If you believe that movies depict our lives, chances are you would only look at the bright side of rains with the many popular songs that are filmed with rains in the background. At the same time, chances are that you may have a not so happy experience driving through rains, even if the radio romanticizes the rains while you are in the midst of a traffic jam or are wading your way through pot-holed roads in the rains. And, if you are one of the unlucky ones with your car breaking down during the rains, you better have the right insurance cover to see you through the rains.
Due to the mandatory nature of car insurance, everyone buys insurance while buying a new car. For anyone to ply a vehicle on Indian roads, you need to have third-party insurance cover. Third party is mandatory as per law, which insures you against damages to a third person or property due to your car. The TP premium is decided by the regulator, however the OD cover is decided by the insured declared value (IDV) of the vehicle. IDV is the amount that the insurer will pay if your car is completely damaged or stolen.
The IDV is calculated based on the invoice of your car minus depreciation, as every year the car’s value depreciates. So in case of a total loss, you don’t get the full value of the car, but only the depreciated value. But if you want your insurer to pay the full amount, you need to buy an add-on cover called return to invoice cover.
Most car owners also include the own damage cover, as accidents are common and it makes sense to add the accident-related cover to the mandatory insurance. Own damage cover insures your vehicles against theft or damage. The basic cover will also have a personal accident policy for the owner of the vehicle.
As theft is also included in the policy, most car owners feel secure and satisfied having fortified their prized possessions against the vagaries of life. For new car owners, all of this is processed and issued by the car dealer when selling the car, so chances of exploring options or any additional covers seldom exist.
However, the standard motor insurance is mandatory is not enough to protect your car against the several other risks that it is exposed to, such as water seeping inside the car’s engine or the vehicle submerging in water. The kind of wear and tear that your vehicle experiences during the rains is not part of the standard motor insurance cover. Hence, you need to look at add-ons, which address monsoon-specific risks.
The car’s engine is the heart of the vehicle. Now, imagine a situation when water enters it as you drive through a six-inch harmless water logged road stretch. You may be just splashing water, when passing such a stretch, but if the splashing water enters the car engine, you may find yourself stuck with the vehicle not budging any further. The engine is the most vulnerable part of your vehicle and strangely, engine damage due to water ingression is not covered under the own damage section of your motor policy unless you have opted for engine-protect add-on cover.
If your engine needs to be replaced due to damage, you might have to shell out several lakhs if you own a mid-sized sedan and could run into over Rs 10 lakh if you own a high-end car. It is in such instances that the engine-protection cover is regarded as a highly useful add-on, especially when driving through waterlogged roads that can lead to your car being stalled.
Likewise, chances of care tyre being damaged due to the impact of rough terrain in pot-holed stretches could hit your finances, especially if you have a high-end car. The add-on tyre cover, typically provided for luxury cars, can limit your losses due to tyre damage.
This is useful throughout the year, but its utility is best experienced during the rains which provide 24x7 vehicle breakdown services. This cover helps you to peacefully handle problems like having a flat tyre, running out of fuel, battery related technical issue and accidents in a remote location.
Return to invoice
Imagine finding your car submerged in rain for a few hours. The very thought can turn your head, especially if the situation turns into a deluge or a flood, which are becoming frequent during the monsoon season. The Return to Invoice (RTI) is an add-on option which covers the gap between the insured declared value and the invoice value of the car. It’s an option that will fetch you the entire amount of loss (the on-road price you paid for your car) that you incurred.
The probability of accidents during monsoons is high and chances of damaged bumpers and dents are high, especially of the exterior plastic parts. As these parts are susceptible to depreciation, this can bring down the claim amount if the parts are already depreciated. Standard policy compensates only for the depreciated value and not the market price of the damaged part. This additional cover gives you the legal right to claim the complete replacement cost of the parts damaged in case of an accident which the policy covers. The concept of part replacement over repairs with new age cars means you stand to benefit by adding this cover. However, this cover is only applicable on cars that are not more than five years old from the date of purchase.
Engine protection cover
When stuck in a water pool, the part of the car that suffers the most is the engine. Automakers mention that it is unwise to crank up the car when it is stuck in water because it can ruin the car engine. Such damages are usually excluded from the scope of standard motor insurance policy. This add-on cover can be used to cover such instances along with the repairing cost of electrical circuit failure at a nominal additional cost.
Driver and Cab services
Add-on covers also provide an extra support by arranging a cab for you to reach your destination when your car breaks down mid-way. The rescue team takes care of your vehicle.
Paid towing assistance is given for the motor vehicle if it can’t be repaired on the spot. The crew tows the vehicle to the nearest service centre, your home or the police station as per the need of the situation.
Although all these add-ons ensure that your car is safe in the rains, it is not enough because you may not necessarily have all these add-ons. For instance, never try to crank up your vehicle when it is stuck in water-logged areas. If you try to restart your vehicle under these circumstances, water could seep in, leading to engine failure. It is fine to go old school by manually pushing your vehicle to dry land and later start the car, if it is stuck in water. Likewise, park your car in a protected parking lot and not in the open to avoid rusting of metal parts or damage due to falling of trees or structures in buildings. Not only will precautions taken by you help contain the damage and boost chances of your claim being approved, you will also be able to retain your no-claim bonus that translates into discounts on subsequent year’s premium.
Add-ons are typically available only when you are taking a policy on a new car. Many insurers do not offer add-on covers on cars that are older than three years. Likewise, add-ons may not work in a cost-effective manner as your car ages because the rates of add-on covers is seen relative to the value they bring rather than relative to the own-damage premium. A must have insurance cover is the zero depreciation cover that one should take for as long as the insurer allows them.
Most importantly, be careful with your car when it is raining, because it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your and your car’s safety. As climate change plays its part in our lives with flash floods, incessant rains and flooding, it is important that you have the necessary insurance as a contingency.
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