Flood-stricken? Know what your car insurance will pay for
Here’s how you can navigate the maze of admissible claims and exclusions when filing car insurance post floods
As rain-ravaged Mumbai picks up pieces - literally and figuratively - to regain a semblance of normalcy, the prime focus will now shift to recouping losses the city's denizens may have incurred.
Many vehicles are under the weather as a consequence of being driven through roads from hell. Besides, many car owners had to abandon their cars on waterlogged streets in an attempt to reach safe havens, exposing their vehicles to torrential rains.
Downpour of woes
You can claim compensation for the losses suffered under your comprehensive car insurance policy.
Damage to the car, engine and body parts make up the list of most common claims. This includes water ingression into the car cabin or engine, damage under the body of the car due to riding on potholed roads and damage to body parts. “Due to poor visibility and unclear road surfaces, vehicles pass through potholes, which can cause damage under body of the car. Lack of control due to rain and strong winds can lead to collision with other vehicles, triggering body damage claims,” says KG Krishnamoorthy Rao, MD and CEO, Future Generali India Insurance Co Ltd. Electrical or mechanical breakdowns or damage to electrical accessories also form a huge chunk of claims filed. "The highest number of claims received after the flood or flood like situations are mostly related to complete damage to cars or damage to windshield" says Tarun Mathur, co-founder and director, Policybazaar.com
Cut your losses
Given the mandatory element in motor insurance, it is likely that most car owners would have bought a comprehensive car insurance policy, which will come to your aid at this difficult juncture. If your car has suffered damages due to collision with other vehicles while driving in a flooded area, you can file for compensation. "If the loss has been caused by falling of wall or tree on a moving or parked vehicle due to heavy rain or wind, again you are eligible for a claim," explains Krishnamoorthy. Similar is the case with electrical and electronic parts affected by rain. "Any damage to the car body due to say tree fall or damage to the windshield because of other objects, too, will be payable," explains Mathur.
Beware of exclusions
However, there are damages that your insurer will not pay for, leaving a permanent hole in your pocket. The most common one is damage caused by water ingression in the engine. "Hydrostatic lock is an exclusion. If you try to start or crank up the car when water enters into car or car engine compartment and a loss ensues, it will not fall under the coverage ambit," says Krishnamoorthy. That is, if you have not fortified your policy with add-ons. "In case the person has taken an engine protector add-on then such damages to the engine will be covered. Depreciation on plastic parts, tyre, and rubber parts will not be covered unless a zero depreciation add-on has been purchased," adds Mathur.
If the insurer feels that you have not taken the steps necessary to protect your car after flooding, you may have to take a hit. Make sure that rusted or corroded parts are cleaned soon after the waterlogging incident. You also need to make note of the limit on amount payable. For instance, there could be a cap on the cost of towing the vehicles that the insurer will cover. You will have to beat the part of the expense, if any, that exceeds the sub-limits specified.
Damage to body of the car or windshield
Loss due to collision while driving through rain or floods
Damage to body parts due to flooding
Damages Not Payable
Engine damage due to attempts to crank up the engine after water ingress
Depreciation on plastic, tyre or rubber parts unless covered by zero dep
Damage due to lack of adequate care on part of insured