From the time you pay the car insurance premium, to the time you get the original certificate from the insurer, you could be waiting for up to two weeks.
Does this mean that your car is uninsured during this period? No! And the reason is because of a Cover Note that the insurance company is obliged to give you once they approve the insurance and once you have paid the policy premium.
What is a Cover Note?
When you get a car insurance policy, it takes a few days to get the original policy document to you because administrative activities like printing and posting the originals can take time.
However, during this interim period, your car is still insured and you are fully protected. Once you have paid the premium to the company, the company will almost immediately give you a Cover Note.
This is a temporary certificate of insurance that denotes that your car is covered by insurance, and that you are awaiting arrival of the original certificate.
Today in the digital age it is possible to apply for insurance through the online medium whereby one can get a policy document instantaneously.
Nevertheless, most Indians are still buying policies in the offline world, and for the time being a cover note is still valid as evidence that shows that your car is insured.
A Cover Note is valid for a period of 60 days from the date of its issue. Typically insurance companies deliver the original certificate to you within two weeks of the start of the coverage, and in any case are required to issue the original before the expiry date of the cover note.
If you have not received your cover not even after a few weeks of the Cover Note being issued, call the insurance company and remind them that you are still waiting for the original insurance certificate to be mailed to you. Do this while your Cover Note is still valid.
What should you do when you get a Cover Note?
Verify the following details when you get the Cover Note:
• Make and registration number of the vehicle
• Year of manufacture
• Engine and chassis number
• Cubic capacity of your vehicle
• Seating capacity in your vehicle
• Insured declared value (IDV) of your car
• IDV of the accessories in your car (car stereo, speakers, CNG kit etc.)
How does a Cover Note help you?
For all practical purposes, a Cover Note fulfils the role of your car insurance policy, while you are waiting for the originals to arrive.
• Can show it at the time of checking: Any time that a regular checking by traffic policemen or police officials is taking place, you can show your Cover Note as proof that you have a valid insurance policy. You will not be liable to pay any fine if you have a valid Cover Note.
• Can make the claim in case of accident or theft: You can use the Cover Note if you want to make any claim at the time of an accident or theft.
What should you do if the cover note is lost or destroyed?
If your Cover Note gets lost or destroyed (torn or damaged), you should do the following:
a) Give a written declaration to the insurer mentioning that the Cover Note is lost or destroyed. You should also mention the circumstances under which this has happened
b) Return the insurer the Cover Note issued to you irrespective of its condition
c) Pay the insurer Rs. 50 for issuing a new cover note. If the insurer is satisfied that all efforts have been made to find a lost cover note, or is satisfied that it’s a genuine case of the cover note having been damaged, then the insurer will issue a duplicate cover note with the same details as the original.
In case the original cover note is found by you later, you must surrender it to the insurer.