That sinking feeling! Flood & car insurance—few tips to navigate the murky waters
Images of flooded homes and submerged cars from Bengaluru flashed across millions of screens as India’s IT capital got overwhelmed by the deluge last week. At least one person lost their life and property worth billions was destroyed.
Bengaluru rains: Check how vehicle insurance can cover damage to cars from floods
Bengaluru floods: Now affected residents are coming to terms with the financial consequences of the disaster
Are floods covered by car insurance?
That depends on the type of insurance plan you have. Flood is only covered under a comprehensive car insurance plan, which is optional and not mandatory, unlike a Third Party insurance. A comprehensive cover insures your vehicle against natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, cyclones, and even man-made disasters like fires, man-made calamities, and theft.
What is covered & what is not covered under comprehensive insurance plan?
A flood may cause damage to the engine, gearbox, Electronic Control Module (EMU), and upholstery.
Flood water may enter the car engine and render partial or total damage to the unit, and this kind of loss can set the owner back by a few lakhs, depending on the model of the car.
The gearbox can easily malfunction due to water ingress. The electric components, sensors etc. are especially vulnerable and may short-circuit in a deluge. If the water goes above the dashboard, it can easily enter the interior of the vehicle and damage the upholstery.
It is to be noted that a comprehensive cover does provide cover for damage to the engine or gearbox in the event of a flood. But, you can buy the extra protection with add-on rides such as engine protection cover, zero depreciation cover, consumable cover.
Also, any kind of consequential damage from natural disasters is not covered under any comprehensive base plan.
So, what is consequential damage and can you avoid it?
According to the online insurance platform Acko, consequential damages are those damages that arise as a result of an action that may or may not be in your control. It is easy to understand consequential damage with the help of Hydrostatic lock. Consider the scenario that your residential area got flooded and in a desperate bid to salvage your vehicle, you decide to drive it to a safer location. You make your way to the car, enter it and hit the ignition—but nothing happens. By the act of cranking the engine you probably caused your car to go into a hydrostatic lock. This is consequential damage and would not be covered under a base plan. However, an add-on cover will cover the same.
Do not start the engine if you are stuck in a flooded area, even if the water recedes. It is advisable to disconnect the battery and take the car to a workshop.
If the water enters the passenger compartment, do not switch on the ignition as it could lead to a short circuit in the electrical system which may cause further damage to both you and the vehicle.
Test your car brakes after leaving the flooded area.
Keep a hammer or any other heavy instrument ready to break the window glasses in case the door locks of your car gets jammed due to the water.