Book Review: Heads You Win

Car insurance renewal woes

The calls began nearly three months back.  "Calling from so-and-so insurance company.  Sir, your car insurance is due for renewal."  Pretty much all the private insurance providers would have called me, in addition to some of the ones.  My car dealer was also one of the callers, asking me to renew my insurance through them.   I do not know how so many providers would have got hold of my cell number - is insurance renewal detail in public domain?

I waited till it was less than two weeks to the insurance expiry.  The reasons were simple -
a) what if I had to make a claim (God forbid)?
b) what is the point in paying the premium so many days upfront?

It was when I checked who my current insurance provider was, that I got a shock! I did not have the insurance papers.  I  recalled the day last year that I had picked up my vehicle from the dealer.  "Your insurance papers will be mailed to you".  All I had was the proposal form.  Lucky me, the police had not accosted me and asked for my papers.

So, the first step was to get my insurance papers from the car dealer.  I emailed my request.  (I realised I had also not received the extended warranty paper, which again was to be mailed to me).   When I did not hear from the dealer even after three days, I visited them.

"We will check and let you know about the extended warranty", the receptionist told me.

As for Insurance, the concerned personnel was keen to have me renew my insurance.  I told him I needed to see my current insurance papers first. "I am not sure if I do have one!"   He said he will give me a "duplicate".  He printed this and gave me.  I said I will come back on the renewal.

After I told the Receptionist that I planned to take up the issue of extended warranty with the car company, I got the warranty in the next 24 hours.  (Nothing works in India like threats, I guess)

My insurance provider was United India Assurance - a Government insurance provider.  I checked their website and saw that they had an option to renew online.  "Cool", I thought.

A week before expiry, I visited the site and chose the renew option.  I entered the previous policy details and was shown a page with the premium due and a link to Quick Online Policy.

Original quote
Revised quote
On clicking this link, I was asked to fill some details and then came the bomb - the amount due had changed from Rs.8719/- to Rs.13406/-

I retried a couple of times, thinking I must have chosen some optional items that resulted in this increase, but I ended up getting the same amount.

This was not good!  I decided to visit the United India office (I did send an email to their internet support team with the details and the screenshot, but I doubt if I will hear from them. In any case it is too late now!)

The nearest office was Indira Nagar and I visited them mainly to understand if they can explain the online discrepancy and also to renew the policy manually.

Having climbed up the stairs to the third floor, I was greeted with a white board which had the lines "System not working. Please bear".

"System" was indeed down!  They had (literally) "dumb" terminals.  I asked a lady, who appeared to be in charge about the "online" renewal.  She said "Online renewal will work only 15 days prior to expiration".  What do you know!   I asked about the discrepancy - unfortunately I did not have the screenshots.  She calculated and said, my premium would come to around Rs.9,500/- odd.

The weekend passed and I went again on Monday (the next working day) to see the same board and the same message.  This time, another lady said "Give me your number. I will call once our systems are working".  Apparently the systems were down for the last several days - I did not want to chance my renewal on that!  "There is another office in Ulsoor".  Great!  Ulsoor isn't too far.   Another staff gave me the directions and I went to that "Micro Office" without much ado.

The officer there looked at my "duplicate" insurance paper and said.  "This does not have a signature or seal - how are you carrying this around?"

The renewal process thereafter went smooth and I did complete it with a day or two to spare.


  1. I use and I am satisfied with their service. You can give a try next time.

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