memorable drives awaiting you. But before you embark on a drive, always make sure to carry your driving licence and car insurance documents along. Surely, you would not like to get caught by the traffic police and be penalised for driving without the required papers on the very first day of driving your new car. Also, make sure to follow all traffic rules and regulations to ensure your safety and that of others. For first-time car buyers, here are some tips for driving a car safely:

    1. Slow Acceleration

    Do you feel like pressing the accelerator and speeding along before others as soon as the traffic signal becomes green? This is common among most first-time drivers but you must control your impulses. Always increase the speed slowly as it is good for the engine as well. Bring the car to roll along slowly from a complete stop and then push the accelerator down in steps. Try to feel the position of the wheels to avoid potholes, a common feature on Indian roads.

    2. Steer Steadily

    Keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel to keep it steady. This is important for moving in a straight line on the road or during taking turns or changing lanes. Try to stay in the lane meant for your type of car and maintain adequate distance from other vehicles while taking turns or during changing lanes. In case you see a turn or exit coming up, move to the correct lane—left or right—a little early. You may cause problems to the other drivers if you suddenly bring your car in front of their car while taking a turn. The far-left lane is usually for exits and the centre lane for travelling long distances at a constant speed.

    3. Control the Brakes

    Do not push the brake all of a sudden. It can result in your car getting hit by another car or two-wheeler from behind. You may also hit a vehicle or a pedestrian if you are not able to control the brakes and bring the car to a stop abruptly. It is possible to injure yourself or your fellow passengers as sudden brakes can knock people out of the seats. Strap on the seat belts to keep the impact at a minimum. If you see the signals turning yellow, start applying pressure on the brakes to bring the car to a halt at the proper time. Despite that, if there is an unfortunate incident, inform your insurer immediately. You may call up the emergency number given on your car insurance policy to get help.

    4. Do Not Over Speed

    Adhere to the speed limits even if you are extremely confident about your driving skills. Rash driving, which is common on Indian roads, is the reason behind most of the accidents. It is for your safety as well as that of others on the road that you must drive at a medium speed or as specified by the traffic department. The traffic department takes into account several aspects such as road type, frequency of accidents, traffic volume, and visibility while fixing the speed limits for different types of roads such as highways, flyovers, and crossroads.

  • How to Identify a Car's Owner from the Registration Number?

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 15, 2022

    A car’s registration number is the key to information regarding the car’s present owner—for authorities as well as for the common man. Surprised? Don’t be. If you want to track down a car owner who may have either bumped your car and fled the scene or may have caused you trouble by blocking your car in a parking lot, then you can do it in a few easy steps. Today, we will look at how to find the owner of the vehicle by license plate number.


    How to identify a car's owner from the registration number using the PARIVAHAN portal?

    You can find the owner of the vehicle by license plate number by using the PARIVAHAN portal. To do that, don't stress much and simply follow the steps given below.

    • Step 1:

    Go to the PARIVAHAN official website: https://parivahan.gov.in

    • Step 2:

    Enter the car's registration number you intend to check.

    • Step 3:

    Input the verification code, or say, a CAPTCHA, given on the page. 

    • Step 4:

    Tap on "Check Status".

    • Step 5:

    Your screen will display all the relevant details related to the car.


    How to identify a car's owner from the registration number using VAHAN?

    VAHAN portal furnishes the details following the MV Act of 1988. The portal complies with the regulations of different states and UTs. Using the VAHAN portal, you can trace down the following details.

    • Car owner’s name
    • Car's registration date
    • Vehicle class and fuel type (diesel or petrol)
    • Car's chassis and engine number (not detailed in full)
    • Vehicle's make and model along with manufacturer's detail
    • Car's fitness duration
    • PUC and insurance details
    • Car's RC status and details of the financier 
    • Car's emission standard

    To fetch the details of a car owner using the VAHAN website, follow the steps outlined below.

    • Step 1

    Go to the VAHAN official website.

