Does Car Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

Your car insurance covers flood damages under the comprehensive coverage portion of your policy.

Alani Asis
Written byAlani Asis
Alani Asis
Alani Asis
  • 3 years of content writing

  • Bylines with leading financial publications

Alani is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. She aims to make complex topics more approachable through fun, digestible content.

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Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

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Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin Halachev
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Konstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

Updated February 14, 2024

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Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States and result in costly damages to your vehicle.[1] Fortunately, most car insurance companies cover your vehicle’s repairs if it sustains damages from a flood event, but some limitations exist. Drivers who live in a flood zone should check their insurance policies to ensure they have enough car insurance coverage.

Comprehensive car insurance coverage and flood protection

Comprehensive car insurance pays for vehicle damages from non-collision-related incidents like theft, vandalism, hitting an animal, falling objects, and natural disasters. This coverage is usually part of a full-coverage policy, which also includes collision and liability insurance.

State laws don’t require comprehensive insurance, though lenders may require it for financed or leased vehicles. But if you drive more miles than average, drive a high-value vehicle, or are concerned about paying for costly car repairs, comprehensive coverage is worth it.

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How comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle in the event of a flood

A flood could cause mold spores, staining, odors, and other interior damage to your car. In severe cases, it could ruin your transmission, engine, and other mechanical or electrical systems.[2]

If your car was submerged in water, it likely needs repairs that exceed its actual cash value (ACV), which is its fair market value minus depreciation. Insurance companies usually declare severely flooded cars a total loss. If you have comprehensive insurance, your auto insurer should issue you a check for the vehicle’s ACV, minus your comprehensive deductible.

For Example

If your comprehensive claim amount is $10,000 and your comprehensive deductible is $1,000, you’ll receive $9,000 as part of your total loss insurance settlement.

Does standard car insurance cover flood damage?

State-minimum car insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. These policies typically only include liability coverage, which pays for other parties’ damages and injuries in an accident you cause. Full-coverage car insurance policies — which usually include comprehensive coverage — can cover flood damage, but some limitations exist.

Insurance companies won’t cover damages due to poor maintenance, like if poor sealing causes rainwater to leak into your car. It also won’t cover negligence if water entered your vehicle because you left your windows down or sunroof open, for example. Comprehensive insurance also excludes coverage for owner-installed parts, like a navigation or sound system.

Before a flood event, it’s important to know what your auto insurance policy covers. If you have liability but no comprehensive coverage, you may have to pay for any damages or losses out of pocket.

How Does Car Insurance Work?

How Does Car Insurance Work?

Limitations of liability and collision coverage for flood damage

Liability and collision insurance don’t cover flood damage to your vehicle.

Liability-only coverage only kicks in when you’re at fault in an accident. It pays for the other party’s medical bills and property damage, but not yours. Collision coverage pays for damages to your vehicle if you hit another car or an object.

Evaluating flood risk in your area

A high flood-risk area is classified as having a 1% chance of flooding per year, or a 1-in-4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).[3] 

Good to Know

You can use FEMA’s flood map to determine if your neighborhood is in a high-risk flood zone. Areas shaded blue and areas shaded striped red and blue are exposed to increased risk of flooding.

Effect of flood damage on car insurance premiums

Filing a claim for flood damage might result in higher premiums after policy renewal, as the elevated flood risk in your area increases the likelihood of future claims.

Even if a claim increases your rates, you can lower your costs by qualifying for discounts, improving your driving record, or choosing a higher deductible. An online quote-comparison tool can generate multiple quotes from various insurance companies to help you get the best deal on the coverage you need.

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How to file a car insurance claim after flood damage

After a flood event, it’s important to file your claim as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the longer it’ll take to process your claim and get your car repaired or replaced.

Here’s how to file a car insurance claim:

  1. Carefully inspect your vehicle. Once you can safely get to your car, survey your vehicle for any damages. To prevent further damage to your engine, don’t start your car, and request towing services to move it to higher ground if need be. Take photos or videos of the damages to send to your insurance company.

  2. Contact your insurance company. Use your insurer’s website, mobile app, or customer service phone number to start the claims process. Your insurer may ask you to provide details and documentation related to the incident. Take note of your claim numbers, adjuster information, and any other instructions provided.

  3. Wait for your claim payout or other instructions. A flood event may cause delays in your claim processing as other policyholders in your area may also file claims at the same time.

Other protection options for flood-prone regions

If you’re in a vulnerable flood area, the following coverages can boost your protection:

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/abffe6238f/financial-protection.svg

    Gap insurance

    If your leased or financed car is totaled in a flood, even if you have comprehensive coverage, you’re still on the hook for paying your auto loan. Gap insurance will cover the difference between your outstanding balance and the depreciated value of your car.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/24f1697280/car-key.svg

    Rental car reimbursement

    If a flood puts your car out of commission, rental car coverage pays for a rental car while your claim processes or your car is in the shop for repairs.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/73ee7a876e/repair.svg

    Modified car insurance

    If your car has aftermarket parts, modified car coverage will pay for losses and damages to those customizations, up to a certain limit.

If you’re a homeowner in a flood-prone region, it’s important to have a flood insurance policy to protect your dwelling and personal belongings. Start by contacting your home insurance company to see if it offers private flood insurance or if it’s a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) company.

Car insurance and flood damage FAQs

Read Insurify’s guide on how much car insurance you need, and check out the answers to questions about flooding and auto coverage below.

  • Does a car warranty cover water damage?

    No. Car warranties cover repairs and replacement due to manufacturer defects. A warranty won’t pay for vehicle repairs from water damage or flooding.

  • Are flood-damaged cars OK to drive?

    It’s not recommended. If you have a flood-damaged car, avoid driving or turning on your engines to prevent further damage. Instead, leave your car to dry and call your insurance company to request a tow to have your vehicle assessed.

  • What types of car insurance coverage include damages from a flood?

    Comprehensive insurance — usually part of a full-coverage policy — covers flood damage. It also pays for damages from theft, vandalism, falling objects, hitting an animal, and other weather-related events.

  • What if rain leaks into your car and causes damage?

    Your car insurance company typically won’t cover leaks if poor maintenance or negligence causes it. On the other hand, if heavy rain damages your vehicle and water gets in, your insurance policy’s comprehensive coverage should pay for any damages or losses.

Sources

  1. Ready.gov. "Floods."
  2. III. "Flood cars: How to avoid purchasing a washed-up vehicle."
  3. FEMA. "Flood Maps."
Alani Asis
Alani Asis

Alani Asis is a personal finance freelance writer with nearly three years of experience in content creation. She has landed bylines with leading publications and brands like Insider, Fortune, LendingTree, and more. Alani aims to make personal finance approachable through fun, relatable, and digestible content.

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

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Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

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