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Does Car Insurance Cover Flooding?


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: APRIL 13, 2022 | 3 MIN READ

During flash floods, hurricanes, or heavy rainstorms, rising water levels can seep into vehicle engines and interiors causing substantial damage. Flooded cars may be severely damaged and need immediate repair, or could be deemed a total loss. The good news is, car insurance does cover flood damage if comprehensive coverage is included in your policy. To learn more about comprehensive coverage and how to get flood damage covered by insurance, read on.

Key Takeaways on Car Insurance and Flooding

  • Car insurance only covers flood damage if your policy has comprehensive coverage.
  • Flood damage includes engine seizure, transmission failure, warped brakes, and airbag failure. You should never drive in spite of these issues, no matter the circumstance.
  • In the event of a car flooding, do not start the vehicle until it is dried and inspected by a car technician.
  • You should consider carrying comprehensive coverage if you own a vehicle worth at least $4,000 or are leasing/financing a car.
  • After a natural disaster, try to file a claim with your auto insurance provider as soon as possible.

How Can Flood Waters Damage or Ruin Your Vehicle?

Flooding is likely to cause damage to your car regardless of where and how much water gets into the vehicle. More water may mean more severe damage, but even the slightest amount of water exposure can have damaging effects.

Water damage can cause cosmetic issues such as rust, mold, and foggy lights. While these have no direct effect on the car’s capacity to drive, it can depreciate the value of your car if you intend to sell it later on. The more significant damages to a vehicle include engine seizure, transmission failure, warped brakes, and airbag failure. These issues concern the mechanical systems of your car and limit the basic safety features that are necessary to operate a vehicle. Driving in spite of these issues should never happen, no matter the circumstance.

If your car is flooded, do not start the vehicle until it is cleaned and inspected by a professional. Turning on the engine can cause more damage if it was already exposed to water. You should first record the highest point of water exposure and then attempt to dry the interior as much as possible. Contact your insurance company immediately to report the damage, and then contact a car technician to arrange an inspection.

What Kind of Auto Insurance Coverage Protects Against Flood Damage?

The only coverage that protects against flood damage is comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage is additional car insurance coverage that pays for damages to your car that were not caused by a collision. This includes theft, vandalism, hail, fires, and of course, water damage. Comprehensive coverage is not legally mandated but is highly recommended for all car owners. You can purchase comprehensive coverage with collision coverage or you can purchase comprehensive coverage on its own.

It’s important to note that many insurers have binding restrictions when it comes to adding comprehensive coverage to your policy. This means that insurers will set a limit on when you can add a policy to your plan if a major weather event is expected to occur. So, if you’re interested in comprehensive coverage, be sure to add it to your plan in time for the next major storm in your area.

Comprehensive coverage has a deductible, and you can choose between $250 and $1,500 depending on where you live and what vehicle you own. Comprehensive policies typically have a limit, so insurers will only pay for damage up to your car’s actual cash value.

High-value cars that are newer or considered luxury vehicles will be more expensive to repair if damaged. Therefore, insurance companies will typically charge higher premiums.

Some drivers may opt-out of comprehensive coverage if their vehicle is older or valued lower. This is because it may not be financially reasonable to pay for comprehensive coverage if the car isn’t worth much. However, there are certain circumstances where carrying comprehensive coverage is absolutely necessary. If you are leasing or financing a car, you will likely be required to have comprehensive coverage. If you own a car that’s worth more than $4,000, you should consider adding comprehensive coverage to your auto insurance plan.

Filing a Comprehensive Coverage Claim for Flood Damage

It’s vital to document the floodwater damage to your car as soon as you can. Take pictures of your vehicle at all angles and be sure to record the highest level of water exposure. Documenting these details will help a technician understand the severity of the damage and what repairs are necessary.

It’s not always necessary to file a claim if the damage is minor and paying for repairs out-of-pocket would cost less than paying your deductible. It’s important to take the total cost of repairs into consideration because filing an auto insurance claim could raise your premium.

If you do decide to file a claim, you should do so as soon as possible. In the event of natural disasters, hundreds or even thousands of claims are filed all at once. The faster you file your claim, the faster it will be processed. In order to make the claims filing process easier on yourself and the insurer, make sure you submit paperwork on time, double-check estimates, and keep records of your vehicle upkeep.

FAQs

Does car insurance cover water damage?

Comprehensive coverage covers water damage to your vehicle. It also covers losses from hail, wind, and even trees falling on your car during a storm.

Does car insurance cover flood damage?

If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, your car is covered for flood damage. Comprehensive coverage isn’t mandated by law. It’s a coverage you have to add separately.

Do I have to carry comprehensive coverage on my car insurance policy?

Comprehensive coverage isn’t required by the state. However, if you’re financing or leasing your vehicle, the lender will require you to carry both comprehensive and collision coverage. These two coverages combined are commonly known as full coverage. If you own your car outright, you should consider carrying comprehensive coverage if your car is valued at $4,000 or more.

Car Insurance and Flood Damage: The Bottom Line

If you carry comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, your car is covered if it’s flooded. Comprehensive coverage is considered an additional coverage, though. To make sure you’re adequately insured, compare auto insurance rates and options today.

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