Forget about volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. The biggest natural disaster Singaporeans have to worry about is the yearly haze.
But that’s precisely why the flash floods that happened earlier this year took everyone by surprise. We’ve always known we get lots of rain. But nobody expected to see cars in Singapore getting partially submerged.
And it might not be over yet, according to a recent advisory by PUB which warned that there might be flash floods in February too.
The rain makes it nicer to sleep in, but as a driver, if your vehicle is parked outdoors, there is always the fear that you’ll come back to realise your car has floated away or completely disintegrated in the rain.
Will your car insurance policy cover the cost of repairs when your car suffers from flood damage? Not necessarily.
You will not receive flood damage cover if you don’t have comprehensive car insurance
It’s illegal to drive a car that isn’t covered by insurance. But just because everyone’s insured doesn’t mean everyone’s car is protected.
That’s because the only component that’s compulsory is third party insurance. If you only have third party insurance, that means that if you’re involved in an accident, your insurer can pay for the damage that you’ve caused to other people, but not to your own car. So if you tried to get away with buying the absolute cheapest insurance plan that’d be accepted by the authorities, it might be a third party only insurance plan.
In order to receive flood damage cover, you would need to buy a comprehensive car insurance policy. If you had to take out a loan to buy your car, it’s likely you’d have been required to take out a comprehensive policy.
This kind of plan will compensate you if your own car gets damaged. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that damage from floods will be covered.
Not all insurers cover flood damage
Unfortunately, if you think you can just get your insurer to save the soaked remains of your car, you’re wrong.
While the majority of insurers offer flood damage coverage, some still don’t, and this is not always linked to cost. This means that the only way to know if you’ll be covered for flood damage is to ask your insurer directly, or read through your insurance policy in detail.
If you’ve got a comprehensive car insurance policy from one of these companies, you’re in luck, as they do offer flood protection:
AIG, Aviva, AXA (only SmartDrive Flexi plans), BudgetDirect, China Taiping, DirectAsia, Ergo, Etiqa, HL Assurance, Liberty, MSIG, NTUC Income, Sompo, Tokio Marine, United Motor Insurance.
For more information on car insurance policies, you can easily find out more with MoneySmart’s Car Insurance Wizard.
What happens if your car insurance plan doesn’t cover flood damage?
If you’ve discovered that your plan does not offer flood damage, you’ll then have to consider whether it’s worthwhile switching to a different insurance plan and possibly losing your No Claim Bonus to get flood coverage.
Here are some things you want to consider when deciding if it’s worthwhile changing plans:
Where is your car usually parked?
If your car spends much of its life parked in an indoor car park (eg. you live in a condo with an indoor carpark, and on weekdays your car is parked in your office building’s multi storey carpark), then it might not be worthwhile paying extra for flood damage coverage. However, if you usually park outdoors and/or your home or workplace are located in areas that have a history of flash floods, you have a higher chance of being affected.
How often do you use your car?
If you drive to work every single day without fail, your vehicle is more vulnerable than if you take public transport to work and only use the car on weekends or whenever you feel like it. Of course, that’s provided you have an indoor parking option when it’s not in use.
Does your current car insurance policy cover flood damage? Tell us in the comments!