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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Save your car from this

WITH the constant hand wringing by the authorities in dealing with flash floods, motorists should seriously start asking themselves whether they need flood insurance, how much it costs and what
it covers.

According to an insurance brokerage house, most motorists are unaware that general insurance policies do not cover properties — including vehicles — damaged by floods as it is considered an “act of nature”.

“As far as the general insurance industry is concerned, policies do not extend to cover floods,” said Intan Insurance Broker Sdn Bhd chief executive officer G. Narayanan.

He said the standard annual premium rate for all vehicles is 0.5 per cent of the sum insured.

“For instance, if a motorist wants a RM100,000 flood coverage, then he has to fork out RM500 in annual premium, which is 0.5 per cent of the sum insured.”

Narayanan, who has been in the industry for more than 15 years, said the general public is still unaware that such a policy exists.

“Only those who are often hit by floods make an attempt to insure their vehicles,” he said.

However, he said they can insure their vehicles against floods for any amount they wish.

“Insurance companies only pay for the amount insured. If the insured amount is not sufficient to pay for the damage, then the motorists have to fork out the balance.”

On whether private parking companies are liable for damage due to floods, Narayanan said the companies are usually covered by a professional liability policy.

“Although most of the operators are instructed by the insurance companies not to admit guilt if a motorist sues, and in the event the court finds them liable, they are protected by the liability

He urged motorists who live or park their vehicles in flood-prone areas to consult insurers to get professional advice.

On Tuesday evening, thousands of motorists were stuck in massive traffic jams for more than two hours after a storm caused flash foods in various parts of the city.

Some motorists had to abandon their cars in the middle of the road when the flood waters threatened to submerge their vehicles.

The rain, which started in the afternoon, was so intense that it caused Sungai Gombak to quickly swell and overflow.

Vehicles in underground car parks were submerged and thousands of motorists were caught for hours in a traffic gridlock.

Blaming the debacle on elected representatives, Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association (Fomca) said if only the elected representatives had been proactive and ensured that the authorities
carried out their jobs properly, such a situation could have been averted.

Fomca secretary-general Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah said it was common that after a flood, the blame game would start.

“This is something that must stop. The people should take it upon themselves to pressure their elected representatives to ensure that flood mitigation works are carried out immediately so
that such incidents would not recur,” he said.


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