    • Step 2

    On the top of the page, you will find a navigation menu.  Tap on that menu, scroll down, and click on "Know Your Vehicle Details". 

    • Step 3

    On the page that appears on your computer screen, fill in the car's registration number. 

    • Step 4

    Input the human verification code and tap on the ‘Search Vehicle’.

    • Step 5

    Your screen will display all the necessary details of the car.

  • What are Deductibles in Health Insurance Plans

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 02, 2022

    Deductibles in Health Insurance Plans

    Having an insurance policy may not cover you entirely during a medical emergency. This is because of a mostly overlooked aspect of health insurance called deductibles. A health insurance deductible is the amount payable by the policyholder while raising a claim. This amount is predefined in the policy plan. For example, if you raise a claim of Rs 1 lakh and the deductible mentioned in the policy is Rs 40,000, the insurer will approve payment of Rs 60,000 only after adjusting the deductible amount. It is the amount that you need to pay before the insurer starts to pay against the claim. In other words, you must pay medical insurance deductibles out of your pocket.

    Why are deductibles included in health plans?

    Deductibles are included in health insurance policies to discourage policyholders from making trivial claims. This also ensures that people don’t misuse their health covers to avail of hospitalization for minor medical concerns.

    Relation with health insurance premium

    The risk burden of the insurer reduces when there is a deductible amount in the health insurance policy. Therefore, health policies with high deductibles amount generally have a low insurance premium amount. If the amount of the deductible is low or non-existent, the premium amount will be higher.

    Types of health insurance deductibles

    • Policyholders can select voluntary deductibles amounts as per their budget and affordability. and decide their premium amount accordingly.
    • A compulsory deductible is pre-decided by the insurer at the time of policy purchase. While buying a health policy with a compulsory deductible, the deductible becomes just another point in the list of policy terms and conditions. The compulsory deductible doesn’t have any impact on the premium amount.
    • A cumulative deductible is applicable in family floater plans. In these policies, the insurance cover is a cumulative amount applicable to all the members of the family floater policy. Accordingly, the deductible amount is also applicable to all members cumulatively.
    • A comprehensive deductible keeps on adding till you pay the amount applicable in your health policy. It is a single deductible that applies to all health covers, but it is not available in India at present.
    • Non-comprehensive deductibles apply to specific parts of the policy and not the entire policy. Thus, it is deducted only when you raise a claim against such medical treatments to which the deductible is applicable. For any other claims, the deductibles clause is not triggered.
  • How to Transfer Car Ownership Online?

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Oct 04, 2022

    Factually, transferring car ownership is a lengthy process. It involves the new owner of the car, the previous owner, and a pile load of necessary documents that need attestation and verification. However, some digital platforms have introduced ways to do it with ease. Before we look into the transfer process in detail, let us understand what it means and when it shouldn’t be done.

    • Normal sale and purchase of a used car, wherein the old owner’s name and details on the vehicle’s registration certificate (RC) must be replaced by the new owner’s details.
    • Transfer in the case of the existing owner’s demise, whereby the legal heir to the car must inform the RTO about the demise within the next 30 days. However, the utilization of such a car by the heir is allowed for the next 3 months following the owner's demise.
    • Vehicle purchase during a public auction; herein, the original owner’s name is replaced by that of the new owner to whom the vehicle has been auctioned.

    The process involved in the transfer of car ownership online and/or offline can subtly vary. You may also initiate the process by submitting the necessary application forms on the central government’s dedicated website—‘Parivahan.’

    Car Ownership Transfer in the Case of Normal Sale/Purchase

    To change ownership of a car under normal sale/purchase, just follow these steps:

    • Fill up Form 29 with the necessary details online and take a print.
    • Once the details are verified, hand out the form to the local RTO at the seller’s and purchaser’s location of residence. Herein, the purchaser needs to submit Form 30 within 14 days of transfer along with documents related to Form 1 and 2.
    • In the case of inter-state transfer, the purchaser needs to fill up Form 30 within 45 days of such transfer and submit necessary documents.
    • The buyer must also pay the necessary charges levied on such transfer under Rule 81 of the General Motor Vehicles (GMV) Rules 1989 to complete inter-state transfers.

