These days, cars and motor bikes are mostly installed with high technology equipments to ensure a safe and comfortable drive. However, when you drive through waterlogged area there is a chance that your car engine might get stalled. This phenomenon, known as hydrostatic loss, can impact any vehicle.
Vehicle engines work on the principle of combustion and this involves continuous intake of air supply to compress and ignite the fuel in the engine cylinder to create the necessary force to drive the engine. While driving through a waterlogged area, water can find its way into the engine through the air intake valve and it leads to a situation where the engine cylinder rod bends or breaks leading to engine seizure. The problem gets aggravated when the driver tries to forcibly turn on the vehicle or crank the engine which could result in causing heavy damage to the engine.
Engine damage due to hydrostatic loss is classified as a consequential loss as per motor insurance regulations and is not covered under a regular motor insurance policy. This is because the damage is a consequence of a certain action resulting from having cranked the engine and not an outcome of an uncertain event. The cost of engine repair in this case would be minimum Rs 1 lakh for a small car and around Rs 3 lakh for a mid-sized car. For SUVs and premium vehicles, it can be upwards of Rs 10 lakh.
How to prepare yourself
It is best to avoid driving your vehicle through waterlogged areas, however, if you were compelled to do so and the vehicle was to stall, avoid cranking the engine under any circumstances. Instead, call your insurance company or a towing service provider to get the vehicle towed away safely to a garage or service station.
One can also consider purchasing an add-on cover that insurers now offer to cover such losses. With this cover, one can save oneself from paying the damages towards the vehicle engine if the it stalls while driving through a waterlogged area. Priced at only around 10 per cent of your motor insurance cover, it can save you from incurring heavy expenses towards engine repair from hydro-static loss. It is important you avail this cover at the time of purchasing or renewing your motor insurance policy.
It is best to show precaution and be equipped with the right cover to financially secure ourselves from high losses arising out of vehicles stalling in waterlogged areas.
The author is Head, Motor Underwriting and Claims, ICICI Lombard