Winter has finally come to India. With great weather, you might be already planning your winter travel; be it to your favourite beach destination or to an all-weather favourite mountain. With better road connectivity, road conditions, and a seamless GPS navigation system, going on road trips is becoming increasingly popular among Indian travellers. Whether a long drive or a short one, it requires a bit of planning and proper safety measures before setting on to the journey. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to make your road trip comfortable, safe, and full of fun:
Start with checking if the toolkit, jack, hazard triangle, distilled water, engine oil etc are up to the mark. Since potholes can disturb your wheel balance, go for a wheel alignment and balancing before travel.
Ensure the tyres have the right air pressure; have it at low to medium pressure while travelling in hot areas and medium to slight high for travelling in hilly areas with inclines. If you are travelling to a snow-clad destination, make sure to put on snow chain on the tyres to prevent skidding. For night drives, it is crucial that all your vehicle’s lights, including the parking lamps, brake lights, number plate lights, and indicators, are functioning properly.
Comprehensive insurance plan
A self-drive trip is fun but to ensure maximum protection, it is imperative to keep the vehicle always covered with a comprehensive insurance policy and with the appropriate set of add-ons. This will help you avoid any monetary loss due to damages to your vehicle
or expenses towards third-party damage.
To limit your financial liability from issues like busted tyres, vehicle breakdown, and engine damage caused by external factors, you can buy add-ons like:
Engine protection cover: Engine failure can happen any day any time, and the best you can do is to be prepared for the eventuality. An engine is obviously the most expensive component of a vehicle and replacing it is quite expensive.
Having an engine protection cover will help in case of an engine failure not only during your trip but anytime during a policy year. It will cover the repair and/or replacement cost and give you peace of mind.
Tyre protector cover:
Tyres of your vehicle need to be in the best condition when going on a long drive. However, driving non-stop for longer hours weakens the strength of the tyres and makes them prone to
damage from rough terrain, skidding etc.
By purchasing this add-on, you can be sure that all tyre repair/replacement expenses and labour costs will be covered if they get damaged or if the loss arises due to
accidental damages. And you will not need to worry about out-of-pocket expenses.
24 hours roadside assistance cover: This coverage comes in handy if the vehicle breaks down in the middle of the road leaving you stranded with no garage nearby. With this coverage, you can call your insurer for assistance 24X7.
Emergency Hotel Accommodation Cover: If you have a road accident during your trip and require emergency lodging, with Emergency Hotel Accommodation Cover you will receive an allowance for your hotel room rent. It is prudent to map a hotel in every 50 kilometres on your route so that if
your vehicle ever breaks down, you can also take a break while the repair happens.
Finally, keep the route map downloaded. Do not forget a FasTag for seamless travel on toll roads. Make sure all passengers wear seatbelts and place a booster seat if you have a child. Going on a road trip will be stress-free if you if follow the above checklist.
(The writer is the chief executive officer of Reliance General Insurance)