In an effort to provide relief to motor vehicle policy holders concerned about their insurance coverage expiring during the ongoing 21-day lockdown, the government has announced an extension in the renewal dates till April 21.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Finance, "The policyholders whose motor vehicle third party insurance policies fall due for renewal during the period on and from March 25, 2020, up to April 14, 2020, and who are unable to make payment of their renewal premium on time in view of the prevailing situation in the country as a result of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), are allowed to make such payment to their insurers on or before April 21, 2020, to ensure continuity of the statutory motor vehicle third-party insurance cover from the date on which the policy falls due for renewal.” The government has extended the same benefit to health insurance policy holders as well.
The move aims to alleviate the disruption caused by the three-week lockdown put in place for controlling the COVID-19 crisis. It closely follows the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway’s (MoRTH) recent announcement of extending the validity of vehicle and driving documents expiring between February 1 and June 30, 2020, till end-June.
The extension in renewal dates should help avoid any punitive penalisation immediately after the clampdown is lifted. Under the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019, driving without insurance can attract penalties of Rs 1,000-2,000 and/or punishment of up to three months for the first offence and Rs 4,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3 months for the second offence.