Does car insurance cover typhoon damage?

Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which is widely believed to be the strongest storm in the world in 2018, hit Hong Kong last Sunday. The Observatory had issued warnings to the public one week prior to the storm, and the government had held multiple inter-departmental meetings to brace for the super typhoon.

People lined up in grocery stores to stock up on goods and taped big crosses on their windows to reduce damage by broken glass. In the end, the Observatory hoisted the typhoon signal No.10 for 10 hours. The strong squalls and torrential rain have left hundreds of flights cancelled, thousands of trees downed, high-rise buildings swaying, and serious flooding in low-lying coastal areas such as Tai O and Tseung Kwan O.

While Typhoon Hato, which battered Hong Kong last year, was said to have caused $850 million dollars worth of insurance claims, Typhoon Mangkhut insurance claims could exceed over US$1 billion, a news report said. Now that the storm is over, many car owners are starting to assess their damages and costs. Most of the insurance claims we currently handle concern flooding and car damage caused by falling objects.

This week, Kwiksure's article divulges what insurers will consider when deciding whether to accept or deny claims, and the claims processes for third party and comprehensive insurance plans.

Will my insurance cover car damage or loss caused by typhoons?

Contrary to popular belief, adverse weather conditions, in most cases, are covered in comprehensive car insurance policies. However, it is NOT covered by third party insurance. When considering your claims, one of the most important factors insurers will look into is whether you have done all that you can to protect your car from a typhoon. If the insurer deems that you are putting your automobile at risk on purpose, they might decide to deny your claims. As explained in our previous articles, examples of precautionary measures include:

  • Avoid driving during bad weather, unless absolutely necessary

  • Turn on headlights when visibility is low

  • Avoid parking at flood- or landslide- prone areas

  • Ensure that all windows and doors are properly secured

Nonetheless, please bear in mind that the above information only serves as a general reference. You should read the terms and conditions of your insurance policy thoroughly since benefit coverages may vary between plans.

For comprehensive car insurance claims

The claims process for car damage/loss in a typhoon is similar to the normal claims process:

  1. Call the police immediately if anyone is injured in the accident.

  2. Even if no one is injured, you should still report the accident to the police within 48 hours, and notify the insurers by submitting an accident report/claims form, police statement, photo or camera footage of the accident, and any available and related materials.

  3. The car will be towed to a garage for a repair quotation. Usually, insurers will not specify which garage you should go to unless you are only repairing your windscreen, which is a special component of cars which most insurers have designated maintenance garages for.

  4. You have to pay the excess amount to your insurer.

  5. Once the garage has finished repairing your automobile, the insurer will settle the payment on your behalf.

Please note that for cars suffering from a total loss (due to a flood, for instance), the claims process basically follows steps one to three, but after the garage deems that your car is totaled, your insurer will issue a check to you directly instead.

For third party car insurance claims

If, unfortunately, you have only purchased a third party car insurance plan, your insurer will not provide any compensation for your car damage or loss. But this does not mean that there is nothing you can do.

As mentioned above, we have received many claims requests for damages due to flooding and falling objects lately. If you believe there are third parties also responsible for your damage/loss, you may lodge civil claims against them. These third parties can be, for instance, a car park management company, a property owner whose window fell onto your car, etc. In such cases, after you have reported the incident to the police, you may ask an independent surveyor to come to the site and assess the situation.

Furthermore, you should note that it should be the third parties that you lodge claims against, and not their insurers. Whether their insurers are willing to provide reimbursement for their payments should not be your concern.

Last not certainly not least, if you are submitting claims for maintenance fees under $50,000, you may consider going to the small claims tribunal where you would not need a lawyer. However, if the claims exceed $50,000, you should hire a lawyer and consider bringing the case to a higher-level court.

Got more questions to ask? Contact us today!

We understand how frustrating it is for car owners to see their beloved automobiles damaged, or even wrecked. Naturally, you must be eager to seek professional advice on what to do next. If that’s the case, look no further! Kwiksure is an independent insurance broker with over 18 years of experience. Our team of experts can leverage their in-depth knowledge of the industry and offer you impartial advice. Contact us today and get a free quotation or plan comparison!

 

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