Does Your Car Insurance Policy Cover You Against Natural Calamities?
The year 2020 has been synonymous with the coronavirus pandemic. Besides the rise in COVID-19 cases, one thing that has constantly occurred throughout the year has been natural disasters. Be it the Australian bushfire, Indonesian floods, volcanic eruption in the Philippines, earthquakes in Turkey or the wildfire in the United States, these unforeseen calamities have been raging across the globe. India itself has witnessed multiple instances of earthquakes, cyclones and floods across the country.
Natural disasters are unpredictable. But when they occur they leave a trail of destruction in the affected area. They not just claim lives but also destroy properties, including your car. Your car can get seriously damaged or completely destroyed if it becomes a casualty of a natural calamity. Given the extent of damage possible, the repair or the replacement of the vehicle can get very expensive.
Does Car Insurance Cover Natural Calamities?
Fortunately, it does. A car insurance policy covers any damages caused to your four wheeler resulting out of natural disasters, such as cyclones, floods, earthquakes, storms, etc. The only condition is that you should have comprehensive insurance coverage for your car. This is because third party car insurance does not cover any vehicle damages resulting out of a natural disaster.
For the unversed, a comprehensive car insurance policy is a contract between the car owner and the motor insurance provider where the latter promises to cover the former’s liabilities towards third parties and car damages resulting out of natural disasters, accidents, manmade disasters, fire and theft. On the other hand, third party car insurance is a type of car insurance policy where the motor insurer only promises to cover the third party liabilities of the car owner.
All comprehensive insurance policies in India cover car damages due to the occurrence of natural disasters. You don’t have to pay any additional amount to obtain coverage for car damages due to natural calamities as the cover is in-built in all comprehensive insurance plans.
For example, suppose there has been a massive earthquake in your city that has caused extensive destruction. An uprooted tree falls on your car damaging it severely. The garage certifies the car irreparable forcing you to consider buying a new car. The loss of your existing car and the purchase of the new car can impact your finances considerably. But if you have a comprehensive insurance policy, your car insurer will pay for the loss of your car.
That’s not the case with third party insurance. Even if you have the best car insurance but with third party cover, you will have to bear the cost of repairing/ replacing the damages caused to your car due to natural calamities on your own. Thus, you need a comprehensive insurance policy if you want your motor insurer to cover the damages suffered by your four wheeler due to the occurrence of a natural calamity.
Things to Do if Your Car Has Been Damaged in a Natural Calamity
In case your car has suffered damages in a natural disaster, you must do the following things once the environment around you is safe:
- Go to your car and click pictures of the damages from all angles
- Shoot a video of your car focusing on the damages caused
- Note down the timeline of the natural disaster, including the date and time when it hit your area and damaged your car
- Collect evidence, such as news articles, regarding the occurrence of the natural disaster in your area
- File a car insurance claim with your motor insurance company
- Do not move the car from the spot unless the surveyor sent by your insurer inspects the vehicle
- Do not repair the damages of your car unless your insurer approves it
How to Raise a Car Insurance Claim for Damages Due to Natural Disasters?
In case your car has been damaged due to a natural calamity, you can raise a claim under your comprehensive insurance policy. Follow the steps given below to register a claim with your car insurance company:
- Note down the contact number of the claim support team of your car insurance provider from its website
- Call the claim support team and inform them about the damages caused to your car due to the natural calamity
- The claim support team will assign a surveyor to inspect the damages to your car
- Cooperate with the surveyor and provide any detail/ document that he/ she may require
- Surveyor will submit the survey report to the insurer after which your claim will be approved
- Send your car to a garage for repair
- Submit all the documents required as per the claim process to your insurer
- Once your car has been repaired, go to the garage to collect it
- In case of a network garage, the repair bill will be paid directly by your insurer
- In case of a non-network garage, you will have to pay the repair bill and submit the bill as well as the payment receipts to your car insurer
- Your insurer will verify the documents and pay you the claim amount
Add-On Covers to Consider if You Live in a Natural Disaster-Prone Area
Some places are prone to certain kinds of natural disasters. For example, Assam and Mumbai are prone to floods. Such places witness these calamities on a regular basis. If you live in a disaster-prone area, your car is constantly at the risk of getting damaged. Moreover, the car damages caused due to a natural calamity can be significant. Frequent damages can gradually damage certain parts of your car, which may not be covered under your basic comprehensive insurance policy.
Luckily, the best car insurance companies come with a variety of add-on covers that provide coverage for damages or expenses which are otherwise not covered under a comprehensive insurance policy. An add-on cover is additional protection purchased by your car on payment of a higher car insurance premium. These add-ons enhance the coverage of your comprehensive policy and ensure that your insurer pays for any additional expenses arising out of the damages caused to your car due to a natural calamity.
Take a look at some of the add-on covers offered by the best car insurance companies that can cover additional expenses or damages caused to your four wheeler due to a natural calamity:
Engine Protector Cover
The Engine Protector cover indemnifies any loss or damages caused to the engine of your car as a result of a natural calamity. For example, if you live in a flood-prone area, the chances of your car getting submerged in water during floods are high. If the water enters the engine of your car, it can get severely damaged and can stop working altogether. The basic comprehensive car insurance may not cover the expenses of repairing or replacing the engine. But with engine protection cover any damages caused to the engine of your car will be covered by your insurer.
Zero Depreciation Cover
The Zero Depreciation cover protects your car from any depreciation and helps you to obtain an Insured Declared Value (IDV) equal to the current market value of your vehicle. The IDV is the maximum amount that your motor insurer will pay you as the claim amount in the event of the total loss of your car. Under the basic comprehensive insurance policy, motor insurers usually deduct depreciation on the value of the car from its market value to arrive at the IDV. But with zero depreciation cover you do not have to worry about the depreciating value of your car.
The Consumable cover indemnifies the expenses incurred on consumable items, such as engine oil, nuts & bolts, lubricant, screws, bearings, etc, used in your car during the repair. The cost of these items are not generally covered under the comprehensive car insurance policy and have to be borne by the car owner. However, the consumable cover ensures that your motor insurer pays for the consumables used in your car during the repair work.
No Claim Bonus Protection
The No Claim Bonus Protection ensures that your no claim bonus percentage remain untouched despite raising a car insurance claim. A no claim bonus is a discount on renewal premium that a car owner gets for every claim-free year. You can accumulate your NCB for five consecutive years to avail a 50 per cent discount on your renewal premium. However, the NCB will go back to zero as soon as you raise a claim after a natural calamity. The NCB protection cover prevents that from happening and keeps your NCB percentage intact.
The Daily Allowance cover provides a daily travel allowance to the car owner if his/ her car is getting repaired at a garage for the damages caused by a natural disaster. With your car in the garage, you will have to spend on public transport to commute daily. This add-on compensates for travel expenses incurred in the absence of your car.
In a Nutshell
All comprehensive insurance plans cover car damages caused due to the occurrence of natural calamities. Nonetheless, you can enhance the coverage of your 4 wheeler insurance policy by purchasing relevant add-on covers available with the best car insurance companies in India. Do remember to follow the guidelines stated above to ensure that your motor insurer approves your car insurance claim.
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