Buy add-on engine protection covers to safeguard your car during monsoon

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With the onset of the monsoon season, cars stuck in the middle of waterlogged roads become a common sight in cities. What many car owners, however, do not realise is that even if they own a comprehensive car insurance policy, their vehicle may not be adequately protected against the damage that the monsoon can cause to it.

During monsoons, the car engine often shuts down while trying to negotiate waterlogged roads. In such circumstances, both car manufacturers and insurers advise that you should exit the car, park it on the side of the road and call for help. If you do this, the car can be taken to the nearest garage where a little bit of servicing will restore it to running condition once again.

But a lot of people are either ignorant or deliberately don't heed the advice on not trying to restart a car when it shuts down in a waterlogged area. "When the engine shuts down, people often crank the engine repeatedly to restart it. When you do so, the engine sucks in more water and get damaged extensively. This situation will not be covered by your comprehensive motor insurance policy because it is a consequential damage," says Puneet Sahni, head-product development, SBI General Insurance. Explains Devendra Rane, founder and chief technology officer, "Consequential damage or loss is an act by the insured, either intentional or accidental, which further increases the damage caused to the insured vehicle and is not an outcome of the insured event."

To cover such a damage, you need to buy an add-on policy called engine protection cover, sometimes also referred to as hydrostatic lock cover. "People who live in or have to drive through low-lying areas, which are prone to flooding, should definitely buy this add-on cover," says Sahni. Rane informs that this cover costs anywhere between 0.09 and 0.5 per cent of the insured declared value (IDV), which in turn depends on the age of the vehicle.

Car owners who have accumulated a high amount of no claim bonus (NCB) should also consider buying an NCB protector cover. "Even if you make a small claim, your NCB will come down to zero, which you would not want. By paying a small premium and buying this add-on cover, you can ensure that your NCB stays protected," says Anurag Rastogi, member of executive management,  HDFC ERGO General Insurance. Companies allow you to make two or three claims without the NCB getting affected. The NCB Protector cover costs 0.1-0.25 per cent of the value of the car, according to Rastogi.  

Another add-on cover that proves useful during the rainy season is roadside assistance cover. If your car gets stuck in a waterlogged area, you will need assistance to get it towed to the nearest garage or servicing centre. This is an inexpensive add-on cover whose cost barely ranges from Rs 300-500. Some insurance companies also offer roadside assistance free of charge and pay the vendor that provides this service out of their own pocket.

Finally, bear in mind a few points while driving during the monsoon. Do not drive through waterlogged areas at a high speed. Get your brakes checked at regular intervals. When the underneath portions get covered by mud, get the car cleaned and ensure that this portion is well protected by anti-corrosive paint.

Covers and exclusions 

What is covered

*  Third-party death and injury, third-party property
*  Natural disasters like earthquake, floods, lightning, etc
*  Fire and theft, vandalism
*  Damage by animals, and falling objects like trees 
*  Damage caused by civil disturbance, such as riots

Key exclusions

*  Fall in car value due to ageing
*  Electrical or mechanical breakdown
*  Damage caused by person driving without valid licence
*  Damage caused due to driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs,etc
*  Damage caused by war, mutiny or nuclear risk


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