That sinking feeling! Flood and car insurance: some tips for navigating troubled waters

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That sinking feeling! Flood and car insurance: some tips for navigating troubled waters

Images of flooded homes and submerged cars in Bengaluru have been beamed onto millions of screens as India’s IT capital was submerged in deluge last week. At least one person lost their life and property worth billions was destroyed.

Vehicles are often at the top of the list of casualties in flash floods or heavy rains. General insurance companies are witnessing an increase in inquiries and claims by flood victims following the Bengaluru floods.
Natural disasters are particularly difficult to maneuver when it comes to insurance, especially auto insurance.

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Are floods covered by auto insurance?

It depends on the type of insurance plan you have. Flood is only covered by multi-risk automobile insurance, which is optional and not compulsory, unlike civil liability insurance. Comprehensive coverage insures your vehicle against natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, cyclones and even man-made disasters such as fires, man-made calamities and theft.

What is covered and what is not covered by comprehensive insurance?

Flooding can damage the engine, transmission, electronic control module (EMU) and upholstery.

Flood water can enter the car engine and cause partial or total damage to the unit, and this type of loss can set the owner back a few hundred thousand dollars, depending on the car model.

The gearbox can easily malfunction due to water infiltration. Electrical components, sensors, etc. are particularly vulnerable and can suffer a short circuit in the event of a deluge. If water exceeds the dashboard, it can easily enter the interior of the vehicle and damage the upholstery.

Note that a multi-risk guarantee covers damage to the engine or gearbox in the event of flooding. But, you can purchase the additional protection with additional rides like Engine Protection Cover, Zero Depreciation Cover, Consumables Cover.

In addition, any type of damage resulting from a natural disaster is not covered by any comprehensive basic plan.

So what is consequential damage and can you avoid it?

According to the online insurance platform Acko, consequential damages are damages that occur as a result of an action that may or may not be within your control. Understanding consequential damage is easy with the help of hydrostatic locking. Consider the scenario where your residential area has been flooded and in a desperate attempt to recover your vehicle, you decide to drive it to a safer location. You walk to the car, get in and turn on the ignition, but nothing happens. By cranking the engine, you probably got your car into a hydrostatic lock. These are consequential damages that would not be covered by a basic plan. However, an additional blanket will cover the same.

PolicyBazaar recommends a few safety tips to follow when driving in a flooded area:

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 water enters the passenger compartment, do not switch on the ignition as this could cause a short circuit in the electrical system, which could damage you and the vehicle.

Test your car’s brakes after leaving the flooded area.

Keep a hammer or other heavy instrument ready to smash the windows in case your car door locks get stuck due to water.

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