How to Claim Car Damages Due to Natural Calamity under Car Insurance?

The year 2020 can be remembered for two things - the COVID-19 pandemic and the innumerable natural calamities that the shook the world. Right from floods in Indonesia, bushfire in Australia to wildfires in the United States, the world has witnessed various kinds of natural calamities across the globe. In fact, India has been a hotspot for natural disasters throughout the year. Be it cyclones, earthquakes, floods or locust attack, Indians have dealt with them all. 

Natural calamities or nature’s wrath are a part and parcel of life and cannot be avoided. When a natural disaster strikes, it not only claims lives, injures people and destroys the environment but also damages your belongings. Several buildings and vehicles get damaged with the occurrence of a natural disaster. While buildings do not turn into shambles very easily, cars can get severely damaged due to a natural calamity leading to major financial losses. 

The only way to stay safe against any financial loss arising out of natural disasters is to keep your car covered under the best car insurance policy. In financial terminology, natural disasters are considered as an ‘Act of God’ as such events cannot be controlled by humans. Although evading the disaster is not in your hand, you can prevent yourself from incurring financial losses resulting out of such events with the help of a car insurance policy.

Comprehensive Car Insurance Covers Natural Disasters 

Car insurance policies cover car damages due to natural disasters. However, a motor insurance company will cover damages due to natural disasters only if your car is covered under a comprehensive insurance policy. This is because comprehensive car insurance covers own damages of the car as well as third party liabilities of the policyholder. When a car gets damaged in a natural disaster, it is categorized as own damages as the damages are caused to the policyholder’s car. Therefore, you must have a comprehensive insurance policy to get financial aid from your motor insurer. 

For example, a cyclone strikes your city creating havoc in your neighbourhood. As a consequence, your car gets severely damaged and your garage estimates a huge bill for repairs. It will lead to a major financial loss in the absence of a car insurance policy. But if you have a comprehensive car insurance policy, your motor insurance company will pay for the repair of your car.

Comprehensive car insurance plans cover almost all kinds of natural disasters. This means that you are not required to buy separate car insurance plans for every natural disaster. Moreover, coverage for natural disasters is an in-built part of every comprehensive insurance policy. You do not have to pay any additional amount to ensure coverage against damages due to natural disasters.

However, the same does not happen with third party car insurance. In case you have a third party car insurance policy, your motor insurance company will not cover the cost of repairing or replacing your car damaged due to a natural calamity. This is because a third party car insurance is designed to cover only third party liabilities of the policyholder. Since it does not provide coverage for own damages, the motor insurer is under no obligation to cover the damages arising out of a natural calamity.

Therefore, you need to have a comprehensive car insurance policy to get car damages due to natural disasters covered by your motor insurer. Make sure to compare car insurance plans from different motor insurers online to buy the best car insurance for your vehicle. You can compare car insurance plans based on their benefits, coverage, premium, list of network garages as well as the claim settlement ratio of the motor insurance company.

How to Claim Car Damages Due to Natural Calamities?

Natural disasters can strike anytime. It is important for every car owner to be aware of the procedure to raise a car insurance claim in case his/ her car gets damaged due to a natural calamity. Take a look at the procedure to claim car damages due to a natural disaster:

  • Inform your motor insurer or insurance agent about the damages over the phone as soon as possible. You can find the contact number of the policy document or the insurer’s website.
  • Take pictures of the damages sustained by your car from all angles.
  • Your motor insurer will send a surveyor to assess the damages sustained by your car.
  • Cooperate with the surveyor and provide all the information or documents that he/ she requires.
  • Send your car for repair to a garage after the survey.
  • Submit all the necessary documents to the motor insurance company.
  • The surveyor will submit the survey report to your motor insurer post which your claim will either get approved or denied.
  • If your claim has been approved, your insurer will directly pay the repair bill in case of a network garage.
  • In case the car is repaired at a non-network garage, you will have to pay the entire repair bill and file a reimbursement claim with your insurer.
  • Your insurance provider will verify the claim and pay the claim amount to you.

Things to Keep in Mind if Your Car Gets Damaged Due to a Natural Disaster

Unfortunately, if your car gets damaged due to a natural disaster, you should remember to keep the following things in mind:

  • Stay calm and composed and make sure that everyone around you is safe.
  • Keep a copy of your car insurance documents safe at home as well as online in your email. You can also store a copy at government authorized digital lockers to keep them safe and to access them any time.
  • Remember to inform the insurer about the damages sustained by your car due to the natural calamity within the stipulated time. Otherwise, your claim can get rejected.
  • In case your phone number is unreachable due to the calamity, leave a number of your friend/ relative with the insurance company who is unaffected by the calamity.
  • Do not move your car from the destruction spot unless the survey is done.
  • Make sure to provide all the required documents as incomplete documentation can lead to rejection of claims.
  • Collect evidence of the natural calamity, such as news articles, for in case your insurer asks for it.
  • Always pay your renewal premiums on time as you won’t be able to raise a car insurance claim if your policy has lapsed. 

Add-On Covers to Enhance Car Insurance Coverage Against Natural Disasters

When a natural disaster strikes in your area, it has the capacity to damage your car severely. Unfortunately, some places constantly suffer from nature’s fury often and certain natural calamities occur at these places frequently. For example, Mumbai is infamous for floods in the monsoon season. As a result, the chances of your car getting damaged is greater if you reside in such places. 

Under these circumstances, buying a basic comprehensive car insurance policy is not enough for the financial safety of your car. You must buy add-on covers to ensure the better financial security of your car even if it means a higher premium. Here are some add-on covers that can provide better coverage against natural calamities:

  • Engine & Gearbox Protector

    The engine & gearbox protector cover provides financial coverage for any loss or damages caused to the engine or gearbox of your car. It covers the expenses incurred on the repair or replacement of the engine parts or the gearbox of the car due to water ingression, leakage of engine oil, lubricants, etc. This add-on cover is recommended for people living in flood-prone areas.

  • Garage Cover

    The garage cover enables you to get a daily conveyance allowance from your insurance provider in case your car is getting repaired at a garage for damages due to a natural calamity. It compensates you for the travel expenses incurred on using alternate transportation while your car is in the garage.

  • Cost of Consumables Cover

    The cost of consumables cover ensures that your motor insurer pays for the consumables items used while repairing your damaged car. Consumables items include engine oil, nuts & bolts, oil filter, screws, brake oil, washers, bearings, lubricants, etc.

  • Zero Depreciation Cover

    Zero depreciation cover ensures that your motor insurance company does not deduct depreciation on your car’s value while paying you the claim amount. It ensures that you get the claim amount equivalent to the current market value of your car without considering its depreciation. With this cover, you will not have to bear depreciation on the value of all your car’s parts except for tubes and tyres. Moreover, this add-on cover is mostly available for cars up to five years old.

In a Nutshell

Nobody can predict when a natural calamity will strike and therefore, it is impossible to steer clear of its way. All you can do is protect your car financially from all sorts of natural calamities by keeping it covered under the best car insurance policy. It will not only prevent you from incurring financial losses but will also provide you with peace of mind. Do remember to compare car insurance plans online and buy add-on covers to get the best financial protection.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 19 March 2021
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