I’m writing from Kolkata, which was recently struck by Cyclone Amphan. My building’s basement was flooded with rainwater and unfortunately, my 2019 Maruti Suzuki Baleno petrol, bought less than nine months ago, was parked there and was completely submerged under water for almost two days. I did not try to start the car and had it towed to the service centre. They have informed me that they are waiting for the second round of inspection by the surveyor before they can tell me what needs to be done.
The car is still under warranty and I had also bought a zero-depreciation insurance, with several add-ons to it, directly from the Maruti Suzuki showroom. My research has indicated that if a car is completely submerged in water, it’ll never be the same again. There will always be problems moving on, so it’s better to go for a new one. However, the Maruti Suzuki service centre insists that the engine will be as good as new, as will all the other mechanical parts. The only problem I may have to live with are electricals (if at all it arises in the future).
Should I push the service centre and/or the insurance company to declare a total loss and claim the Insured Declared Value (IDV)? Or, should I believe when Maruti and the insurance company says my car will be as good as new and stick to repairs only?
Abhishek Singh, Kolkata
So sorry to hear about your problems but we’re glad to know you’re okay. As for the car, it’s hard to say that there won’t be issues ahead. Water is tricky and can cause problems later on. So, ideally, push for a new car, but if they do not give you one, insist on a thorough overhaul, a change in all replaceables like filters, oils and all fluids, among others. Also, get an extensive cleaning and drying of the interiors done because mould can form later on.