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Steps to Rescue and Repair Your Vehicle Post Floods


Chennai has witnessed the worst flooding in over a century that has led to huge losses of life and property. A flood always rings warning bells for vehicle owners too as car troubles set in due to flooding and inundation. Stalled vehicles in water logged roads, engine and body damage or electronic parts are common traumas in the event of a flood. Here are a few requisites to be kept in mind to ensure avoidance of any further damage to your vehicle as well as a smooth claim procedure. Some of the common scenarios that you may encounter during such a situation are:-

Situation 1

If your car has been driven through a water-logged area, where the water level reaches above the height of the tyre and the vehicle has not stopped in the water logged area

  • It is advisable to avoid driving in a water logged area and take safer road or if needed park the vehicle at safe place and call for help immediately
  • In case the vehicle stalled in the water logged area avoid trials to restart the stalled vehicle by cranking or pushing it, as it may severely damage the engine and the electrical system

Situation 2

If the water level submerges the tyres half way through, don’t drive unless unavoidable. In case you are driving remember

  • Shift to 1st gear
  • Step on the accelerator to increase the RPM to avoid blockage of the silencer by water
  • If you need to slow down the speed of vehicle due to traffic , use the clutch but donot let the engine speed go down
  • Once you have crossed the flooded area, continue to accelerate the engine so that the silencer gets cleaned out
  • In case the engine stalls in the water logged area , do not try to re-start as it will damage the engine components

Situation 3

If the vehicle is partially submerged, wherein water has entered the vehicle compartment or engine.

  • Try to disconnect the battery power supply immediately
  • Seek the help of an expert technician to inspect vehicle and remove the water from engine and vehicle parts including engine, transmission, electrical and electronic components
  • Incase if a two wheeler, do not try to start the vehicle by cranking, pushing or kicking

Situation 4

If the vehicle has been standing submerged in water for a long time;

  • Disconnect the battery power supply
  • Do not try to re-start as it will damage the engine components
  • Replace the vehicle lubricants and fluids immediately
  • Apply anti rust and anti-fungal spray for its restoration
  • Check for proper operations of systems and mechanism

However, if damages occur even after all the precautions and you need to file for a claim, here is quick guide to help you do so, smoothly

  • Be prompt in registering the claim. Ensure that you intimate the insurance company about the damage/loss as soon as the floodwater recedes and connectivity is restored. Taking spot photographs of the damage is advisable
  • If the car is not in a state to be moved, it must be left at the spot to avoid further damage
  • You can get your car towed to a repair center/garage once approved by the insurer. Your insurer can assist you with the same
  • Once the vehicle has been towed to the work shop, the surveyor would take an account of the damages and would make his estimate, post which the repairing work on the car can start
  • Do not allow the car to be repaired or dismantled until the surveyor has inspected and assessed the damage. Ideally a surveyor conducts the inspection within one working day, once the claim has been registered
  • If the repairs are done at a network garage the claim will be settled as cashless by the insurance company
  • However if the vehicle is repaired at a non-network garage, then the claim will be reimbursed against the bill and payment receipt
  • Today insurers have come out with mobile apps that come with the facility to register a claim, locate preferred repairer/ garage network, submission of vehicle documents and tracking of claim status. Ensure that you download such apps for your own convenience

If the insured’s documents have been misplaced due to flooding, the company relies on the surveyor’s reports as well as physical evidence.

Here is a step-by-step process to register a motor claim in the event of a flood:

  1. Send your vehicle for repair (if movable) at a network garage or get it towed to avoid further damage
  2. Register your claim by calling our toll-free number. You have to provide the following details to the call centre executive:
  • Contact number
  • Policy number. Engine and chassis number as well as registration number of vehicle if policy number not available
  • Current location of vehicle
  • Vehicle inspection address
  1. You also have the option of using the company’s mobile apps to register a claim if there is connectivity
  2. Once the claim is registered, you will get a claim reference number. You will get SMSs at each stage of your claim. Or you could call the company on the toll-free number with your claim reference number to know the status of your claim
  3. Submit the copy of documents (RC book and policy documents) to the garage/dealer and get it verified with the originals
  4. After completion of repair, payment of loss will be made directly to the garage if it is a network garage
  5. If the repair work is done at a non-network garage, the company will reimburse the insured for the repair cost

What is covered by your motor insurance policy in a flood situation?

  1. Cleaning of engine or other parts of the vehicle due to water and mud deposits
  2. Impact damages to the vehicle due to falling of trees or compound walls
  3. Cleaning of interiors of the vehicles

What is not covered by your motor insurance policy in a flood situation?

  1. Damage to engine due to Hydrostatic lock, wherein flood water enters the engine, but the vehicle is forcibly started, leading to damage to the engine and finally, breakdown. This is not covered by a standard motor insurance policy, but it is covered if the insured has an add-on cover such as Engine Protector
  2. Any loss resulting from the insured forcibly trying to start the vehicle

Ensure that during the renewal of your motor insurance policy, you opt for add-on covers offered by the insurer. Some of the add-on covers which are available are Engine Protector, Depreciation Shield, 24×7 assistance, etc. These covers provide coverage for damages and offer services which are typically not covered under your normal motor insurance policy. For instance: the engine cover will cover damages caused to the engine due to water seepage or gear box breakage due to oil leakage. Without an add-on cover in case of such damages, you will have to bear the cost of repair as an out of pocket expense.

Our customers in and around Chennai could call Bajaj Allianz’s toll-free number 1800 209 7072 for any claim related assistance.

This article is authored by Mr. Vijay Kumar, Chief Technical Officer – Motor Insurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance

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Published on:24 Dec, 2015

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