You cannot drive without Insurance in India; that’s the law. But thousands of people are caught doing so; that’s the reality. The situation is so bad that traffic fines have become a good source of revenue for state governments. Every year thousands of rupees are recovered in traffic fines from law defaulters across the country. Why is the situation so bad? Simply because many people like to cut corners and shun their moral responsibility.
Driving without insurance has both legal and financial implications for those on the wrong side of the law. The Motor Vehicle Act 2019, the amended version of the Motor Vehicle Act,1988, has increased punishment for uninsured vehicles. The fine for the first offence of driving without an active insurance policy has been raised to Rs 2,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three months. Earlier, the without insurance fine was Rs 1,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three months. Someone committing the offence for the second time will be liable to pay a fine of Rs 4,000 and/or imprisonment of up to three months.
The Motor Vehicle Act addressed the rising number of deaths due to accidents in India by making third-party insurance a legal requirement. Third-party Insurance, or Motor Third Party Liability Insurance (MTPL), offers protection against damages to the third party by the insured vehicle. It covers physical injuries, damages to the car, damage to the property, and death.
According to Motor Vehicle Act, the insurance company and the insured are first and second parties. Any other who suffered death, injury or the person who claims damages against the insured is the third party.
Third-party Insurance is the most basic cover and the legal minimum in India. It only covers damage to a third party involved in the accident, whether it is another vehicle or a person. It does not cover the cost of repairing or replacing your car.
The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 makes it mandatory for all vehicles plying on Indian roads to have a third-party motor insurance policy. If you don’t have valid car insurance, the law enforcement agencies may prosecute you or suspend your driving license until you renew your policy or purchase a new one.
The without insurance fine is the same for all types of vehicles, be it a four-wheeler, a two-wheeler or a commercial vehicle.
person who is caught driving a car without valid insurance has to not only face legal actions but also bear other consequences, such as financial, besides undergoing inconvenience. The following are some of the consequences:
As mentioned earlier, the amended Motor Vehicle Act has raised the fine for driving without insurance to Rs 2,000 in case of the first offence and Rs 4,000 if someone is a repeat offender. You are required to pay a car insurance expired fine within a stipulated time.
After a traffic cop stops your car for inspection, the first thing they are likely to do is to ask you for your car insurance policy document or card, driving license, and registration certificate. In some states, they may also ask you for a pollution under control certificate. If you fail to show any of these documents, the traffic cops will issue a challan as a penalty for driving without insurance. The cops will give you the option to pay online or in cash at the nearest traffic police station.
Simultaneously, they would ask you to park your car on the roadside in the vicinity or at the nearest police station so that you can join them in the process of paying a fine. If the cop who stopped you is above a certain rank in the police hierarchy, you may be allowed to pay a fine on the spot. Otherwise, you will have to pay at the nearest police station or online.
You can pay online by visiting the official website of the state transport department where you live or the portal of the local traffic police created for this purpose. If you pay through the transport department website, you should look for the e-challan payment or payment for a traffic violation. You will be required to fill in certain details such as vehicle number or challan number. Some sites may ask you for other details as well.
Enter the vehicle number and challan number with other details related to the traffic violation. You will be asked to enter the captcha code.
The challan amount can be paid using debit or credit card or digital wallets through the payment system.
In all cases, you will get a confirmation message that the payment has been received.
If you want to make the payment in cash and if the cop does not accept it on the spot, you have to visit the nearest traffic police station and contact the police officer concerned. You will get a receipt after making the payment.
Needless to say, you can legally drive only after paying the penalty. Failure to pay fines may result in increased fines on getting caught the next time.
Usually, you are required to pay the challan within 15 days. If you fail to pay within this period, you may have to pay a late fee. Failure to clear dues can invite legal or punitive action by traffic police or the transport department officials. So, it always helps if you do not keep such things pending. It will only affect your peace of mind.
Yes, the police can check any vehicle plying on the road for road safety or public security reasons. In such situations, you have to cooperate with the police but at the same time assert your rights. Stay calm and never exhibit hostility towards the cops as they may be doing their duty. Explain your position calmly and do not interfere with the process of checking or issuing of challan. If you think the police misbehaved with you, you have the right to complain.
According to the Motor Vehicles Act, the traffic police cannot take away your car keys forcibly. Similarly, you cannot be forced out of your car.
Being stopped by police for violating traffic rules can give you stress and anxiety. So, why allow them a chance to put you at the inconvenience. You can avoid such situations by:
Keeping the hard copies of the four key documents – driving licence, registration certificate, car insurance certificate and pollution under certificate (PUC) of your vehicle with you. You can store soft copies of these documents on your mobile phone.
Making sure you are never without valid insurance. Renew the insurance in time or buy a new one and never drive without valid insurance.
Making it a point not to drive without a licence or with an expired licence. It’s a serious offence with legal consequences.
Driving safe is your moral and legal obligation and in your best interests. Safe driving protects you, your car and the members of the public on the road.
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