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How to protect your vehicle during the monsoons

If you are looking to renew your insurance, then opt for a comprehensive motor policy that covers both own damage and third-party liability

August 04, 2021 / 10:36 AM IST

Monsoons present a chance to soak in the lush greenery and offer respite from the heat. But it is also a period when factors beyond our control can lead to mishaps. Non-usage of vehicles due to the pandemic has worsened the general wear and tear of vehicle parts, leading to fatalities on the road.

In 2019, India stood witness to 39,830 road accidents, injuring an equal number of people and claiming nearly 15,000 lives, during rains. These accidents were caused due to flooding, slippery roads and low visibility during a heavy downpour. Hydroplaning – where the vehicle fails to respond due to a layer of water between the tyres and the road – too has been a prime factor in several monsoon car accidents.

Natural calamities such as landslides, lightening and resulting tree-collapses too have featured in motor claims during rainy season. While one cannot predict and avoid a natural disaster, but moderate monsoon care for your vehicle can go a long way and help you avert road mishaps.

Checks before taking your vehicle out

Whether you have a road trip planned or need to commute for an emergency, you must conduct crucial vehicle checks to avoid trip disruption during monsoons.

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Request the service centre to clean air and oil filters and maintain the level of coolants in the vehicle. One must examine the tires as well as wiper blades and replace them if they have worn out. Alternatively, cross-check the tyre-pressure and correct them.

Engine belt tension is another key component you should get assessed by the service centre before you hit the wet tarmac. The strength of brake pads and brake oil too needs your attention to avoid slippage.

There are various electrical fuses in the car, which are responsible for stalling a car during monsoons. Request the service centre to check them and carry few spare fuses.

Check the validity of PUC and insurance before your sojourn. If you are looking to renew your insurance, then opt for a comprehensive motor insurance policy that covers both own damage (damage to your vehicle) and third-party liability (damage to the vehicle that collided with yours). There are also, additional covers such as engine Secure, tyre secure, return to invoice and road-side assistance that prove beneficial during monsoons.

Precautions to prevent your car from getting submerged

While avoiding a trip to low-lying areas would be in your interest, if you are stuck in the midst of a submerged locale, then there are certain behaviours to be avoided. If you gauge waterlogging ahead, then avoid driving through these deep waters as that can damage the critical car parts.

If you see a preceding car clear the waterlogged area do not attempt the same as the ground clearance and air intake differ from one car make to another. Stay at a safe distance from the other cars in the vicinity as the ripples caused by their movement could lead to water infiltration in your car.

A situation may also emerge when your vehicle stops if submerged, as often engines have a hydrostatic lock. An essential advisory for such times is to avoid cranking the engine to restart the car. Such behaviour can damage the engine to an extent where one cannot salvage it.

This could turn out to be a financially draining mistake too as this self-inflicted engine damage is not in the purview of insurance, unless you have opted for the engine secure add-on cover. The costs of replacement could be as high as half of the car’s total cost.

If the weather alerts warn against moving forward, you should consider taking a journey break instead of facing water woes. Know that select insurance covers offer emergency transportation and hotel stay in case of vehicle damage.

Displacing your vehicle

If there is any damage to the car, ensure your own safety first and locate your way to a high ground. As and when the flooding situation improves, ensure safe towing of the vehicle to the nearest service centre.

But, if you are driving an automatic transmission vehicle, then make sure that you opt for flat-bed towing vehicles. These automatic-transmission vehicles have live axles either at the front or the rear-side of the vehicle. So, the inappropriate side of wheels hitting the ground could permanently damage the gear box.

Keep the towing service numbers handy and also your insurers helpline number. You can register the insurance claim through the mobile apps, social media options or even a phone call. Such road-side assistance would be paid for under insurance if the add-on cover has been opted for.

Monsoon-care checklist

-Carry a toolkit with 10/11 spanner for battery, wheel jack, pliers for fuse, hammer, mobile and car chargers and rope.

-Check coolant, tyre pressure and clean oil and air filters.

-Avoid driving in water-logged areas.

-Store Emergency Contact Numbers (ICE) on phone.

-Do not restart the car if vehicle submerged in water.

-Seek insurance websites/ call centres to access the nearest service centre.
Parag Ved is President & Head - Consumer Lines, Tata AIG General Insurance
Tags: #insurance
first published: Aug 4, 2021 10:36 am

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