Floods in Kerala have played havoc not only with the lives of people but also with their livelihood and personal belongings.According to some estimates, the losses could run into several thousand crores. Recovering a part of the losses will require people to submit their insurance claims with the insurance companies.
Damage to vehicle
If your vehicle is already submerged in flood waters, do not attempt to start the engine. Remember, motor insurance does not cover any consequential damage because of one’s own fault. Damage to the engine is covered under the basic insurance policy but any consequential damage by forcing the engine to start is not covered. A motor insurance policy without engine-protect add-on will not help you get a claim in case you start the engine when the car is in a waterlogged condition. Inform the insurer at the earliest and register a claim. If you are living in a location that is prone to floods or waterlogging, buying the engine protect add-on helps in meeting the claims in such situations.
However, the problem could be that that the policy papers might have been damaged or gone missing. Insurance companies have come forward and laid down a simple procedure for claims even without submitting original documents. They have set up helpline numbers and deployed their field officers on the ground to help claimants file and get their claims.
Damage to property
In case of any damage to your property or your belongings, losses can be minimised if you hold a householder policy. Register the claim with the insurance company and better take photographs of the loss to submit as documentary evidence. If you haven’t bought a home insurance policy, this is a wakeup call. Any loss of content or building is covered under the householder policy. There are various options available in this policy, evaluate each of the sections before buying a policy.
The devastating flood waters could have led to deaths but the body may not have been retreieved. Original policy documents also may be lost or damaged. For the loss of lives, the death certificate will suffice. The insurers have agreed to pay the claim even if the body is missing or the original papers are lost. As per the rules, if someone goes missing for seven years, then only the insurers treat it as a death and settle the claims. However, in the event of such a calamity, such rules are typically waived off. Still, each insurer may have its own specific requirements, such as procuring a certificate from municipal authorities, so nominees or family members should get to know from the insurer about the same. The insurers are also coming forward proactively to help family members in this time of need.
Importantly, the insurance regulator has asked life and general insurance companies to ease the claims settlement process and aim for speedy settlement in the flood-hit areas of the state. It’s always better to register the claim immediately with whatever documentary evidence that can be provided to the insurers. With the regulator standing firm and asking the insurers to pay up fast at the time of need, any financial support to the affected families will be important at this crucial time. Going forward, keeping ourselves protected against all odds through health, life, motor and home policies is the prudent way to safeguard one’s life and wealth.
Sanjiv Bajaj is VC & MD, Bajaj Capital