CHENNAI: Festive holidays and long weekends may denote fun for some, while for others, it could be late night partying or a quick holiday. But there is a dark side to it.
As per an analysis of motor insurance claims, there is a rise in motor accidents during the period. Such accidents are more severe as people resort to drunken driving or over-speeding on the highway on New Year’s Eve or Holi.
For Bajaj Allianz, the average claim payout for a motor accident during a holiday or extended weekend is 60-70% higher as compared to a normal vehicle claim. The average claim size for the company for four wheelers is Rs 30,000 while for two wheelers it is Rs 7,000. “A lot of claims come from diesel variants and cabs,” chief technical officer of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, Vijay Kumar, said.
Chola MS General Insurance has seen a 5% rise in motor claims in 2014 over 2013 during holidays or long weekends. “Based on our experience, the incidence of such accidents rises during extended weekends in the monsoon,” SS Gopalarathnam, MD, Chola MS General said.
For Tata AIG, motor claims during such periods were loss-making in nature (where the insured can claim full insured value or insured declared value of his/her car). “The average payout in such cases is at least 10 times more than a normal motor claim. City residents are not used to highway driving. Also, whenever night driving is involved, there is a higher propensity for claims,” national head, personal lines of TATA AIG General Insurance Madhukar Sinha said.
The single biggest reason for more accidents during such periods, say insurers, is more vehicles on highways than before. “During a weekday getaway drive, the general thinking of the driver is maximum utilization of the limited time period. Sometimes, this may lead to a bit of reckless driving…means risks of accidents are higher,” CMD of United India Insurance Milind Kharat said.
Insurers also state that certain geographies are more prone to accidents during holidays or extended weekends. For instance, United India Insurance has seen a spike in motor claims from people driving on the Delhi-Shimla highway as well as the Mumbai-Pune corridor during festive periods and long holidays. “Certain parts of the section turn bad on account of landslides in the former. The Mumbai Pune stretch also sees high vehicle movement during short vacations as people are looking to go to nearby locales like Lonavala and Mahabaleswar,” Kharat said.
In the case of Bajaj Allianz, 40% of motor claims come from North India and the situation in motor claim reporting is no different during festival time or short breaks.