Jakarta

Driving through floods
may not be covered

How did they get there?: Buses, cars and motorcycles become trapped in a massive flood on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta on Thursday. Insurance companies have said they will not cover damage to cars when drivers intentionally try to drive along flooded roads. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
How did they get there?: Buses, cars and motorcycles become trapped in a massive flood on Jl. MH Thamrin in Central Jakarta on Thursday. Insurance companies have said they will not cover damage to cars when drivers intentionally try to drive along flooded roads. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Local insurance companies are gearing up for a multitude of claims following the city’s flood emergency. Among their decisions: Denying coverage to people who damage their vehicles by deliberately driving through flood waters.

PT Asuransi Adira Dinamika (Adira Insurance) president director Indra Baruna was phlegmatic.

“If our customers know that a road is flooded but keep on trying to get through and then the engine breaks down — we can’t cover that,” Indra said on Thursday.

Adira, which offers insurance to the drivers of two- and four-wheeled vehicles, would only cover claims for vehicles that were damaged by flooding if they were “accidentally inundated”, he said.

“As of [Thursday] afternoon, we have received 18 reports from customers who want us to help their cars that have been stuck and inundated in their garages or basements,” Indra said.

Most of the 18 customers lived in East Jakarta and West Jakarta, the worst hit of the city’s five municipalities.

Indra said that Adira representatives immediately answered the requests, although the firm would examine the damage caused by the flood before making a decision on the claims.

Adira expected to receive more reports in the next couple of days, Indra said, predicting that the number of flood-related claims for the current flood emergency would not equal those submitted in 2007, when Greater Jakarta faced its last flood disaster.

“In 2007, we received around 40 reports on the first day alone, and covered around 3,800 cars for claims worth around Rp 15 billion [US$1.5 million] in total,” he said. “If tomorrow the water level subsides, I don’t think the total claims will surpass the 2007 figure.”

The approach of insurance company PT Asuransi Jasa Tania was much the same, according to the firm’s director, Ade Zulfikar. “It’s stated in the insurance contract that we don’t cover claims from car owners who intentionally drive through inundated roads.”

The firm was ready to cover accidental damage claims for private minivans worth around Rp 100 million-200 million, he said.

Kelapa Gading resident Giovanny Sientoro said that he did not have the guts to drive through the flood, even though he had insured his sedan.

“I parked my car at ITC Cempaka Mas shopping center at 11 a.m. and decided to not continue my trip to the office because the road was heavily inundated,” Giovanny said. “I just don’t want to damage my car.”

Massive floods paralyzed Jakarta on Thursday, inundating vast swaths of the city, including the city’s main thoroughfares, Jl. Jendral Sudirman and Jl. MH Thamrin.

A 70-centimeter-high water level was recorded on Jl. Thamrin leaving a Rolls Royce stranded after it tried to drive through the flood.

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