Natural disasters like flood, fire, earthquakes, storms, hurricanes, and others can have devastating effects on our lives and our properties. However, a natural disaster is one of the last things that comes to our minds when we buy a car insurance policy. A car is one of the most precious assets that we possess and it can be a huge loss if it gets damaged or destroyed due to a natural disaster. This is why, apart from ensuring that your car insurance policy covers you sufficiently, you must also seriously look into the natural disaster aspect of your policy. It is better to be prepared for such incidents in advance so that you do not have to pay for the heavy damages from your own pocket.
In India, a third-party motor insurance policy is the basic form of coverage mandated by the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988. This policy covers an owner of the vehicle against any legal liabilities arising out of loss or damage caused to a third party or their properties. A third-party car insurance policy offers a limited coverage. On the other hand, a comprehensive insurance policy can be a better option as it covers a wide range of incidents including natural disasters and offers us a greater scope of protection.
A comprehensive car insurance policy can cover your vehicle against losses and damages arising out of almost all natural disasters. Some insurers also cover the collateral damages and losses that happen as a result of natural disasters. Few examples could be theft, vandalism, and damages caused by animals. Especially if you live in a disaster-prone area that witnesses frequent heavy rains, floods, or earthquakes, it is pertinent to ensure that your policy covers you sufficiently against all such tragedies.
Without a comprehensive insurance policy, a person is on their own in case of a natural disaster. A comprehensive car insurance policy can be costlier than a third-party insurance policy, but the scope of coverage that it offers is worth spending on. If you do have comprehensive insurance coverage, here are the steps to follow while filing an insurance claim in case of a damage or loss caused to your car as a result of a natural calamity.
- Gather Evidence: A natural disaster can be devastating. Once you ensure your own safety and things come back to normal, the first thing to do is to document evidence pertaining to the damages caused to your car due to an earthquake, flood, fire, or any other event covered in your policy. Take pictures of both the interior and exterior of your car from different angles including the engine compartment and the trunk of the car. You should ensure that the damage caused to the vehicle is clearly visible in the pictures. Before you clean up your car or alter anything, you must document all the evidences that have to be submitted to the insurance company.
- Evaluate the Damage: To know if you are fairly compensated by your insurance company, it is always advised to evaluate the damage occurred to the vehicle in advance. You may also ask your local mechanic to help you evaluate the damages and contact your car’s service centre to know the total cost required to bring your vehicle back to normal.
- Contact Your Insurance Company Immediately: In case of a natural disaster, you may not be the only person wanting to file an insurance claim. Insurance companies face a sudden increase in the number of insurance claims in such cases and filing a claim as soon as possible can save you significant time and efforts.
- Be Persistent: Insurance companies witness a huge number of claims after a natural disaster. Thus, it is important to constantly follow up with them and know the status of your claim.
- Settlement of Claim: If you feel that the settlement offer is lower than what you should actually receive, do not hesitate to bring this up with your insurer and approach the upper-level management if necessary.
As discussed above, a comprehensive car insurance policy can be instrumental in backing you financially against damages caused to the vehicle during a natural disaster. However, there may be certain things that your policy may not provide the coverage for. At the time of purchasing a car insurance policy, you must carefully understand the exclusions of the policy as well.
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