Insurance - Rain-Sure your ride
By Jay Sampat |
8/1/2011 4:12 PM Monday
We all know the problems that vehicle owners have to face during the monsoons due to bad roads and water-logging. Statistics also prove that the rate of road accidents increases during the monsoons. This is mostly because there is very little awareness of the precautions to be taken in driving through the season. There is even lesser knowledge of how to mitigate losses arising out of vehicle damage due to heavy rain and floods.
Though it is mandatory to buy an insurance policy with your vehicle, statistics show that more than 50 per cent of vehicles on Indian roads are not insured. Here are a few points you need to bear in mind to help you minimise claims, and to ease out the processing of any claims that you may need to make.
Navigating your car carefully through water-logged areas is one of the most important things to watch out for during the rains. For instance, if your vehicle is stuck in a water-logged area and the water has reached the door level, you should avoid driving further. This will help you avoid serious damages caused by water entering the car’s engine due to movement. Remember that such consequential damage may not be admissible under the motor insurance policy. Hence, if your car is stuck because of flooding, it may be a better option to have it towed away rather than attempting to start the vehicle. Towing charges are reimbursable by all insurers, up to a maximum of Rs 1500 for cars and Rs 300 for two-wheelers.
Adhering to the procedures laid down by the insurance company is key to managing insurance claims. For instance, in case of an accident or any other event resulting in a claim, you need to inform your insurer in writing as soon as possible. In the event of an accident or theft, you also need to inform the police. One must also remember that the vehicle should, in no circumstances, be repaired before the official surveyor inspects it. With regard to repairing, as far as possible, you should take your car to a garage in the insurer network. This will save you the trouble of negotiating, reduce paper work and ensure better service. Moreover, cashless facility is generally available only with network garages.
If you get the repairs done at your local garage, you will have to negotiate with the garage for preparation of an estimate and will need to co-ordinate with the insurer and the garage continuously. Also, if the insurer feels that the workshop has overbilled for any repair work, the cost may not be reimbursed. Such issues never arise with network garages, due to the implicit understanding between the garage and the insurance company.
While repairing monsoonal damages in your car, avoid including repairs for damage resulting out of other reasons. For instance, if only the bumper of the car is damaged in an accident and needs to be painted, the customer should not get the whole car painted. The insurer would pay only for the cost of painting the damaged portion and the customer will have to pay for the balance. The customer will need to foot the bill for any improvements made to the car (over and above the damage caused due to monsoon).
One must also acquaint oneself with the list of expenses that will not be covered by the insurer. For instance, accidents to a vehicle occurring outside the geographical limit mentioned in the policy are not covered. Similarly, if the actual usage of the vehicle is different from what the vehicle is supposed to be used for and registered (for example, an individual registered car being used for commercial purposes), a claim for damage may be denied. Likewise, if the driver of the vehicle does not have a valid driving licence, claims will be rejected.
The monsoons are often a season of worry for vehicle owners, especially if you have a car that is more than 3 years old. This is typically the period when vehicle-owners incur maximum maintenance costs, mostly out of compulsion rather than choice. For times like these, it is best to keep your insurer’s helpline number and the policy document handy.
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