Car insurance against falling coconuts, jumbos! – Times of India

by The Technical Blogs


MUMBAI: It happens only in India. Coconuts landing on unsuspecting cars, stray dogs mauling vehicles, angry peacocks pecking at their reflection and stressed elephants venting on cars: these are some of the motor accident claims that ended up giving insurers a headache, and maybe a laugh, in 2023. While these can be chalked up as unique to the Indian market, one could have made it to any funny-fail video: a buyer inadvertently drove a car right through a showroom window!
Insurers said the most common accident claim arises from being hit from behind by another vehicle. Frontal collision comes next, and then come cases of hit-and-run. Claims for colliding with a fixed object or a parked vehicle are relatively lower but are part of mainstream claims. Falling branches are also on the list.
While insurers pay out thousands of claims for accidental damages caused by collision claims, there are a few outlier claims involving animals. Many states witness human-elephant conflicts: claims on account of ‘jumbo’ damage come in from Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. According to a year-end round-up by new age insurer Go Digit, the company has paid more than 20 claims where an elephant was the primary cause of damage.
Stray dogs are another growing concern for insurers. Just one area — Indira Nagar in Lucknow — had 110 cases of vehicles being damaged by strays, according to the private insurer.
“There have been numerous instances of dogs causing damage to cars. What is unusual is the frequency of claims originating from a specific area within a city, underscoring the problem of stray dogs,” said Easwara Narayanan, chief operating officer of Go Digit, who added that coconut casualties were also on the rise.
Although public sector insurance companies do not maintain a database of claims by cause of the accident, an official with a public sector insurer reported angry peacocks pecking at their reflection on the car and causing damage. Another case was of a car being irrecoverably lost in a gorge at a construction site and having to be settled as a constructive total loss.
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance too had a fair share of animal-related claims last year. “Instances have been observed where buffaloes and goats have caused damage to cars. Additionally, there have been cases of monkeys dropping objects on cars, resulting in damage. One peculiar incident involved a car buyer driving a vehicle through the showroom glass,” said a company spokesperson.


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