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Floods of Engine Trouble hit vehicles; Here’s how to claim insurance

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi Here is an unsolicited advice for motorists across the country but especially to those living in many parts of the rain-ravaged North India – please do not try and start your vehicles, either two-wheelers or four-wheelers, if they are submerged in rainwater for some time. Now, not many people know about this […]

Edited By : Lakshmana | Updated: Jul 14, 2023 16:36 IST
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Image Credits: News24

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi

Here is an unsolicited advice for motorists across the country but especially to those living in many parts of the rain-ravaged North India – please do not try and start your vehicles, either two-wheelers or four-wheelers, if they are submerged in rainwater for some time.

Now, not many people know about this fact, but insurance companies will reject any claim of repairs for engines/vehicles damaged if they were submerged in rain or flood waters for any amount of time.

What this means that you will have to spend through your nose for engine repairs that could run into thousands of Rupees, depending on the damage. And of course, the time taken at the mechanic workshop given the long queues of vehicles requiring attention after rainwater recedes.

Then tremendous feel-good factor that envelopes us all when buying a new (or even second hand) vehicle – a scooter or a car or anything on wheels, prevents us from finding out the many details that eventually costs us a lot. And unless one has the right questions, it is not possible to get the right answers and advice, as is the case with car insurance claims.

What the car companies and insurance companies do not tell is that even the car manufacturers put in a disclaimer that their warranty runs out if water seeps into the engine, just like the mobile phone companies do not entertain claims if the rainwater induced moisture enters the mobile instrument.

Now here comes a practical advice from a general insurance company owner to the countless people whose vehicles got submerged in rain waters. Hundreds of thousands of people across North India today have their vehicles submerged in waters, which are going to remain like this till water recedes in few hours to many hours, depending on the intensity and duration of rain.

Rahul M Mishra, Co-Founder, Policy Ensure, told News24online that instructions from the car manufacturers and insurance companies are clear that if water comes to the radiator level do not start the car. The moment water enters the engine, then the whole engine becomes useless, and in those cases the claims are rejected if the vehicles have normal insurance cover.

“But perhaps after Chennai floods or so, many insurance companies have come up with add on cover for engine protection. Nowadays it has become a habit when you buy a new vehicle the dealer gives engine protect also as an add on, and it is advisable that one takes it even though one may have to pay an extra so that one is not denied insurance claims,” Mishra said.

Before the advent of engine protect as an add on service too, the insurance companies ought to have considered the claims even for vehicles that were submerged in water, consumer organisations argued but in practice denial was the norm.

“Even today, even if one has not taken add on of engine protect, people can get the insurance claim as long as they have not started the car that stalled in rainwater,” Mishra said advising motorists not to try and start the vehicle (two-wheeler to four-wheeler) but inform the car dealer and insurance company and wait for them to respond with mechanics.

If anyone lies that they did not start the vehicles, there are expert mechanics employed with the insurance companies claims department who can find out exactly whether there were attempts to start the vehicle, Mishra said.

Even during normal rainless days if the vehicle stalls driving through waterlogged areas, best is to avoid trying to start it. Instead seek professional help through the insurance company, which these days offer a range of services, onsite and on the road assistance etc, Mishra said.

Motor vehicles is one aspect and there is some chance of cutting losses by getting claims as by law vehicles must be insured, in some form or the other.

Just imagine the losses people have, say in Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand, where people have lost their houses to the devastation caused by the floods. “Most of the houses and shops and establishments are not insured, and it breaks my heart to see that people have suddenly been dragged onto the streets,” Mishra said urging the government to think of ways and means to increase insurance cover for properties.

“Of course, it can only be done through education and creating awareness. People may think that the insurance companies are scaremongering to increase their business, but just think of how much the people would have been saved, at least a major portion of their life’s belongings if only their properties were insured,” the insurance company founder said.

Now, the full extent of the damage in terms of money caused by the nature’s fury, unleashed in the form flooding that destroyed properties and damaged vehicles, will be known only after normalcy returned.

Till then, be wise and listen to the insurance experts, and save money and mental peace.

First published on: Jul 14, 2023 04:36 PM IST

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