    The necessary documents involved include the vehicle’s RC, insurance certificate to car insurance certificate, PUC certificate, engine and chassis pencil print, the registering authority’s NOC, tax clearance certificate and the purchaser’s undertaking, along with identity and address proofs of both parties involved in transferring car ownership.

  • GST on Health Insurance

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Sep 26, 2022
     

     

    The Government introduced the Goods & Services Tax, popularly known as GST, in 2017. GST consolidates multiple indirect taxes such as excise duty, VAT, and service tax under a single umbrella. It also helps business owners to understand the tax implications better and allows them to conduct business transactions more smoothly.

    GST applies to almost all goods and services, including health insurance products, sold across the country. When you buy health insurance plan, you must pay an 18% GST. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how GST affects your medical insurance. However, before that let us first understand what GST is and how it works.

    What is GST?

    GST is a single indirect tax that you—the consumer, must pay when purchasing household goods such as clothing and food. Furthermore, this tax is applicable if you avail of any services such as dining, transportation, or insurance.

    Types of GST on Health Insurance

    • Central GST (CGST)

    This portion of GST goes to the Central government's account.

    • State GST (SGST)

    The component of GST is collected by the state government on intra-state transactions.

    • Integrated GST (IGST)

    IGST is split evenly between the Central and the state government. Here, the concerned state is where the goods or services are consumed.

    • Union Territory GST (UGST)

    You must pay UGST if you have consumed goods or services in a union territory such as Chandigarh and Andaman & Nicobar. 

    In India, there are five GST slabs—0%, 5%, 12%, 18%, and 28%. The Government has clearly defined which services or goods will be subject to which tax bracket.

    Impact of GST on health insurance

    Health insurance has become expensive since the implementation of GST. Earlier, when purchasing health insurance, the policyholder was charged a 15% service tax. The components of the service tax are:

    • Basic service tax – 14%
    • Swach Bharat cess – 0.5%
    • Krishi Kalyan Cess – 0.5%

    Since the tax rates were revised, you must now pay an additional 3% in taxes when purchasing or renewing medical insurance

    Tax savings under section 80D

    Investing in health insurance not only protects you financially in the event of a medical emergency but also allows you to save a significant amount of money on taxes. Section 80D of the income tax allows you to bring down the tax payable amount by up to Rs 1,00,000. Here is the table detailing the tax benefits under section 80D

    Covered Individual Maximum Deduction
    Insurance premiums paid for self, spouse, or dependent children, all under the age of 60 years. Rs 25,000
    Insurance premiums paid for self, spouse, dependent children, and parents, all under the age of 60 years. Rs 25,000 + Rs 25,000
    Insurance premiums paid for self, spouse, dependent children, and senior citizen parents. Rs 25,000 + Rs 50,000
    Insurance premiums paid for self, spouse, dependent children, and parents, all over the age of 60 years. Rs 50,000 + Rs 50,000


    In addition to the insurance premium, you can also claim a deduction for the amount spent on the preventive health check-up. The maximum exemption limit, in this case, is Rs 5,000.

  • Buckle Up for a Smooth and Safe Drive

    by Amit Moolya | Sep 16, 2022

    Often commuting by cab or your car makes the journey smooth. You may enjoy the thrill of being behind the wheel or prefer relaxing in the rear seat humming your favourite tune. Either way, do you wear a seatbelt whenever you are on the go?

    Why wearing a seatbelt is important?

    In a report, this year, WHO said wearing belts in the rear seat can reduce the risk of being killed and injured by 25% and 75% respectively. Closer home, surveys done by Maruti Suzuki India in 2017 revealed poor compliance with seatbelt laws as hardly 4% of respondents used seatbelts.Compared to 2020, deaths by road accidents increased by almost 17% in 2021. Do you know what was one of the major causes of death? Yes, not wearing a seatbelt.

