The arrival of monsoon may be good news for some people facing drought or reeling under the heat wave, however, sometimes that turns into a nightmare especially for home and vehicle owners. The current devastation caused by Kerala floods as well as the floods in some other parts of the country is a case in point, whereby hundreds of people have lost their lives and lakhs of homes and vehicles have got damaged. It is in such cases that householder’s insurance and auto insurance policies come to one’s rescue.
“When Mother Nature decides to turn ferocious, there is nothing that can withstand its wrath. The best thing one can do, however, is to get a proper motor insurance cover that provides financial protection for one’s beloved possessions like bike, car, etc. The recent floods that have crippled Kerala and other states of India have burnt a hole in the pockets of crores of people. It is only vehicle owners who have a comprehensive motor insurance plan are saved from this financial burden,” says Devendra Rane, Founder & CTO, Coverfox.com.
A comprehensive motor insurance plan, thus, is the only way one can get complete financial protection for your vehicle. This plan offers cover for any loss or damage done to the vehicle due to natural calamities and other activities such as:
a. Damage caused by natural disasters or severe weather like flood, typhoon, hurricane, storm, tempest, inundation, cyclone, hailstorm, frost, earthquake, lightning, landslide and rockslide
b. Fire, explosion, self-ignition
c. Burglary, housebreaking or theft
d. Riot and strike
e. Accident by external means
f. Whilst in transit by road, rail, inland-waterway, lift, elevator or air
If one’s vehicle gets washed away due to the floods, one can file a claim under a comprehensive motor insurance plan. It also covers damage to the vehicle’s engine due to heavy floods, or serious damage to the vehicle’s body mostly due to a tree falling on it or damage to windshield of the car due to some other object striking it.
However, even a comprehensive motor insurance cover is not adequate in some cases.
Insurers say that motor insurance policies do cover all damages due to natural calamities. However, certain actions of customers can lead to damages which are not payable under the normal motor insurance policies.
One such thing is Hydro-static lock or Engine Seizure. Motor insurance policies generally do not cover damages arising out of ‘Engine Seizure’ which is caused when the water enters the engine of a car, especially cars with low-ground clearance. Therefore, “one should be very careful while driving through waterlogged areas. The first thing to do in such a situation is to stop driving and not trying to start the engine. However, if you have an add-on cover like ‘Engine Protector’, then the insurance claim is payable. Also, if the customer has a ‘Roadside Assistance’ add-on cover, then he just has to make a call, and your vehicle will be taken to a safe location,” says R Kannan, Executive Director (Claims), IFFCO Tokio General Insurance.
If you do not have add-on covers like Engine Protector or Roadside Assistance, then you should not drive the car when stuck in a waterlogged area. You just have to call a towing agency to tow your vehicle to a safe place. Towing fees are payable along with your repair claims, if any.
“The rest of the add-on covers like NCB protector or Medical Expenses or PA cover are not really helpful during floods. But Depreciation Waiver or Daily Rental or Travel Allowance can be helpful during floods as in case of repairs, Depreciation Waiver cover will ensure full cost of the replaced part and Daily Rental Taxi cover will ensure you have a taxi or travel cost till the time your vehicle is in the garage,” informs Kannan.
If the vehicle is fully submerged, it results into a total loss due to excessive water ingress in the engine. In such cases, New Vehicle Replacement cover can be helpful, else only the IDV (Insured Declared Value) is payable.
It is clear, thus, that in order to protect your vehicles completely, you must buy some additional add-on riders. Here are a few important riders that can be bought for getting full protection for your vehicle:
# Engine Protection Cover: If you are staying in an area that is prone to flooding during the rains, this add-on cover is a must for your vehicle. “The add-on cover pays for damages caused to the vehicle’s engine or its most important parts like cylinder, piston, crankshaft, pins, gearbox, etc. due to water ingression, leakage of lubricating oil, hydrostatic lock, etc. This kind of engine damage is excluded in the standard comprehensive motor insurance policy,” says Rane.
# Return to Invoice cover: This is another must add-on cover as waking up to a full-damaged and flattened-out vehicle with a tree on top always comes as a shocker. This add-on will help you get complete reimbursement for the difference between the ex-showroom price and the IDV (Insured Declared Value) of the vehicle along with registration fees, road tax, and insurance amount in the event of a total loss or theft. This add-on is a complete saviour if the vehicle is declared unfit for further repairs and usage.
# Accessories Cover: This add-on is helpful in case the vehicle is submerged in the water or there is water ingression in the cabin leading to damage to vehicle’s equipment and accessories like LCD, TV, seat covers and other luxurious accessories. It will help in covering the cost of the same.
# Zero or Nil Depreciation cover: This add-on offers complete coverage to the vehicle against the depreciation in value of vehicle parts. “In case of any claim, the entire value of parts like plastic, fibre, rubber and glass without considering any depreciation will be paid. It, thus, helps save a lot of money in case your vehicle gets damaged, as you get paid the entire cost of the damage,” says Rane.
# Roadside Assistance cover: This is another important add-on that should not be missed especially during the rains. This add-on becomes the most useful if you are stranded due to a break-down of your vehicle in the middle of the road. The insurer will provide you with emergency roadside assistance services like help in changing the flat tyres, roadside repairs, emergency fuel refilling, towing facility on a 24 x 7 basis, among others.
The most important point to be considered while buying a comprehensive motor insurance plan, thus, is that you should always choose a plan and add-ons that best suit your needs and budget.