Water damage can ruin the interior of your vehicle, as well as its mechanical and electrical components. It is only covered if you have comprehensive coverage, which is available as an add-on policy. Even with comprehensive coverage, it may only cover certain situations that lead to water damage. Certain situations can increase your risk, making it important to determine if you need water coverage.
Does Car Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Whether or not your car insurance covers water damage will depend on your insurance plan. This may vary, and it is possible that the comprehensive package may not be included in yours. These are the types of insurance coverage available:
- Liability insurance
- Comprehensive coverage
- Collision coverage
- Gap insurance
It is always a good idea to consider what types, and levels, of coverage you need before you are subject to something like water damage. Water damage can significantly reduce the value of your vehicle, leading to expensive repairs and in some cases, even fully stopping your vehicle from functioning. While comprehensive coverage may cost more, it could end up saving you a lot if your vehicle experiences water damage.
What Does Comprehensive Coverage Include?
Comprehensive coverage is a type of full coverage insurance that is usually purchased as an add-on. It is usually combined with collision coverage and protects your vehicle from non-accident things like:
- Animal damage
- Water and flood damage
It is important to note that while comprehensive coverage does cover damages not related to a car accident, like water and flood damages, this only applies to things out of your control.
If the water damages are caused by a hurricane or natural flooding, comprehensive coverage will usually cover it. According to Pathways by Amica, however, if the flooding is due to human error, then they may not cover it. Additionally, comprehensive coverage only covers vehicle damages, not any accessories or personal belonging inside of the vehicle.
When to Buy Comprehensive Coverage
Comprehensive coverage costs more than a basic liability insurance policy. It is important to consider the value of your vehicle, as well as how much it will cost to repair and replace, when deciding if you need it. You might need comprehensive coverage if any of the following apply to you:
- You have an auto loan: If you have an auto loan, there are many reasons to consider comprehensive coverage. For one, it may be a requirement from your lender. Additionally, if the vehicle is damaged and you don’t have sufficient coverage to repair or replace it, you could be left making loan payments without having a car.
- You have a lease: If you have a lease, you may also be required to carry comprehensive insurance coverage. Also, without sufficient coverage, you may be required to make payments, even if your vehicle is totaled.
- Your vehicle is worth more: Always consider how much your vehicle will cost to repair or replace when deciding if you need comprehensive coverage. According to Cover.com, you should consider comprehensive coverage if your vehicle is valued at $4,000 or more.
- Your location: Your location and level of risk for flooding or water damage can also help you decide if you need water coverage.
Some drivers may wonder if they can add on comprehensive coverage when a potential flood or hurricane is predicted. Most insurance companies have binding restrictions built into the policy. If a severe storm is predicted, they will not usually allow any changes to existing policies. This may prevent you from adding on comprehensive coverage at certain times. As long as you have comprehensive coverage before the storm, however, you should be covered for any water damages that occur.
How to Access Water Coverage
If you have comprehensive coverage and your vehicle is damaged from water damage, you will need to file a claim. You can access your benefits with the following steps:
- Evaluate the damages: Once the flood water recedes and it is safe to do so, evaluate the damages on your vehicle. This can help you decide if you need to file a claim or not. If possible, take note of the highest level of water exposure and dry your vehicle. It can also be helpful to take photographs of the damages and avoid starting the vehicle for safety.
- Notify your insurance company: You’ll want to notify your insurance company of the flood damages as soon as possible. They will schedule an appraiser and may request a tow to the nearest shop.
- Wait for further directions: The insurance company will decide if repairs can be made, and how much it will cost. If it exceeds the value of your car, then they will likely write it off.
- Pay your insurance deductible: If the insurance company determines that your water damage is covered under your policy, then you will need to pay your deductible to access further compensation.
Keep in mind, if the water damage is due to weather, it is likely that many other people in your area are also filing claims. This can slow down the process, meaning it may take some time until you receive compensation.
What Is a Total Loss and When Does it Occur With Water Damage?
If you have comprehensive coverage and the water damages and cost to repair is higher than the value of your car, your insurance company may consider it a total loss. A total loss occurs when the insurance company decides to replace your vehicle or provide you with compensation equal to its value. If the water gets high enough, it can flood the engine, usually making it difficult, if not impossible, to repair.
The insurance company is likely to write this off. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to write off a vehicle following a flood. You can usually shop around to find the best rates for comprehensive coverage.
Some types of car insurance, specifically comprehensive coverage, cover water damages. If you live in an area prone to flooding, or you drive a vehicle with a loan, you should consider full coverage.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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