A ‘return to invoice’ cover can pay the original cost of a vehicle instead of the IDV

Published in Mint on 4th September, 2017. Written by Abhishek Bondia

I live in Mumbai. My car was parked outside the building and I fear that it may have got carried away in flood waters. I had bought it in 2015 for about Rs40 lakh. I have filed an FIR but there is no report of its recovery. Will my insurance cover the loss of the car? If yes, how much money will I get back? Are there any specific covers for these kinds of intriguing instances or does a comprehensive policy cover it?

—Chandresh Singh

A comprehensive motor insurance policy would cover theft and disappearance. You have done the right thing by filing an FIR. In such circumstances, it is difficult to establish whether the car got carried away in flood waters or the car was stolen. For such claims, insurer insists that you submit both sets of car keys. This is necessary to establish that the car was not taken away due to your negligence.

In case of total loss, the insurer would reimburse the total sum assured of the policy, that is, the insured declared value (IDV). IDV is reset every year after deducting depreciation. This is based on the vehicle’s age. If you had bought an add-on cover called the ‘return to invoice’, then the total loss claims would have been settled on the original cost of the vehicle instead of the IDV.

I live in Mumbai. These recent rains short-circuited the wiring in my house and caused a fire. Under my home insurance cover, damages due to fire are covered. Will the insurer cover this as the main cause was rain, due to which my apartment was flooded?

—Rajan Das

Under the standard fire and special perils policy, 12 perils are covered. These perils include: storm, tempest, flood and inundation. So, your claim will be payable. Do note that short-circuit is a typical exclusion under the standard fire insurance. This exclusion is applied on the apparatus that suffers short-circuit. However, consequential damages due to short circuit are covered.

We are on a 3-month vacation and may extend it. I have home insurance. Will the house be considered occupied or unoccupied for home insurance coverage? In our absence, how will the occupancy clause kick in and for how long is it valid? Will the insurance cover an incident during our absence?

—Nakul Yadav

Typically, if the house is unoccupied for more than 60 days then the cover is no longer valid. You should let the insurer know about the house being vacant for a prolonged period. You could be conservative in your estimate and inform a much longer period of travel. Insurer may put in some conditions for extending the cover. These conditions could include a 24-hour security guard, CCTV cameras and alarms. In select situations, the insurer may charge a slightly higher premium. In either case, you should get a written consent from the insurer.

With the increased incidence of dengue, swine flu and malaria; are there any insurance cover designed for these? Is my existing family floater good enough for this coverage?

—Prabhat Dang

There are several dengue-specific insurance plans available now. Such plans would only cover expenses arising from dengue. One way in which a dengue-specific plan scores over family health insurance is that it may offer OPD cover. However, such plans typically have low insurance cover. For example, hospitalisation cover may be limited to Rs1 lakh, and OPD cover may be restricted to Rs10,000. A few dengue plans are also fixed-benefit plans. Under such plans, you will receive a lump sum in case dengue is diagnosed. The fixed benefit plans work better as supplementary plans to the traditional health insurance plans.

A typical health insurance plan will cover hospitalization expenses linked to dengue and complications arising from dengue. Since such illnesses fall within the category of acute infections, thus these plans do not get restricted by typical pre-existing or disease-wise waiting periods in health insurance policies.

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