You must initiate the claim process within 7 days of the damage, says Tarun Mathur.
The longer you take to get the vehicle to a service centre, higher the chances are of your claim getting rejected.
This year, the rains left behind a massive trail of destruction in several parts of Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra where deaths due to floods crossed 250 mark.
Apart from the loss of life, property worth several thousand crores was also destroyed due to floods.
There have been several cases, where vehicles were completely submerged in water and suffered heavy damage due to floods.
During such a situation, people having comprehensive motor insurance can feel safe as their insurer pays for all the damages caused to the vehicle. However, people who do not have a comprehensive motor insurance policy have to bear all the expense incurred for repair of the vehicle.
With the right motor insurance policy in place, you can easily save yourself from the unwanted financial expenses for getting your vehicle repaired due to heavy rains or floods.
However, in order to make a successful claim, it is very important to follow the right claim process.
Following the right claim, the process is as important as having a valid insurance policy as insurers have every right to reject your claim if the right process is not followed.
Preventive measures to take before filing a motor claim
There is a plethora of things to remember and numerous preventive measures to take before you file a claim for your vehicle damaged due to floods.
1. Never start a submerged vehicle
If you want to make sure you are eligible to claim insurance for flood damage to your vehicle, never ever attempt to start a submerged vehicle.
Rather, try to click some pictures and make videos of the vehicle as these will work as prima facie evidence of the damage caused to the vehicle.
Trying to start your vehicle may damage its engine and one must know that damage to the engine is never covered under a motor insurance policy.
It is only covered in case you have taken an engine protection add-on along with the comprehensive motor insurance policy.
2. Inform the insurance company
Next important thing to do is inform the insurance company as soon as possible and get the affected vehicle towed to the nearest service centre.
You may choose to inform the insurer by either visiting their branch office, by calling the customer care numbers or by sending an email to the service department.
With advancement in technology, numerous insurers even allow raising a claim request through their official mobile application. All you need to do is upload the pictures and videos on the application and raise a claim request.
In order to help the customers during natural calamities like floods and tsunami, even popular web-aggregators provide services to help people with their claim.
As a customer, always remember to ask for the claim docket number after raising a claim request.
3. Do not delay
You must initiate the claim process within 7 days of the damage. The longer you take to get the vehicle to a service centre, higher the chances of your claim getting rejected.
4. Keep multiple copies of documents
In case your vehicle gets washed away because of intense floods, you do not need to worry.
For the benefit of the customers, under such situations, most insurers simply ask for the policy documents and even if a hard copy of the documents is not available, you may present a soft copy of the documents.
How to settle your claim
Your claim settlement amount completely depends upon the extent of loss and you are reimbursed the amount after due inspection. Also, the extent of coverage widely depends on the motor insurance type.
In case you have a zero depreciation cover, the entire replacement cost is borne by your insurer and you are just supposed to pay for the file charges.
If you have a usual policy -- one without zero depreciation add-on -- you are supposed to pay your contribution as per valid deductibles.
For instance, say some particular part of the vehicle needs to be repaired and the cost of repair is Rs 20,000. Now, if you have a zero depreciation policy, you do not have to pay anything except the file charges.
However, in case you have a regular motor insurance policy, only the depreciated value of the part will be paid by the insurer and the remaining has to be paid by you. The depreciated value completely depends upon the age of the policy.
During situations like floods, cases of vehicle getting damaged beyond repair are quite common.
In all such situations, the vehicle is classified under scrap and the insurer declares the vehicle as ‘total loss’.
In cases like total loss or damage beyond repair, you are paid the Insured Declared Value (IDV) of the vehicle. IDV is mentioned in the insurance policy.
During floods, most insurers simply speed up the claim process in order to help the customers as there is a significant rise in the number of claims. Doing this significantly reduces the hassle faced by the affected insurance buyers.
Popular exclusions in motor insurance policy
While filling a motor insurance claim, it is very important for you to know all the exclusions and exceptions of the policy as every insurer has its own set of exclusions.
Here are some of the very common exclusions across most insurers.
- Wear and tear of the vehicle
- Damage caused to the vehicle by a person driving without a valid driving license or under influence of alcohol, or banned drugs
- Decrease in the IDV of the vehicle due to ageing
- Electrical or mechanical breakdown
- Damage to tyres and tubes
- Damage due war, mutiny or nuclear risk
It is always advised to buy a motor insurance policy online so that you can compare the quotes and various features of different insurers and buy one offering maximum benefits.
You can buy it directly from the insurer's website or from a reputed web insurance aggregator.
Tarun Mathur is chief business officer- General Insurance, Policybazaar.com