Does Auto Insurance Cover Flood Damage after A Disaster?

Neither basic auto insurance nor flood insurance for your home will pay for your flood-damaged car. Purchase comprehensive auto coverage to protect your vehicle from floods and other natural disasters. If you need to file a car flood damage insurance claim, make sure to take plenty of photos of your car's exterior and interior — as long as it's safe to do so.

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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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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Nov 28, 2021

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Overview

  • 90% of all natural disasters that occur in the United States involve flooding
  • Neither basic auto insurance nor flood insurance will protect your vehicle in the event of a flood
  • To protect your vehicle from floods (and other natural disasters), purchase comprehensive auto insurance
  • Before filing a claim for flood damage to your vehicle, make sure to take plenty of photos of your car’s exterior and interior

Floods happen. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, 90% of all natural disasters that occur in the United States involve flooding of some kind. One of the most basic but important things drivers want to know is simple: does auto insurance cover flood damage?

While purchasing flood insurance will protect your home, to cover flood-damaged cars, you’ll want to have more than basic auto insurance. With this guide, we’ll show you how to buy auto insurance that covers floods as well as how to file a water damage claim when needed.

Once we’ve answered your questions about auto insurance that covers floods, enter your ZIP code in our free online tool to compare rates and find the best option for you.

How much coverage do auto insurance companies have to offer for flooding?

Most auto insurance companies can cover flood damage, but you need the right type of policy. Auto liability insurance — the kind that covers damage you cause to other vehicles and is required by most states — will not protect you from floods. Neither will auto collision insurance. Does car insurance cover flood damage? The answer is more complicated in some ways than you might think.

Comprehensive auto insurance coverage is the type of insurance you’ll want to protect your vehicle from flooding and water damage.

Since insurers don’t provide specific car flood insurance, comprehensive insurance policies tend to cover much more than water damage.

Comprehensive coverage tends to cover the following:

  • Natural disasters (such as floods)
  • Fire
  • Animals (as in a collision involving a deer or damage from rodents)
  • Theft (not including any items left in the vehicle when it’s stolen)
  • Vandalism
  • Falling objects (rocks, paint cans, and grand pianos included)
  • Windshield replacement

Where can I buy comprehensive auto insurance that covers flood damage?

Protection from floods and other natural disasters is a standard feature of comprehensive auto insurance policies, so finding auto flood insurance is as simple as finding a comprehensive auto insurance policy.

Fortunately, all major auto insurers offer comprehensive coverage. If you’re happy with your current auto insurance plan, you can contact your insurer directly to discuss adding comprehensive coverage.

If you’re looking for a new auto insurance policy, we recommend comparing multiple auto insurance companies before making a decision.

Going by market share, State Farm, Progressive, and GEICO are the top insurance companies, so you may find it helpful to start by comparing these options.

What other forms of coverage are good to have in the event of a flood?

In addition to comprehensive auto coverage that covers flood damage, you may benefit from paying for roadside assistance and rental reimbursement coverage as well.

Roadside assistance coverage pays for a tow truck to move your car out of a flooded area or to a repair shop if water damage has rendered it inoperable.

Rental reimbursement coverage will provide you with a rental vehicle to use and/or pay for public transportation expenses while your car is in the shop or you look for a replacement vehicle.

Contact your insurance company to see if your policy covers roadside assistance and rental reimbursement.

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How do I submit a car flood damage insurance claim?

If you need to submit an insurance claim for damage to your vehicle caused by flooding, make sure to take plenty of pictures (and even videos if possible) of the exterior and interior of your vehicle.

By doing so, you make the claim process easier and help ensure that you’ll receive a reasonable payout from your insurer.

Once you’ve documented the water damage to your vehicle, contact an insurance professional right away — in the event of a large disaster, it’s likely that many others will be trying to contact your insurer as well.

Keep in mind that some insurance companies have mobile apps you can use to file a water damage car insurance claim and upload photos of your vehicle to expedite this process.

How much does insurance pay for water damage? That will depend on the extent of the damage, the nature of the claim, and your policy.

What happens if flooding damages my car beyond repair?

One might ask, does car insurance cover water damage from rain? Unfortunately, even a small rain leak can cause mold, seat damage, and electrical issues. It depends on the situation and how it happened. What about bigger floods? Does car insurance cover flooding damage that totals your car?

If flooding damages your car to the point where repairing it would be more expensive than replacing it, it’s likely that your insurance company will instead pay you the cash value of the vehicle.

In cases like these, after you’ve filed an auto insurance claim for water damage, your insurer will have a claims adjuster contact you to determine how much your insurance will pay for water damage.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, your insurer will expect you to get one or more estimates from a mechanic or car dealer, so don’t hesitate to compare the adjuster’s estimate with other recommended payouts.

Remember that the exact value of your vehicle is negotiable provided you have the records to support any points you make.

If you can offer proof that any parts or features of your vehicle would make it worth more than a standard car of the same make and model, be sure to discuss this with the adjuster.

What to Consider When Comparing Auto Insurance Companies that Cover Floods

If you’re looking for affordable auto insurance that will pay to repair flood damaged cars, we recommend taking the following into consideration when comparing options:

  • Does the cost of this insurance company seem reasonable given the risk of flooding or other non-collision damage to my particular vehicle?
  • Does this company’s customer service record give me confidence that they’ll take care of my claim painlessly in the event of a large-scale natural disaster?
  • Does this insurer also offer roadside assistance and rental reimbursement coverage to make it easier for me to travel while my vehicle is being repaired/replaced?

Before you buy auto insurance that covers flooding, try our free online tool to compare quotes from companies that offer flood insurance for cars.

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Enter your ZIP code below to compare cheap insurance rates.

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