Does My Auto Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

Dec 6, 2022 | Personal Insurance

Does my auto insurance cover flood damage? Flood is one of the most common perils in the U.S. Each year, the number of drivers filing claims due to flood damage tremendously increases. And according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association, all states are prone to experiencing floods, even the ones with naturally dry weather. This only means that having auto insurance flood coverage is a must. So, in this article, we will discuss whether auto insurance covers flood damage.

When does auto insurance cover flood damage?

Since comprehensive auto insurance covering floods is not always mandatory in car insurance, you must first add a comprehensive policy to get coverage. Generally, this will kick in after you pay for the deductibles for the repairs. Or reimburse the car’s actual cash value if the adjuster calculated that your car is totaled. However, if your car’s worth is more than $3,000 or you are under 10 years old, we recommend that you add this coverage. The cost of your auto insurance will go up, but at least you are more secure that your car will be part of the coverage if anything happens, like a flood, broken windshield due to an accident, or damage caused by vandalism.

How much is comprehensive coverage?

According to the latest data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of comprehensive coverage per year is $190. This additional charge may seem too much to some, but not having this can cost you more. If your vehicle is impaired, partially or fully submerged in flood, and you are not covered, imagine the amount that you need to pay to fix it or, worse, to buy a new car. Hence, adding comprehensive insurance to your auto policy is vital to securing your car repairs or replacement. 

What Does Comprehensive Auto Insurance Cover?

Generally, comprehensive insurance covers the damage to your car due to unforeseen events or peril. These events should not include collisions with objects or another vehicle. Comprehensive insurance covers the damage to your car, such as:

  • Flood
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Natural disasters like tornados and hurricane
  • Falling objects
  • Any damage caused by animals

Now here are the things that are not part of the coverage:

  • Damage to your car caused by collision with other vehicles.
  • Damage to another driver’s car caused by the collision.
  • You and your passengers’ medical expenses due to the accident.

Natural disasters like storms and tornadoes are typically not part of the coverage. During these perils, many types of objects can smash or fly onto your car due to extreme wind. Any harm to your car due to these incidents will not be part of the comprehensive auto policy.  So, during the storm, lightning hit a tree and fell on your car’s roof. The impairment due to the damage to the tree is part of the coverage. 

How Much Damage Do Floods Inflict?

Damage due to flood is a serious problem that can lead to your car being totaled if worse comes to worst. And the severity of the water damage depends on how much water got into your car. Now the question is, how much damage can a flood do to your auto?

Water reached the floor of your car.

The impairment might be minor if you got lucky and the flood just reached your car’s flooring. You can check if the car works fine and avoid leakage or smoke. And to ensure, having your wheels checked at a shop is better. 

Waterfloods that reached higher than the floor-level

When the waterflood reaches higher than the floor of your car, there is a bigger chance that your engine will destroy. If this happens, your best option is to check your car’s engine using the oil dipstick to check for any water droplets. Also, if the reading is too high and you see water on the oil, the water has already reached the engine, and your engine cylinders are possibly broken. If this is the case, the harm done to your wheels will be much more extreme, and the cost to repair them will be higher than the actual cash value. If the insurer calculated that they would reimburse you for it, they would pay you for the value of your car. 

However, water damage due to negligence is not part of the coverage. For example, if you leave the windows open, which causes the water from average rain to go inside your car and cause damage, this type of damage will not be part of the coverage.

What Should I Do With My Car After a Flood?

After the flood subsides, you must deal with the harm done to your car. Now, this part will be messy and stressful. But you need to act immediately to avoid further damage. Here is the list of the things that you need to do:

  • Call a towing service to bring your car to higher ground for safety.
  • Don’t try to start your car. There’s a big chance that a flooded car’s engine has obtained damages already, and starting it will cause more harm. 
  • We also recommend taking as many photos and videos as possible at each angle of your car, inside and outside, to clearly show what the damages look like. This will back up your claim and serve as good evidence of what happened.
  • Remove seat covers and cushions.
  • Use a vacuum to remove the remaining water inside your car floor and seats. 
  • Use all the necessary tools like towels, fans, sponges, and humidifiers to help dry all the wet surfaces of the car. 
  • You can also call a mechanic to help you check the transmission fluid, oil, and lube.

Once you have already finished drying your car as much as possible, file a claim to your auto insurance so they can immediately check it. 

How to file a car insurance claim after flood damage, and does auto insurance cover flood?

Filing flood damage to your insurer is the same as filing any car damage. But the more challenging part here is that water damage is time-sensitive. The earlier you can file a claim, the better. It is because the water can further harm your car if not fixed right away. Another thing to consider is when it floods, it usually happens in a large area. This means there are lots of cars as well that were damaged due to the flood.

Now, if you are going to wait before you file a claim, chances are many of you will file a claim with the same insurance company. This can slow down the claims process due to mass submissions, and indeed, first come, first serve is the procedure they will follow. Therefore, you must deal with your flooded car as soon as it’s safe to make a claim ASAP.

Once the claims adjuster checks your car to determine the damage, he will let you know if your insurance will need to pay for repairs or if it is already a total loss. Now, what should you do in case of a total loss?

What if your flood-damaged car is a total loss?

Most states have a threshold to surpass before a car is a total loss. One example is in Oklahoma if the cost to repair a car is more than 60% of its value, then it will be considered totaled. Now, if the adjuster determines that your car is a total loss, your car insurance policy will pay you for the actual cash value of your car after depreciation. So let’s say you bought your vehicle for $35,000 five years ago. Today, the amount of your car depreciates to $23,000. Then your insurance company will pay you $23,000. 

If You Don’t Have Comprehensive Coverage, What Should You Do?

What if a flood destroyed your car, and you don’t have comprehensive coverage, but you have flood insurance? Will it suffice? The answer is NO. 

Having flood insurance will cover your personal property that was damaged inside your car during the flood but not the car itself. That is why we recommend adding comprehensive insurance at the start of your policy to avoid being underinsured. 

Things to keep in mind if your car is still repairable

You can still save some damages to a vehicle after a flood. There are just some things that you need to pay extra attention to. Once the adjuster decides that your auto can still be repaired, be vigilant in checking all the damaged parts of your car. Check for all the parts that have moisture to avoid mold, rust, and mildew. Also, all the wiring, electrical circuits, and engine. Your adjuster will help you throughout the process, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.

How to Protect Your Car From Flood

Being ready is the best that anyone can do to avoid being helpless in a disaster. Here are things that you do to prevent your vehicle from flood damage:

  1. Make sure that your auto insurance has comprehensive and flood insurance.
  2. Stay updated with the weather forecast. 
  3. If you know there will be a possibility of flooding, park your car in a high area.

We hope you learned a lot regarding does auto insurance cover flood damage. We understand you want the best insurance that fits your needs. That is why our team is here to help! Contact us! at Advantage Insurance Solutions in Denver, CO. Let’s work together to get the best price possible!

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