I have few questions about how car (automobile) insurance works in India. The reason is that each year, as the date of my car’s insurance renewal approaches – I get tons and tons of enticing calls.

  1. This year, like most years, I got calls from at least 6 insurance companies – I remember Bajaj Allianz and Reliance, top of mind. And to think I have a car insurance policy with HDFC Ergo! So, how do other insurance players get my information that they can contact me at least a month ahead of renewal date? Is it public information? Shouldn’t it be private?
  2. Reliance offered me, on phone, 40% discount on premium. Is this right? I have made some claims last year and HDFC Ergo is charging me a particular amount based on that. I believe there is an incentive if there was no claim, but how can a new insurance player offer such a massive discount?
  3. If I change insurance brands year after year, I’m sure I can save a lot of money in the process. Will this affect my credit worthiness or any-worthiness?
  4. Will such change affect my claims power/ process in case of a requirement during the year?
  5. I was told by many people that I’m supposed to negotiate the premium amount with any insurance company (current or new) each year and that is supposed to get me good benefits in the form of discounts or waivers in sales agent commission etc. Is this a negotiable amount at all, in the first place? Should I be eating the commission of a poor agent?

I have decided to go ahead with HDFC Ergo this year despite the supposedly larger premium compared to what was offered to me. I had a smooth process last year from HDFC Ergo during a claim and this is my way of reciprocating a service well done. Yes, it is their duty to do so, but I’ve had terrible experiences on this aspect too, with certain other players, in the past.