    Video

    How do seatbelts help in enhancing safety?

    Seatbelts hold the occupants of the car in place and prevent them from being catapulted forward during an accident. While the seatbelt ensures that the individual stays in his/her place, the airbag’s job is to protect the head and chest from impact. During a collision, seatbelts provide the primary restraint, whereas slamming into an airbag in case of an accident reduces the impact. While all cars in India have seatbelts at the front and rear, they may not have rear airbags. For safe driving, you must get them as part of the accessories. 

    Let’s look at what the Indian law says about seatbelts

    We all know that wearing a seatbelt is mandatory while sitting in a front seat. But did you know it's compulsory for rear seats too? In India, most cars have rear seats that face the front. As per Indian law, car manufacturers must provide seatbelts for all such seats too and passengers must buckle them up. Breaking this rule can attract a fine of Rs 1,000 for the passengers. However, the execution of the rule remains a concern.

    A 2019 report by SaveLIFE Foundation stated that not even 1% of Indians use rear seatbelts. What’s worse is that 23.9% of those surveyed did not even know about rear seatbelts. The study also revealed that 77% of the kids who travelled in the rear seat did not wear seatbelts.

    In February, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways proposed that all front-facing seats must have a Y-shaped seat belt. The proposal included the rear-middle seat as well. 

    Debunking a few myths around seatbelt safety 


    Myth: In case of fire or drowning situations, seatbelts trap you inside the car  
    Fact: Two things to know here are—one, the chances of collision are way higher than a car catching fire or getting submerged in water. Two, there are very less chances of malfunctioning of the seatbelt release mechanism. The benefits outweigh the risks.  
     
    Myth: If your car has airbags, you may skip wearing seatbelts 
    Fact: As explained earlier, the two have very distinct roles and save you when used together. One without the other may prove useless.  
     
    Myth: Seatbelts are needed only on highways 
    Fact: Accidents can happen anywhere regardless of how short the distance or how slow you are driving. Always wear seatbelts.  
    Importance of Seatbelts

    General seatbelt guidelines to follow 


    • Children should be buckled in age and size-appropriate car seats.
    • Pregnant women should ensure that the lap belt is below the belly and not above or across their belly.
    • Others including senior citizens should ensure that they are comfortable with the belt on. Skipping wearing the seatbelt is not an option.


    In Conclusion 

    Irrespective of where you are sitting in the car, protecting yourself and others becomes easy when you follow the rules of safe driving.  

    ICICI Lombard urges you to make the #NeverSkipSeatbelt promise and choose to use seatbelt for all. 

  • Post Covid Travel Insurance Trends: A Survey by ICICI Lombard

    by Amit Moolya | Sep 15, 2022

    The pandemic has altered many of our behaviours, especially how we travel. With the COVID-19 lockdown extending for nearly a year, most travellers found their options limited, which has changed their outlook on travel. People are more careful with travel, but they want to travel.

    Now more than ever, travellers are researching their destinations before leaving and looking to the travel industry for directions. Where can they go? Is the current situation safe? Are the COVID protocols followed? In response, travel companies worldwide have found themselves emphasising cleaning protocols, allowing more flexibility in itineraries, waiving off cancelling/rescheduling fees, and keeping travellers updated on changing regulations. 

    To find out more, ICICI Lombard, a leading travel insurance provider in India, recently conducted a survey to understand the mindset changes regarding travel post the pandemic. The reports show notable differences in travelling behaviour across age groups, demographics, the reasons for travel and travel destinations.

     

    The survey also revealed that over half of respondents plan to travel post the pandemic, and over 94% will purchase travel insurance for their trip -giving rise to a new breed of 'safety-first' travellers.

