Stormy proof sells for auto insurance claims

By Wu Wencong (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-05-27 13:20
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As Beijing prepares for seasonal storms, car owners are also readying themselves to snap up certificates from the weather bureau capable of easing insurance claims.

The city has now officially entered summer, following five continuous days of temperatures above 30 C.

Extreme weather is forecasted - hailstorms, rainstorms, floods and gales - all of which are known to damage vehicles.

To make a weather-related claim, drivers need to provide evidence of extreme conditions.

To cater to the expected demand, the weather bureau launched a testimonial service on Tuesday.

"The certificate is easy to apply for and can state the temperature, rainfall and wind force at any chosen time, taken by the Nanjiao meteorological observatory," said Ding Deping, head of the Beijing meteorological observatory.

Stormy proof sells for auto insurance claims

"The service might be a touch slower if the area affected is either remote or lacks a nearby meteorological observatory," Ding said.

The testimonial can be issued at the service hall of the meteorological bureau. Car owners need to pay a fee upfront, which can later be reimbursed by the insurance company.

According to Ding, if the weather is extreme enough to cause severe damage across a large area, meteorological departments will issue testimonials directly to insurance companies without the involvement of individuals.

Advisory staff from PICC Holding Co and Ping An Insurance Group told METRO that a meteorological testimonial is essential before further investigation can be made.

"But if the extreme weather happens across a large area, a newspaper report might also be accepted as evidence," said an adviser from PICC.

However, insurance experts have said that the meteorological testimonial only proves extreme weather has occurred. Other evidence to link any damage to the weather will be needed to make a successful claim.

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Gao Dianmin, webmaster and chief lawyer of China Insurance Litigation Network, suggested car owners collect additional evidence as quickly as possible after the weather subsides.

"Taking pictures of the car right after it is damaged, or calling the insurance company immediately, are both highly recommended," Gao told METRO.

"If the damage to the car is not known to its owners immediately, they can turn to shops nearby for testimonials to prove the car was not used after the extreme weather," Gao said.