Rains bring relief from relentless heat, but then the floods and traffic jams disrupt normal life in the cities. Mumbai has been witnessing heavy rainfall for the past few weeks that has caused extensive damage to many properties. One of the events that received nation-wide attention recently was rain washing away part of a building along with the cars in its parking. We are touchy about our vehicles; any harm to them hurts us. Monsoon being a risky time of the year, here are some ways to keep your rides-and your finances-safe from harm.
GET COMPREHENSIVE INSURANCE
Make sure you have a comprehensive auto insurance policy. This is different from the government-mandated third party insurance which doesn’t cover damage to your vehicle but only to a third party (any party other than you or the insurer). A comprehensive car insurance will pay for damages to your car, and will also provide you additional benefits that help you in your time of need.
ENGINE PROTECTION ADD-ON
Some car insurance policies offer an engine protection add-on that may prove most useful during monsoons. The engine is typically the most expensive component of the car. Repairing or replacing it would cost you a fortune. During monsoons, if your car gets stuck in a flooded area, water ingress may damage the engine. The engine may also experience a hydrostatic lock — a condition where the engine will refuse to start due to moisture. This situation, too, can be covered by having comprehensive insurance with an engine protection add-on.
Your car may get stuck on the roads in the rain. It may not be possible for you to drive it out of this situation. Some car insurance covers provide towing facility to pull you out of a sticky spot. If you live in a flood-prone area, you should pay special attention to the add-ons on your car policy. They may be invaluable in your time of need.
ZERO DEP ADD-ON
Every year, your car’s monetary value depreciates. As your car gets older, an insurance claim would return just a smaller percentage of the value you had paid for your car. These costs may bite hard for expensive components such as the engine. However, with a zero depreciation add-on cover, you are compensated for the full value of the parts rather than their depreciated value.
RETURN TO INVOICE COVER
The RTI cover, like zero-dep, is an add-on. It is invoked only when you have suffered a total loss on your car — like theft, or damage beyond repair. Assuming your car is at the risk of being totalled in the rains, an RTI cover will pay you the invoice price, which is the on-road price you paid for the car. Both the RTI and the zero-dep add-ons need to be availed when the car is new or within the period stipulated by insurers.
WHAT NOT TO DO
To protect your car from rain damage and then getting into repairs and insurance claims process, there are some common-sense steps you can take. These would reduce chances of your car suffering damage.
For example, do not drive through water-logged areas. Don’t try to start your car if stuck in waters. Drive slowly in rainy conditions to avoid skidding. Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles by following the two-second rule. Do not especially be without comprehensive insurance, and don’t allow an unlicensed driver to use your car.
It is also important to note here that insurance regular IRDAI has recently directed all the insurance companies to insure a vehicle only when it has valid pollution under control (PUC) certificate.
The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com...