The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) recently issued a statement announcing that the country will experience a transitional phase of the monsoon from October 3 until November this year. According to MetMalaysia director-general Muhammad Helmi Abdullah, the start of the transitional phase would mark the end of the southwest monsoon that began on May 14.

“During the monsoon transition phase, the region will experience weak winds from various directions that are very conducive for thunderstorms, which usually brings with it heavy rains as well as strong winds,” Muhammad Helmi wrote.

“This usually occurs in the evenings and earlier parts of the nights in most areas in the states on the west coast and interiors of the peninsular, west Sabah and central Sarawak. These weather conditions can potentially cause flash floods as well as damage to unsound structures,” he added.

The department advised the public to be alert during the monsoon transition phase and follow weather forecasts and warnings issued via its official website, social media pages (Facebook, Twitter), myCuaca mobile app (iOS, Android) or by contacting its hotline at 1-300-22-1638.

With flash floods set to be a common occurrence in the coming months due to changing weather conditions, it’s important that motorists prepare themselves. One way to do so is by having Special Perils insurance coverage for your vehicle. This is an add-on (or rider in insurance speak) that covers natural disasters and acts of God, including floods.

Most insurance companies offer Special Perils as an option when you renew your car insurance and you’ll be reimbursed by the insurance provider should your car suffer damage from natural disasters. Depending on which insurance provider you take up, Special Perils can sometimes be offered in different tiers, so check which provides you with sufficient coverage, with flood coverage being a critical requirement.

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Being an option, Special Perils will add to the payable premium, although it’s not by much. Last December, we tabulated the various costs of adding on Special Perils coverage offered by most auto insurance companies in Malaysia, including AIA, AIG, Allianz, AXA, Etiqa, Kurnia, MPI Generali, MSIG, RHB, Takaful and Tokio Marine. At the time, the rates varied between 0.15% to 0.50% of the sum insured for the vehicle.

Even with Special Perils coverage, it’s sometimes better to avoid the hassle and time wasted if your vehicle does get caught in a flood and you need to submit a claim. Should you plan on heading out when the clouds look gloomy, check beforehand if there is any flooding on the route you’re about to take.

If there is, look for an alternative route or delay/cancel your trip to minimise your risk. However, if it’s unavoidable that you must head out, there is some reassurance that with Special Perils, you’re covered in a worst-case scenario. Paying that little extra for peace of mind is certainly worth it, don’t you think?