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FAQ's On Hydrostatic Lock & Insurance

Hydrostatic lock is a condition that is associated with water, engine and a breakdown. Insurance seekers are often confused if this type of a risk is covered by their car insurance policy.

  • 15 Apr 2015
  • 3 min read

The following sections will throw light upon all you need to know about hydrostatic lock and motor insurance.


What is a Hydrostatic Lock?

Hydrostatic lock is a phenomenon that occurs when your vehicle's engine comes in contact with water. Water prevents the engine from starting, rendering the vehicle into a static position. It mainly occurs when a parked vehicle is stranded in a flooded area or if the vehicle travels through a pool of water or cuts through a waterlogged area.


How does it happen?

When your vehicle passes through a puddle of water, it can enter the engine through the vehicle's air intake valve. Now the vehicle needs its piston to function smoothly for ignition. However, when the water ingresses into the cylinder, it replaces the gas required for combustion. Since water is non-compressible, it stops the piston from completing its stroke required to create the spark that ignites the engine.


How does it damage the vehicle?

The vehicle is not damaged by the situation but due to the action taken because of the situation. The water ingression does not let the vehicle start. However, constant cranking attempts by the driver can pose a threat to the parts of an engine, causing considerable damage to the cylinder wall, piston and the connecting rod.


What is the extent of damage when it comes to a Hydrostatic Lock?

The extent of damage differs from engine to engine. It depends on the amount of water ingression and cranking. Certain spare parts of an engine are difficult to replace. If those parts have been affected, generally, the entire engine or that particular half needs to be replaced. Sometimes replacing the engine seems a plausible option rather than repairing it.

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Does the hydrostatic lock phenomenon also affect electric vehicles?

The hydrostatic lock phenomenon is applicable to vehicles with an internal combustion engine. Electrical vehicles work on a battery-powered motor. Since electrical vehicles do not possess an internal combustion engine, they are not affected by the hydrostatic lock.


Is hydrostatic lock covered under a standard motor insurance policy?

Standard motor insurance policies do not cover consequential losses. Hydrostatic lock is a consequential loss as it is a consequence of the driver cranking the engine excessively. It is not a direct result of the water ingression. Thus, losses due to a hydrostatic lock are not covered under a standard car insurance policy.


How to cover losses occurred due to a hydrostatic lock?

The best way to ensure that you do not face financial losses due to a hydrostatic lock is to purchase an add-on cover with your standard motor insurance policy. Cover for hydrostatic lock is generally provided under the Engine Protection add-on. This add-on is extremely important if you reside in an area prone to water logging. The cost of the cover is determined based on your vehicle's Insure Declare Value (IDV).

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