     

    As travel continues to evolve, here are the broad travel trends that we'd possibly witness in the post-corona era:

    Most popular travel destinations post pandemic

    USA, Canada and Europe most sought-after international travel destinations by Indians post Omicron

    travel destination

    Older age groups are travelling closer to home as compared to youngsters

    Older age group prefer destinations closer to home

    Most common reason for travel post pandemic

    Travelling for business (1.2x) and medical (2x) reasons increased while dropped for education/ holiday trips

    Most common reasons for travel post pandemic

    Younger age group mostly travelling for education while older age group for holiday and business

    Younger age group mostly travelling for education

    Emergence of 'safety-first' travellers

    Indians become more self-conscious towards buying travel insurance



    Before the pandemic, even though the awareness of travel insurance policies was 76%, only 50% purchased a travel insurance policy unless not mandatory. 

    But this attitude has changed significantly since the outbreak of the virus. Today 90% of people are concerned about their health while travelling. This has increased the number of people purchasing travel insurance from 50% to 76%.

    Awareness on availing travel insurance policy on international trip:

    Pre-pandemic - 76%  
    Post pandemic - 90%

    More Indians buying travel insurance post pandemic

    Travel insurance purchase behaviour 

    Post pandemic, 64% - travellers consciously searched for a travel insurance before their international trip vs 54% - travellers in the pre pandemic years. Only 22% bought as it was “mandatory with flight ticket”.

    Travel insurance purchase behaviour

    Since travellers are now aware of the risk of not being covered, travel insurance becomes as essential and, in some cases, as necessary as having a valid passport. The demand for pandemic coverage has also led the insurance industry to create new products to meet those needs.

    Today an international travel insurance plan typically covers medical expenses for COVID-19, trip protection & baggage coverage, emergency medical care & evacuation. These policies also include coverage of trip interruption and delay coverage if the policyholder contracts COVID-19 while travelling.
    As people resume travelling again, armed with vaccinations and travel insurance policies, Covid coverage is the key reason for buying travel insurance for most respondents.


    Travel insurance as necessary as a valid passport

    Post covid, medical expenses including Covid coverage no.1 reason to buy travel insurance 

    Reasons to buy travel insurance

    In conclusion

    People's outlook while travelling abroad have changed significantly post the Covid-19 virus outbreak. The pandemic has driven travel insurance from a commodity to a necessity. Customers have intentionally started seeking out travel insurance to remain covered in case of any unfortunate events during their trip. Both awareness and adoption to opt for travel insurance has increased significantly post-pandemic.

    Covid coverage is the critical benefit travellers seek while looking for travel insurance – not just medical coverage but even for non-medical coverage such as hotel & trip extension. Post pandemic, the future of travel will include reassuring these ‘cautious’ travellers in many ways. Just as 9/11 changed air travel measures worldwide, the pandemic is making travellers more mindful of health & hygiene protocols during their trips abroad.

  • Pay Car Insurance Premiums Based on How You Drive and How Much You Drive

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Aug 30, 2022

    Gone are those days when you had to pay a fixed yearly premium for your motor insurance policy. You can now buy a policy that charges you a premium based on your vehicle usage or driving behavior.

    The Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has permitted general insurance companies in India to launch telematics-based motor insurance covers such as Pay as you drive and Pay how you drive, allowing vehicle owners to decide how much to pay on their insurance.

    By utilizing technology's ability to transmit accurate data on vehicle location and driving behavior, IRDAI's new rule is a welcomed move as it creates a win-win situation for both insured and insurers in India.

    What is Pay as you drive & Pay how you drive add-on covers?

    Unlike any other car insurance policy in the market, these new policies are built to give you more control of your motor insurance costs. It allows you to prove you are a safe driver, and as a result, you can be rewarded with lower insurance prices on renewal. The lesser/ better one drives, the lower premium they will have to pay.

    These insurance add-ons also enable insurance companies to offer reduced average pricing, appeal to low-risk individuals, reduce claims management costs, and improve the overall customer experience.

    How do these add-ons work?

    This type of add-on works differently if you opt for a pay-as-you-drive or the driving behavior-based cover.

