Is flood damage to your car covered by insurance?

General liability auto insurance won’t cover damages to your vehicle. If you’re looking for insurance to protect your car against damage, you need to look into additional coverage. You’ll need comprehensive coverage, sometimes referred to as full coverage to cover you in the event of natural disasters such as floods.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 9, 2021

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Overview

  • Comprehensive coverage is considered “catch-all” car insurance that pays for car damage not caused by collisions or accidents, including floods and other natural disasters
  • Homeowners insurance won’t cover flood damage to your car, even with a supplemental policy, but it may cover damage to personal belongings inside the vehicle
  • If your car was damaged in a flood, it will either be repaired or replaced by filing a comprehensive claim
  • Auto insurance rates usually don’t increase for comprehensive claims, like flood damage to a car

Hurricane Ida was the second-most devastating Category 4 hurricane to hit Louisiana, behind Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. The 2021 storm took lives, destroyed property, and caused catastrophic flooding.

Ida’s storm-related damage cost insurers at least $31 billion in Louisiana. A significant amount of that loss was flood damage to cars.

Whether you live in an area prone to hurricanes or not, it’s good to know when your car is covered for flood-related damage.

Comprehensive insurance provides complete damage protection for your automobile, even for flood damage to your car, and it’s as easy to get as entering your ZIP code here.

What kind of auto insurance will cover flood damage to your car?

Not everyone realizes that general liability auto insurance won’t cover damages to the driver’s vehicle. If you’re looking for insurance to protect your automobile against damage, you need to look into additional coverage.

Types of auto insurance

There are different kinds of car insurance coverage depending on the type of protection you want. The most common auto insurance policies are:

  • General Liability Insurance – pays your liability for injuries and damages caused in the accident
  • Collision Insurance – pays for damage to your vehicle from a collision
  • Comprehensive Insurance – pays for damage to your vehicle not related to a collision

General liability insurance is also the most common type of car insurance because it satisfies state minimum liability coverage laws.

The other two types, comprehensive and collision car insurance, are “add-on” types of coverage that are available options to the standard general liability policy. They are written separately from general liability policies.

Collision car insurance will pay for damages to your vehicle from a crash, but cars also get damaged from non-collision events. If your car is damaged by bad weather conditions, like hail, fire, or flood, collision coverage alone won’t pay for the damages.

What type of car insurance covers natural disasters such as floods? You’ll need comprehensive coverage, sometimes referred to as full coverage.

Does comprehensive car insurance cover flood damage to cars?

Comprehensive auto insurance is the “catch-all” add-on policy. Comprehensive coverage is sometimes referred to as “full coverage” and pays for damage not caused by a collision.

A flood is not a collision, so does full coverage cover flood damage? The short answer is “yes,” comprehensive auto coverage covers flood damage.

But like with every rule, exceptions and exclusions may apply. Always read your policy and ask your provider which types of loss are not covered.

While every policy is different, standard exclusions for loss or damage include prohibited or unauthorized use and intentional acts by the owner or driver. That means there might not be coverage if your car gets damaged from storm chasing or driving through a flooded road that has been blocked off to through traffic.

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What is an “act of God” and does that apply to flooding?

An “act of God” is an event beyond human control or for which no party can be held accountable, such as a hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the most common and most damaging natural disasters in the U.S. are floods.

An act of God can apply to flooding as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is a covered event.

Whether flooding or any other act of God is covered by insurance depends on the insurance company, the policy purchased, the type of natural disaster, and the circumstances relating to the claim.

Also, home insurance won’t cover flood damage to your car, even with a supplemental policy, but it may cover damage to personal belongings that were inside the car.

Depending on where you live, floods may not be included in standard home and property insurance policies. Special natural disaster insurance coverage may be available, but be aware of all exclusions.

Do car insurance companies differentiate between coastal flooding and flash flooding?

There are three types of flood events: river floods, flash floods (rain/surface water), and coastal floods (storm surges).

Although floods can have different causes, most insurance companies do not differentiate between whether your car was damaged from a storm surge or surface water from a heavy rain event.

That said, key factors to a coverage determination include:

  • prohibited or unauthorized use; and
  • intentional acts by the owner or driver.

Coverage could be denied if the owner drove the vehicle under a shelter-in-place order, or tried to drive through a closed underpass or street. But generally, if you have comprehensive car insurance, all types of flood damage will be covered.

What will my insurance pay if my car was damaged in a flood?

Typically, there are two options if your car is damaged in a flood. Your car will either be repaired or replaced.

If a car is so damaged that it cannot be repaired, or if the repairs cost more than the car’s value, the insurance company will declare the vehicle a total loss. When a car is totaled, the owner gets the value of a replacement car. A totally flooded car would likely be deemed a total loss.

If insurance won’t total a flooded car, depending on the policy, you’re entitled to get your car repaired to the same condition it was before the incident. If the repairs can be done to ensure the car will drive safely, then it won’t be a water-damaged car write-off.

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Will my car insurance rates increase for flood damage?

Auto insurance companies decide insurance rates based on your risk level. Comprehensive coverage tends to kick in as a result of vehicle damage not caused by the driver’s risky behavior. As such, rates usually don’t increase for comprehensive claims, like flood damage to a car.

The risk factors most providers weigh are driving record, age, sex, number of miles driven per year, type of car, and more. Where you live is also an important factor. If you live in a flood- or hurricane-prone area, your insurance rates may be higher than they would somewhere else.

Adding Comprehensive Insurance

If you don’t already have comprehensive coverage to your car, you should consider adding it to your existing policy.

If your car gets damaged in a weather-related event, comprehensive insurance could save you money. Enter your ZIP code here to get a free quote. You’ll be able to talk with a knowledgeable insurance provider about your coverage options and how to get the best policy to fit your budget and needs.

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Enter your ZIP code below to compare cheap insurance rates.

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