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Is a PUC certificate mandatory for vehicle insurance claims?

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PUC, or ‘Pollution under control’, certificate helps you know that your vehicle’s emissions are under control and the car is safe to be driven on roads.

You can get a PUC certificate from any authorized emissions testing centre. A PUC certificate confirms the amount of carbon monoxide emitted by a vehicle is within legally acceptable limits. This certificate is one of the primary documents required for driving around in the country.

Supreme court rulings: “The Government of India has made the PUC certificate compulsory for all vehicles under the Central Motor Vehicles Rule of 1989,” said Nitin Deo, chief technical officer, Edelweiss General Insurance. Therefore, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has asked insurers not to insure a vehicle without a valid PUC certificate.

“Vehicle owners will be required to present a valid PUC certificate when renewing their insurance, according to the Irdai notification. As per law, no vehicle may operate without third-party insurance, a rule that is frequently broken due to lax enforcement. The Irdai decision is based on a Supreme Court judgement which stated that insurers cannot insure a car unless it has an effective PUC certificate on the date of policy renewal,” said Sanjiv Bajaj, Jt. chairman and MD, Bajaj Capital Ltd. However, this does not mean your insurance claim will be rejected if you don’t have a valid PUC certificate.

New KYC norms: In November, the newly-introduced KYC norm for easing the insurance claim settlement process has nothing to do with the PUC certificate.

“There is no such update yet. Irdai released a circular on 26 August 2020 after they observed that some media reports misrepresented the earlier circular issued by the regulator. Thus, in August 2020, Irdai clarified that if you don’t hold a valid PUC certificate, it doesn’t mean that it is a valid reason for denying claim under a motor insurance policy,” said Deo.

Animesh Das, senior director of motor mnderwriting at ACKO, said, “Insurance claim is not dependent on PUC status. Some misleading information in the market claims that PUC is mandatory for claims, but that is incorrect.”

For instance, suppose your PUC certificate expires and your car meets with an accident soon after, the insurer is legally bound to settle your claim.

Validity: When you buy a new car, the PUC certificate is valid for the first year. After that, you need to do a PUC check every three or six months, be it petrol or diesel cars. So, it is mandatory to get your vehicle’s pollution emission levels tested regularly in order to renew the PUC certificate.

Electric Vehicles: You don’t require a PUC certificate for electric vehicles (EVs). Das said, “EVs are environment-friendly and hence there is no such provision.”

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