    Pay as you drive

    Pay As You Drive_2Pay-as-you-drive cover operates on the simple rule that you should pay less insurance price if you drive less. Since you are not out on the road often, you have a low accident risk, and your insurance bill should reflect the same.

    This type of insurance allows you to insure your car based on the kilometers you drive in a year. Depending on your driving needs, you can opt for a mileage plan between 3000 to 10,000 km/year. If you exceed the kilometers of your plan, you also have the option to top up your insurance coverage with more km for that particular policy year.

    According to a survey conducted by Feedback Consulting, 75% of Indian commuters travel less than 1,000 km a month (or roughly less than 35 km a day), and most people simply travel from home to office. The Pay-as-you-drive add-on guarantees policyholders do not have to pay a huge premium as per the make and model of the car but rather how much they use their vehicle

    Pay How You Drive_2

    Pay how you drive

    The premium for Pay how you drive cover is calculated based on how you drive your car while on the road. The better and safer you drive, the lesser you pay.

    The telematics device uses GPS technology to calculate your driving scores, vehicle health and other metrics to collect facts about your driving. This information collected is then used to calculate a driver score that is unique to you.

    If it's good, you could reduce your insurance premium at the time of renewal and get a thumbs up for safe driving. While there are no penalties yet for low driving scores, the premium discounts these drivers can avail of are also very low. Drivers can also use these scores to improve their driving and build better habits.


    Who should consider buying Pay how you drive cover?

    Many drivers may benefit from a behaviour-based telematics car insurance cover if they drive safely and avoid accidents. This cover especially makes sense for demographic groups that are charged above-average premiums, such as:

    image_4

    Who should consider buying Pay as you drive cover?

    The pay-as-you-drive cover is a good fit for:

    Pay As You Drive_2

    How much can I save with Pay as you drive insurance?

    Since standard car insurance premiums depend on geography, make-model, and age of the vehicle and are not based on their usage, most car owners who opted for Pay as you drive policy saved on their premiums.

    Our experience with the Pay as you drive policy under the Sandbox regulation in 2020 also helped us learn that 56% of customers chose to Pay as you drive over conventional insurance due to its cost-effectiveness and usage-based premiums. In comparison, 22% bought this policy due to its telematics benefits.

    In Conclusion

    While PAYD & PHYD can help many save on their premiums, sometimes, you may not see a discount even if you are a good driver. If you commute to distant locations for work every day and drive above the average speed often, you're more suited for a standard insurance plan. 

    These add-ons are suitable for customers with multiple or expensive cars looking for a motor policy that gives them more control over how much they spend on insurance every year. 


  • All You Need to Know About the New Strain of Coronavirus

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 24, 2022

    Experts say the mutant variant of coronavirus, which is believed to have originated from the UK, is even more infectious and dangerous.

    2020 was a tough year. The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus disrupted the lives of millions of people across the globe. While some lost loved ones to the disease, many had to face financial turmoil as they lost their jobs due to the global lockdown.

    However, just when the lockdown restrictions began to ease around the world, and everyone started believing the calamity is over, the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) announced that it had found a new strain or variant of the coronavirus. According to doctors and scientists, the mutant coronavirus variant is more contagious and even more dangerous than the original strain.

    Citing this new coronavirus's danger, the UK Government imposed the most stringent lockdown in the country from January 5. Now, the questions that arise are, "What are the symptoms of this new COVID variant?", "Does India need to worry?", "Are the current vaccines going to be effective?", etc.

    In this article, you will find information related to the new strain of coronavirus, including its symptoms, threats, associated dangers, and precautions you need to take. Read on.

    The new coronavirus strain: What is it?

    The new strain of the coronavirus was first identified in a man living in the south-east of England. The variant was named "VUI 202012/01" by the UK scientists. It includes a genetic mutation in the 'spike' protein, which is the reason for its highly contagious nature. According to researchers, this strain of the coronavirus has a minimum of 17 changes of mutation.

    How harmful is the new Covid strain?

