SC order on third-party insurance cover hampers registration of taxis, rent-a-cars

Abdul Wahab Khan | NT



The state transport department is facing difficulty in registering new taxis and rent-a-cab vehicles as the owners are not availing three-year third-party insurance cover from the insurance companies which is one of the requisite documents for registering new vehicles as per the Supreme Court order that came into effect from September last year.

The department claimed that there is lack of clarity from the motor insurance agencies over such policies. The insurance companies say that such policies have not yet been made available for commercial two-wheelers and four wheelers by the parent company even after the Supreme Court verdict.

As per the SC order, no transport and non-transport two-wheelers and four wheelers can run on the road without third-party insurance. This insurance covers the damage or loss caused to a third-party in an accident caused by the policyholder. The rule also allows purchasing comprehensive policy to cover both personal damages and third-party liabilities for three years.

As many as 100 taxis and rent a cars are lined up for registration in the Regional Transport offices (RTOs) in the state daily but no vehicles can be taken on the road until the owners possess three-year third-party insurance cover or comprehensive insurance policy.

Senior RTO officials said that the onus is on the dealers and insurance companies as it is they who do not provide mandatory three-year insurance package on the grounds that they don’t have such packages.

Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had clarified in a letter on January 10 to all state transport departments that the SC rule on insurance is applicable to all new cars and bikes of transport and non-transport vehicles except for heavy commercial vehicles like buses, trucks, construction equipments and other transport vehicles, which is only for one year.

“We can’t register such vehicles without insurance cover. We don’t want to be in contempt of SC order. There has been confusion and lack of clarity on insurance cover package for commercial two and four wheelers. We will soon write to the ministry for further clarification on the matter,” a senior RTO official said.

The Supreme Court in July 2018 had made it mandatory for all general insurance companies (GICs) to issue a three-year third-party insurance cover for new cars and five-year third-party insurance cover for new two-wheelers of both transport and non-transport vehicles. As per the SC order, this third-party insurance cover may be taken as a separate product.

However, the SC order also left it to the insurance companies to deal with ‘comprehensive insurance policies’ (which includes own damage cover, third party risk cover, personal accident cover for owner-driver, etc) on a separate footing except that the third party insurance is mandatory.

Third-party insurance is a type of insurance that covers the loss or damage caused to other vehicles in case of an accident while comprehensive car insurance policy is a type of insurance that covers the damages caused to both, third party and your own vehicle.