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BW Businessworld

How To Survive The Aftermath Of Nature’s Fury

The OPD coverage is also useful if the treatment does not require hospitalisation, which is also common for low severity ailments

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When floods ravaged Gujarat, Assam, Bihar and more recently, the metropolis of Mumbai, we saw that man cannot fight nature’s fury. The US too, was not spared, as parts of the country were destroyed by two of the worst hurricanes ever. In all these instances, scores of people lost their lives and property. Many of those who survived the floods became victims of diseases. In such cases, treatment costs could impact your finances.  

Apart from monetary compensation, insurance also provides access to the right kind of medical treatment through tie-ups with hospitals for individuals, repair services for your vehicles and even restoration of and storage of damaged artefacts. This feature is what makes insurance relevant, but is overlooked. Let us look at some insurance covers that should ideally form a part of one’s portfolio and can help in dealing with natural calamities like floods.

Health insurance: There are outbreaks of serious infections through waterborne diseases such as influenza, pneumonia and leptospirosis. Often delays in detection can turn fatal and treatment costs can run into lakhs. The diagnostic tests, too, cost a few thousands. Besides, these tests are not covered by a standard health insurance policy, unless it includes out-patient department (OPD) as well. Therefore, while buying health insurance, one must look for a cover that offers OPD treatment, despite the higher cost. The OPD coverage is also useful if the treatment does not require hospitalisation, which is also common for low severity ailments.

Personal accident cover: Another useful cover to have during catastrophes is a personal accident cover. The pay-outs depend on the extent of disability and full sum assured is paid in case of death. Such covers offer protection against total permanent disablement, partial permanent disablement and temporary total disablement due to an accident, which pure life insurance policies do not cover. In the monsoons, there are instances of trees falling or buildings collapsing. If the victim survives such an accident but is left with a physical disability and therefore unable to continue working for an extended period of time, then a PA cover is extremely useful.

Motor insurance add-on covers: While most vehicle owners buy a comprehensive motor insurance, some add-on covers can be useful during the monsoons. For instance, ‘Engine Protect’ compensates customers for any engine and its part related damages caused due to water ingression while driving through waterlogged streets. There have been several such instances of this in India, including during the recent floods in Mumbai.

Another add-on cover is the ‘Roadside Assistance’ and ‘Return to Invoice’ cover. Under the former, the insurance company provides on-site assistance in the event of a mechanical breakdown of a car. Services such as on-site battery jump start, tyre replacement or refilling of fuel are extended to customers. The latter compensates clients for actual value of the vehicle at the time of purchase, in case of total damage. For instance, if your vehicle is completely destroyed by a falling tree or a wall, this cover can be useful.

Home insurance: Protecting your home from the aftermath of a flood and hurricane is also possible using insurance. A comprehensive home insurance will cover losses arising from a storm or floods. It will also include contents and immovables inside the house such as electronic gadgets and in some cases valuables like jewellery, paintings and other artefacts. Also, in case your house becomes unfit for occupation during a flood, the insurance policy will also pay for rent if you are forced to stay in a rented accommodation.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


RAJIV KUMAR

The author is MD & CEO, Universal Sompo General Insurance

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