Cyclone Michaung | Here is all you need to know about vehicle insurance claims

While flood-damaged vehicles are covered under comprehensive motor insurance, experts have pointed to a few factors that vehicle owners need to keep in mind while filing claims

December 07, 2023 12:21 pm | Updated 01:03 pm IST - CHENNAI

Many vehicles were damaged in the flooding caused by the rains due to Cyclone Michaung, in Chennai and its neighbouring districts

Many vehicles were damaged in the flooding caused by the rains due to Cyclone Michaung, in Chennai and its neighbouring districts | Photo Credit: PTI

The unprecedented rains in Chennai and neighbouring districts caused by Cyclone Michaung have resulted in damages to multiple motor vehicles. Once things get back to normal, here is what you have to keep in mind while making insurance claims.

Flood-damaged vehicles are covered under comprehensive motor insurance, with add-ons like zero depreciation and engine protection recommended. Total loss claims are common in severe situations, Venkatesh Naidu, CEO, Bajaj Capital Insurance Broking Ltd, said.

Insurance claims can be made in cases where parked cars have been washed away or collided with each other due to floods or other natural disasters. This would typically fall under the comprehensive coverage of a motor insurance policy, which covers both own damage to the insured vehicle, and third-party liability, he said.

Editorial | Shared blame: On Chennai and Cyclone Michaung

Under own damage coverage, the insurer would reimburse the car owner for cost of repairs or replacement of the damaged vehicle. This coverage would typically apply regardless of whether the car was parked or in motion at the time of the flood, Mr. Naidu explained.

If the parked car collided with other vehicles or property during the flood, the insurer would also cover the third-party liability for any bodily injuries or property damage caused. This ensures that the car owner is not personally liable for damage caused by the flood, he noted.

Specific exclusions

However, Mr. Naidu pointed out there may be some specific exclusions in the motor insurance policy that could affect the claim settlement. For instance, some policies may not cover losses caused by gradual deterioration or wear-and-tear, or they may have sub-limits for certain types of damage, such as damage to tires or electrical components.

If your parked car has been damaged due to a flood, it is important to follow the claim procedure outlined in your motor insurance policy. This typically involves notifying the insurer promptly, filing a police complaint, documenting the damage with photos and videos, and submitting the necessary documents, including the policy copy, FIR, and repair estimates, he said.

One important aspect is to notify the insurer promptly. Get repair estimates from authorised repair shops to support your claim amount. Allow the insurer’s surveyor to inspect the damaged vehicle and gather information. Answer all questions truthfully and provide any requested documentation to avoid claim delays or rejection, Mr. Naidu said.

Do not start a flooded automobile

Floods often inflict two forms of damage to four-wheelers: engine damage and accessory damage. However, keep in mind that any engine damage sustained while attempting to start a flooded automobile will not be covered by the insurance provider. It’s usually a good idea to contact your insurance company after the water has receded. Aside from that, add-on covers such as zero depreciation, engine guards, electrical circuit shields, and quick roadside help are available, Rakesh Goyal, Director, Probus Insurance Broker, said.

In case one has availed of home insurance and is seeking claim for damages, Mr. Naidu said photographs, receipts, and repair estimates strengthen the claim.

Get the insurer’s approval before starting repairs to avoid jeopardising your claim, he said.

Both Mr. Naidu and Goyal said one must read the home insurance policy documents carefully to find out about inclusions, exclusions, deductibles, and claim procedures to avoid surprises .

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