As monsoon continues, one has to bear the agony of driving through waterlogged roads and ensuring that your vehicle is not parked in an area that is prone to water accumulation or flooding.
Though you may have a motor insurance, it is important that you take due care when you make a claim as well as be aware of admissible and non-admissible claims. While most of the damages and losses to your vehicle can be taken care of by the insurance cover, there are some claims that are not payable under the basic and cheap motor insurance.
During rains, your vehicle may be more prone to some damages, mainly to the upholstery and equipment such as the music system or the AC in case water seeps in when while driving through water-logged roads.
These costs are covered under the basic motor insurance policy. However, there may be some deductions for replacement of plastic or fibre parts due to depreciation and this usually ranges between 30% and 50%. The difference would have to be borne by the policyholder.
Also, if you start your car while it is still submerged in water, damage to the engine is highly likely. On starting the engine repeatedly, it may cause further damage and will cease to function. This phenomenon is known as hydro-static lock and is one of the most common reasons for damage to vehicle engines during monsoons.
Such a consequential damage is not payable under a regular car insurance policy. You may have to call the towing agency or the insurer who can arrange to tow the vehicle and these charges are payable. However there are some add-on covers like depreciation cap and engine protector which would cover such specific claims.
RISKS OF DRIVING ON WATERLOGGED ROADS
While driving on waterlogged roads, your vehicle’s engine, upholstery, front or rear bumpers may get damaged due to skidding on slippery roads, and so on.
WAYS TO REDUCE RISKS
Situation 1: When water level is above the tyre level.
Solution: Do not attempt to cross the water. Instead, stop driving as the force of the water is greater than the weight of your vehicle.
Situation 2: When the water level is below the tyre level and driving is inevitable.
Solution: In such a situation, shift to the first gear. Following that, step on the accelerator to increase engine RPM and avoid blockage of the silencer due to water. In case you need to reduce the speed, use the clutch, but don’t reduce engine speed. After crossing the flooded area, continue to accelerate engine to clean the silencer.
Situation 3: When the vehicle is submerged in water.
Solution: Firstly, do not attempt to start the vehicle by any means (self ignition or push starter). This can cause severe damage to the engine. Get the vehicle inspected by an expert technician to check damages, transmission, electrical and electronic components. Also, make sure to call a towing vehicle to take your car to the nearest garage. The cost of towing is covered by most insurers. Post this, once on dry land, check for proper operations of systems and mechanisms too.
TIPS TO REDUCE YOUR CLAIMS
While driving on slippery roads, please ensure that you maintain a good distance so as to avoid skidding. Use fog lights if you are moving through heavy rains.
Make sure that the insurer is intimated of the loss at the earliest. Ideally, this should be done within 48 hours. A timely notification to the insurer helps with proper evaluation of the loss and also helps in legal issues.