In 2018, the Supreme Court of India issued an order that stated that insurance providers should only renew insurance policies where the policyholder has a valid PUC or Pollution Under Control Certificate from a government-approved centre. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) then made it mandatory for all vehicle owners to have a PUC certificate for their car policy renewal. However, there is no mandate that says that a car insurance claim can be rejected due to the policyholder not having a valid PUC certificate.
What is the Pollution Under Control Certificate?
Over the last two decades, there has been a rise in pollution levels, with one of the major contributors being vehicle emissions. Most cars and bikes consume fuel energy in the wrong way, which leads to excessive emissions and the resultant increase in air pollution. The PUC or Pollution Under Control Certificate is a document that states whether a vehicle complies with the permissible pollution levels, as per the set norms. A car owner can procure a PUC certificate after their car undergoes a PUC test at an RTO certified centre.
Like your car insurance documents or your driving license, it is necessary to have your PUC Certificate or at least a soft copy of the document in your vehicle at all times. Not having this certificate on you while driving your car is a legal offence and can attract traffic fines.
You should get a PUC certificate even if you have basic third-party insurance for your vehicle. And if you buy car insurance online, it is easier to compare car insurance quotes with the help of an online car insurance calculator.
How are your PUC Certificate and Car Insurance Connected?
While it is not possible for a petrol or diesel car to completely avoid emitting pollutants, through proper functioning and use of the vehicle, it is possible to ensure that the car emits pollution within the limits as set by India’s Central Pollution Control Board. A PUC Certificate indicates that the car emits pollutants below the permissible limit, therefore, rendering the car safe for the environment.
For quite some time, it has been easy for many to get the certificate but evade the PUC test through bribes and unfair means. However, after the Supreme Court ruled that car insurance policy renewal would not be possible without a PUC Certificate, car owners have become more alert about procuring the document through the mandatory PUC test.
The PUC Certificate is meant to certify that your car emits pollution within the prescribed limit. One of the main reasons why a car emits too much pollution is due to poor maintenance. This means that the internal car parts need replacing or are in dire need of repair. When a car insurance policy is issued to a car owner, it is necessary for the insurer to know that the car is in good working condition, subject to which the amount for the premium payments is fixed.
After buying a car, most people immediately buy car insurance since it is a legal requirement. However, it is fine to get a PUC certificate until a year after the purchase of the car. Since most car insurance policy terms are for a year, by the time one gets the PUC document, it is time to renew the car insurance policy. Hence, while a PUC certificate is not a mandatory requirement for purchasing a car insurance policy, it is a must-have while renewing the policy.
How to Get a PUC Certificate Online and Offline?
- The Offline Method
- While getting a PUC for the first time, it is necessary to follow the process offline as it involves being present at the RTO-appointed centre for the PUC test:
- Check the government portal’s “PUC Centre List” and visit a certified RTO centre to take the emission test. This list contains the contact information, addresses and the type of vehicle tested at each centre.
- At the centre, an official operator will examine the car’s exhaust pipe to check if the emission levels are within the permissible limits.
- If you own a diesel car, they will press the accelerator and note down the readings. After repeating this step five times, the average of the five readings is considered as the final reading.
- In the case of petrol cars, they will start the car and note down just one final reading without pressing the accelerator.
The officer then examines the readings to ensure that your vehicle is eligible for a certificate and issues a hard copy of the same.
- The Online Method
- As a car owner, you can get the PUC online if you already have a valid PUC certificate and need a soft copy. You can simply visit the central government transport and related services portal Parivahan and follow the steps below:
- Fill in your car’s registration number and the last five digits of the VIN or Vehicle Identification Number or chassis number.
- Enter the captcha code that is needed to verify the authenticity of the user and click on “PUC details.”
- After this, you will be directed to a page that has your car’s emission test readings. You can download the soft copy of the PUC document here.
Having a valid PUC document goes beyond being a mandatory requirement. It not only shows that you are a law-abiding citizen but also certifies that you are doing your bit to protect the environment from further harm, in whatever way possible.