Rains in India are pleasant as long as you do not have to drive on waterlogged roads with potholes filled with water, and traffic snarls only add to the misery. Driving in the rain or on flooded roads can be a harrowing experience not only for you but for your car too. Floods increase the risk of a car engine and electrical system damage that may need costly repair work and the replacement of expensive car parts. This is where a reliable car insurance policy can help you.

A third-party insurance does not cover the car damage caused due to floods or any natural or manmade disaster. However, a comprehensive plan does cover partial losses due to flood under the own-damage cover.

Does car insurance cover flood damage?

Primarily, there can be two types of damages to your car due to flooding:

·         Enginedamage

Your car getting submerged in water can partially or completely damage the engine, and replacing a car’s engine is a very costly affair, especially for premium category cars such as Mercedes and BMW.

·         Accessories damage

The cost of repairing accessories, including upholstery, can be quite high. One of these includes the damage to the hydraulic lock through which water enters the engine. It is the most common car damage caused due to floods. 

Exclusions of a car policy

There can be certain situations when your claim may get rejected. These are known as exclusions. Car Insurance covers only unforeseen events. Therefore, if you try to start a submerged car and the engine gets damaged in the process, your claim will be out rightly rejected. It is so because the damage would not have taken place if you did not start the car. So, the damage is not caused by the flood directly but due to your negligence.

If you feel that your comprehensive car insurance coverage is not sufficient, you can purchase add-on covers for added protection against flood. These add-ons vary from insurer to insurer in terms of policy premium and features. Some of the common add-on covers are:

·         Zero depreciation cover

Usually, as part of a comprehensive car policy, you do not get the entire sum insured as the claim amount in case of car theft or absolute damage. The insurers deduct the depreciation value and pay only the balance. With a zero depreciation cover, you can get the entire sum insured without any depreciation deduction.

·         Engine protect cover

Driving or parking your car in a waterlogged area can cause damage to the engine. A comprehensive policy may not cover this as an unforeseen occurrence like flood did not cause the damage directly. However, an engine protect add-on will cover the situation. This add-on is particularly useful for people living in coastal areas or places that experience heavy rainfall.

·         Roadside assistance cover

Roadside assistance add-on provides various services such as repairing minor damages, changing a flat tyre and towing your car to the nearest garage in the time of need. These services come in handy during floods if the car breaks down or meets with an accident.

If you have a cashless car insurance policy, your insurer will settle the bill directly with the network garage. For reimbursement claims, you will have to settle the bill initially and then get the amount reimbursed in your account.

Despite being protected by car insurance, remember to take the following precautions while using your car in a flooded area:

·         Drive the vehicle in first or second gear and increase the engine’s revolutions per minute (RPM) without using the clutch.

·         If your car is stuck in water, do not start the engine even after the water recedes. You should disconnect the battery and tow the car to a workshop.

·         If water enters the passenger compartment, do not switch on the ignition as it can lead to a short circuit in the electrical system, causing further damage to your car.

·         Test your car brakes after leaving the flooded area. 

·         Keep a hammer or any other heavy instrument ready to break the window glasses in case the automatic door lock of your car gets jammed due to flooding. 

A sudden downpour or flood can cause extensive damage to your car. In such a situation, comprehensive vehicle insurance and relevant add-on covers will protect you from heavy losses.