    As per early reports, the coronavirus's new variant is highly contagious and can spread up to 70% faster than the original strain. In fact, in the UK, more than 60% of COVID patients are found to be infected with this new strain of coronavirus. What's more worrying is the fact that this variant is mostly infecting the people between 30 to 60 years of age.

    Keeping in mind the threat this Covid strain poses to the population, several countries have temporarily suspended UK citizens' arrival on their shores. Few cases of infections have also been reported from Denmark, South Africa, Netherlands, Australia, France, and Italy.

    What's the situation in India?

    The new variant of coronavirus has entered India as well. However, the spike in the number of cases isn't too alarming, and the situation is mostly under control. As per government data, the total number of people who have tested positive for the UK strain of coronavirus stood at 165 on January 28.

    Keeping in mind the safety of its citizens, the Indian Government has extended the temporary restrictions on the arrival of flights originating from the UK till February 14. Several states such as Maharashtra, West Bengal and Kerela have also taken various steps to control the spread of the mutant COVID-19 variant.

    What are the common infection symptoms?

    The Office of National Statistics (ONS) conducted a survey to identify the most common symptoms in new covid positive cases. According to the ONS reports, some of the new COVID variant's symptoms include cough, sore throat, muscle pain, joint pain and fatigue.

    The reports also suggested the differences between the new coronavirus strain symptoms compared to the old one. It pointed out that the people infected with the latest COVID-19 variant are less likely to experience the loss of smell and taste, which was a common symptom of the original strain.

    What are the precautions that you need to take?

    The precautions you need to take to avoid getting infected from the new coronavirus's new strain are no different. You should frequently wash your hands with soap or use hand sanitisers to keep your hands clean and germ-free. Also, you should always wear a mask and follow social distancing norms in public places.

    In case you experience any of the symptoms, consult a doctor immediately and get yourself tested for the infection. In case you're found to be positive, obey the existing isolation rules and abide by the restrictions till you recover completely.

    Will the current vaccines work against the new variant?

    As per the scientists, there is no evidence that the current vaccines, including the ones developed by Pfizer and BioNtech in the UK and Covaxin or Covishield in India, will be ineffective against the new coronavirus strain. In fact, a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has found that Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is entirely effective against the mutant variant.

  • Employer’s Group Health Insurance: Should You Include Your Parents?

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 24, 2022

    Group health insurance plan along with individual health insurance provides adequate health coverage to your parents

    The depth of love your parents have for you can never be measured. They have always been your backbone but at a ripe age, health is probably the first companion that starts deserting them and may take away their hard-earned savings along with it. The exponential rise in treatment and medicine costs compounded with limited scope of income can ruin their ‘golden days’.

    The best gift you can provide to your aging parents is securing their healthcare expenses through a health insurance plan. You can buy a separate health insurance policy for your parents or you can include them in the Group Health Insurance (GHI) plan provided by your employer.

    What is a Group Health Insurance?

    Companies often provide group health insurance coverage to its employees and their family. The premium for this scheme is borne by the employer to create a loyal and motivated workforce. The employee may add his/her spouse, children and parents to this group health insurance plan.

    Since the risk is spread across the group, the premium for group health insurance plan are less than individual plans. The organization may design a self-insured plan or may select a pre-planned group insurance policy provided by general insurance companies.

    How is it Beneficial for My Parents?

    Separate health insurance plans for your parents at a ripe age may cost you much more since they are highly prone to illnesses. The best way is to include them in the group health insurance (GHI) plan provided by your employer. Here’s how it can benefit your parents:

    • They cannot be denied the health coverage on the basis of their medical history. No medical examination is required under GHI plan and the claim settlement is also smoother.
    • There is no waiting period for any disease and you can claim the health cover for your parents right from the first day.
    • Pre-existing diseases are not excluded from the health cover. So, if your parents are already diagnosed with certain ailments, they are also covered under the GHI plan.
    • You can even customize the GHI plan provided by the employer by adding a top-up to increase the coverage amount for your parents.

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