Ravikumar can see just the roof of his car. The vehicle has been under water the last several days after Chennai received unprecedented rain. He, like owners of some 30,000 other vehicles, is waiting for the water to recede to move the car to the company’s workshop and, more importantly, to make an insurance claim.

Insurance companies’ initial estimates are that claims from flood-hit residents of Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu will top ₹3,000 crore. Insurance companies have already received claims for about ₹ 2,000 crore for property and vehicles damaged in the first spell of heavy rain in November.

Estimates for two-wheelers damaged in the rain are not yet available.

According to automobile industry experts, depending on the level of submersion — complete or stalling after being driven in two/three-feet of water — repairs could cost from ₹1.5 lakh to ₹5 lakh. To set right engine damage alone could cost about ₹ 1.5 lakh.

According to the industry, manufacturers are working on support schemes. For instance, when over 10,000 Maruti cars were damaged in the Jammu and Kashmir floods last year, the company came up with a discount scheme for purchase of new cars. According to initial estimates, in Chennai, some 7,000 Maruti cars may have been damaged.

Insurance company officials say that claims are beginning to trickle in what with the inundation making it difficult for surveyors to go the field for inspection.

A senior United India Insurance official said vehicle damage is yet to be reported because of continued flooding and surveyors not being able to work. The company has received over 800 claims for about ₹350 crore and more are expected.

SS Gopalarathnam, Managing Director, Chola MS, said till November about 250 claims had been received for ₹20 crore, mostly for property, health and vehicles. More claims are expected in December.

The company has brought surveyors from other parts of Tamil Nadu to Chennai to speed up work.

MS Sreedhar, Managing Director, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance, said the company has received about 325 claims as of November. Claims related to the December flooding are starting to come in.

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