Before typhoon Ondoy struck the Philippines in September 2009, few people were familiar with the insurance term “Acts of God”, or more accurately, “Acts of Nature.” (Because “Acts of Nature, aggravated by the irresponsibility of man in controlling global warming” would be too long.) After Ondoy, everyone knew what that was, and everyone wanted to include it in their insurance contract. (Not only did that typhoon cause widespread flooding that damaged thousands of cars, it also reportedly brought about an increase in car theft, as demand for spare parts to repair all those cars also spiked.)
When it comes to car insurance, “Acts of Nature” simply means that the damage done to the vehicle was brought about by a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, a coconut tree falling on your car, or, as is more common, flood. With the “once in a lifetime” destruction of Ondoy already having occurred twice in just over 10 years, and perhaps set to happen more frequently, it’s best to get more familiar with car insurance as it pertains to flooding.
Here are some timely tips shared by Standard Insurance on how to make an insurance claim if your car was damaged by flood:
Include an Acts of Nature cover in your policy– If your vehicle is damaged or destroyed by flood, typhoon, earthquake, volcanic eruption and other natural disasters, an Acts of Nature cover will allow you to make a claim from the insurance company, and have your car repaired or replaced. Different insurance policies provide different levels of cover, so it’s important to read your insurance documents beforehand and make the necessary adjustments. The Acts of Nature will of course be an additional cost, but nowadays it is wise to include it as standard.
Stay on top of your premium payments – In case your vehicle was damaged and destroyed due to a typhoon, it is important that your premium was paid before the occurrence of flood or damage. If you don’t pay your premium, your cover may be canceled, and your claim may be denied.
Notify your insurance company – The first thing you must do is contact your insurance company as soon as practical after the event happens, especially if the loss is due to a flood or typhoon. Notifying your insurance company will allow them to arrange for towing in case your car needs one.
Full disclosure of the event – To facilitate faster processing of your claim, make sure to disclose the full details of your claim’s circumstances. Details such as time, date, and location are important conditions you have to remember and disclose. Insurance companies may ask for other information to further assess your claim. Make sure to provide all the documents needed.
Don’t try to start the car if it has been flooded- Starting a flooded car can make the damage worse. Check the seats, carpets, trunk, and particularly the engine bay and air filter to see if the car has been inundated with water. Take photos of the damage and wait to notify the insurance company before making repairs.
Get approval from your insurer before making repairs- Before making any cleaning or repair to your damaged car, make sure to get approval from your insurer. Even if you want to quickly put your vehicle back on the road, making any unauthorized repairs to your damaged car may be a cause for denial.