During the past six months, different states have been hit by cyclones, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters and properties, cars and other goods have been damaged in many households. For those, who have adequate insurance, this would be the time to make claims. In the case of a car, Sajja Praveen Chowdary Motor, business head, Policybazaar.com, says: “Accidents are just one risk. The general cost of an accident is in the range of Rs 15,000-25,000. Loss due to a natural disaster can be much higher. For example, 75 per cent of your car could get damaged if it gets washed away by flood waters or a big tree falls on it. These are large claims. It’s important to have a comprehensive auto insurance policy with adequate riders or add-ons.”
Adds Bisheshwaru Singh, chief marketing officer, Universal Sompo General Insurance: “A comprehensive car insurance covers not only third-party liabilities and losses, but also damages caused to you and your own car.” Natural calamities are automatically covered under Motor Insurance, and Own Damage (OD) policies cover damages on account of natural calamities such as earthquake, flood, typhoon, hurricane, storm, tempest, inundation, cyclone, hailstorm and frost. But damages on account of ‘consequential losses’ and depreciation are the major exclusions under motor policies.
So, what are ‘consequential losses’? Engine damage due to hydrostatic loss during monsoons is a common consequential loss. During the rains or cyclones, there’s a high possibility of water entering your car’s engine. This occurs when you try to start the car while it is in water, resulting in engine damage. Your regular motor insurance policy does not cover this damage, as it becomes ‘consequential damage’. So even though the car is insured for rains, flooding or waterlogging or damage to the car as a consequence aren’t covered.
Sanjay Datta, chief-underwriting, claims & reinsurance, ICICI Lombard General Insurance, says: “Considering consequential losses and depreciation are the major exclusions, add-ons such as engine protect and zero depreciation, which covers such exclusions, should be purchased along with the policy. Customers can also opt for add-ons such as garage cash (provide daily allowance), EMI protects (covers EMI up to specified months) and others.”
There are a few essential things to keep in mind while making the claims. Start the process ASAP and take video or photos immediately so that you have proof of the damage. That is, if a tree fell on the car, taking a picture immediately would ensure that you have proof even if the insurance surveyor comes only after the municipality has cleared the tree. Also, if you can’t submit documents digitally, they can also be submitted physically at the garage or to the claims’ manager during the vehicle inspection. With some companies, vehicle inspection can be done digitally using their app, use this facility.
Datta says: “In case of repair claim, vehicle repairs are conducted by the garage and a re-inspection is conducted by the insurer to check the quality of repairs depending on the claim value/repairer history.” For a repair claim, a repair invoice needs to be submitted to the insurer. In case the vehicle is repaired at a partner garage, the claim would be settled in a cashless mode wherein the customer only needs to pay the balance amount at the garage for the vehicle delivery. Otherwise, payment would be made to the customer upon receipt of the required documents. Claim amount against damages to the vehicle is limited to Insured’s Declared Value available in the policy.