Experts say to understand if vandalism is covered under a motor insurance policy, one first needs to know about the types of motor insurance policies available in the Indian insurance market.
A comprehensive motor insurance policy normally covers damages due to accidents or natural calamities, etc., but does the policy also offer coverage for vandalism? If your vehicle is damaged in a riot and its body gets dents or its windshield is broken due to stone pelting, will you get an insurance claim from the insurer?
Let us understand what vandalism is, and how it will be covered under a motor insurance policy.
Normally, vandalism refers to causing deliberate damage to other people's property. This is commonly seen during riots. Private property is destroyed to show violent disagreement with certain things. A few examples are: a group of protesters pelting stones on vehicles such as buses, cars, and bikes; a social group fighting to keep their philosophical beliefs alive by protesting against the authorities by vandalising cars and destroying public property, etc.
Animesh Das, head of product strategy, ACKO General Insurance, said, "To understand if vandalism is covered under a motor insurance policy, you first need to know about the types of motor insurance policies available in the Indian insurance market."
Here are different types of motor insurance policies you can choose from:
A third-party car insurance policy covers damage caused by your car to other people or their property. The compensation for damage is borne by your insurer if it is proved that you have caused the damage. This cover includes damages to property as well as injuries and death of the third-party affected by your car.
"Note that a third-party car insurance policy does not cover any damages to your car. When this basic policy is purchased, you will have to bear the 100% cost of repairing damages to your car. Thus, it does not cover vandalism," said Das.
(2) Comprehensive motor insurance
A comprehensive motor insurance policy offers coverage for two major things— third-party damages and something called "Own Damage" (OD). The OD component refers to the damages caused to your car. This policy reduces your out-of-pocket expenses and the insurance company will pay for the repairs when your car gets damaged.
Das said, "Since OD is covered under a comprehensive policy, it also covers damages due to vandalism. Your insurer will bear the expenses related to such damages simply because you did not cause them."
How to raise a motor insurance claim against vandalism?
To raise a claim against vandalism, you should first get in touch with the insurance company and inform them of such damage. The customer care executive or an insurance expert will guide you through the correct process as per the terms of the insurer.
Nowadays, a claim can be raised digitally as well. You can use an app or visit the insurance company's website to raise a claim. You need to be ready with the following details:
1. Car insurance policy number
2. Car’s Registration Number
3. FIR (if requested by the insurer)
4. Pictures or videos of the damaged car
5. Any other documents as requested by the insurer
In addition to these documents, you must try to keep any newspaper clippings or an online article that reported the incident handy. This will help in fortifying your claim and receiving faster approvals. "Once the motor insurance claim is approved, it will get settled within 1-3 business days," Das said.
What you should do
Since it is impossible to predict damages, the safest option is to be insured and ready for an unfortunate incident like social unrest and vandalism. Das said, "You can avoid such damages by parking your car in a safe place away from the main road if you sense that such an incident is about to occur. Avoid delay while reporting the damage to your insurance company. And don’t get the car repaired before it is surveyed for damages. This may result in claim rejection."