The heavy rainfall caused by Cyclone Michaung has resulted in widespread water logging across Chennai. Social media platforms are flooded with videos showing cars being carried away by floodwaters. In certain areas, the water accumulation has reached a level where cars and auto rickshaws are entirely submerged and swept away in flood.

Narayan Rao, Head of Motor Claims at Digit General Insurance, said, “Your vehicle can get damaged during heavy rains, floods, or cyclones. The vehicle’s repair cost can also be high if the water seeps through the engine components. If your vehicle gets submerged in water, do not try to restart it as it may damage the engine components, which may prejudice the claim decision. If the water enters the engine, disconnect the battery power supply and tow the vehicle to your nearest garage for inspection and cleaning before switching on your vehicle.

Flood damage is typically covered under a comprehensive motor insurance plan. “It is recommended to opt for add-ons to the comprehensive cover such as Zero Depreciation coverage, Engine Protect add-on, Roadside Assistance (RSA), and consumables add,” said Animesh Das, Chief Underwriting Officer at ACKO.

Here are the details on the add-on you should know:

i. Engine and Gearbox Protection cover: This add-on pays for repair and replacement costs of engine and gearbox parts if the components get damaged due to water ingression.

ii. Roadside Assistance: In case your vehicle has any trouble while you are on the road, you can make use of this service to get immediate assistance like towing, repair, tyre replacement and fuel assistance, among others. For example, Digit’s RSA cover provides live tracking in more than 60 cities and ensures end-to-end coordination till the customer gets home.

iii. Return to Invoice cover: In a normal scenario, the maximum claim amount one can get is restricted to the Insured Declared Value (IDV) of the vehicle. In case your vehicle gets damaged beyond repair, goes missing or gets stolen, you can receive the on-road price of the car.

iv. Zero Depreciation Cover: In most cases, the car owner has to pay for the depreciation and replacement of spare parts after an accident. To cover these expenses by the insurance company, you can purchase the nil or zero depreciation add-on along with your existing insurance plan. This additional coverage includes repair and replacement costs for rubber, plastic, and fiber components of the vehicle.

v. Consumable Cover: Typically, consumables like oil, nuts, and bolts are not covered under insurance at the time of claims. However, with this add-on, you can have these consumables, no matter how small, covered as well. This add-on covers expenses for consumables no longer usable due to accidental damage.

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What to do in case of a claim: In case of any vehicle damage or incident, notify your insurer immediately. One can reach the insurer either through the toll-free number or customer service email. Nowadays, one does not need to submit any physical document. All necessary documents can be submitted digitally to ensure a smooth process and that the claim is settled quickly.

Das said, “The policyholder can easily prove the damage with reference to the national news. One must also keep the Registration Certificate (RC) of the car, Driving License (DL) of the owner-driver, Policy Document (soft copy), and documents of the evidence handy. Once the insurance company has surveyed the damages to the car, the claim will be processed.”

“In case your vehicle goes missing, as we saw in videos emerging online from Chennai where the vehicles were swept away, one would need to inform the police about the loss of the vehicle. One would get the claim amount equivalent to the insured declared value (IDV) or on-road price value (in case of RTI cover) if the vehicle is categorised as missing or stolen by the police,” said Rao.

“The IDV for a brand-new car is taken as 95% of the showroom price, 80% for a 1-year-old car, 70% for a 2-year-old car, 60% for a 3-year-old car, and so on. For example, a 3-year-old swift owner will get 60% of Rs 8 lakh, which is Rs 4.80 lakh in case of total damage. In the case of upholstery, lights, or any other parts that are pre-fitted in cars damaged due to flooding, the customer has to pay the depreciation amount of the part cost, which is roughly 25-30% of the part. In case these parts are externally fitted by the car owners, then they should take accessories cover as a rider to cover these parts. The cost of this rider is 4% of the accessories cost. In case of damages to different parts of a car (but not total damage or theft of a car), the settlement amount depends on the parts that are damaged. The share from customers can range roughly around 25-30% but it’s not fixed and can vary on different damages,” added Das.

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