Does auto insurance cover water leaks?

Your car insurance covers water leaks if you have a comprehensive coverage policy. If your vehicle suffers water leak damage, your car insurance may pay for repairs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If your car suffers water leaks after a heavy storm, your insurance company may pay for the repairs needed
  • You must carry comprehensive coverage or you can’t file a water damage insurance claim
  • Comprehensive coverage is optional and you must pay a higher rate for the physical damage coverage on your car
  • If the seals in your car are wearing down and the problem has gotten worse over time, it’s unlikely to be covered
  • If leaks aren’t repaired and your vehicle ends up rusting, your car may have to be totaled by the insurer

Your car might be built to withstand the sun, the wind, and everything the open highway might throw at it, but it’s not invincible.

While moderate levels of rain won’t do much harm to your vehicle, heavy storms can wreak havoc and cause water damage to your vehicle’s interior and mechanical components under the hood.

You never want to panic about whether or not you’ll have an operable car after a major storm. Luckily, there are auto insurance coverage options that can help to protect you when your car suddenly springs a leak and needs some major repairs.

Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool above to find the best rate for the insurance coverage you desire.

Before you assume that you have the protection for water leak damage that you need, here’s what you must know about restrictions on your car insurance:

When is damage to your vehicle covered?

Building an insurance policy full of all of the coverage that you’ll need is important. Not everyone needs a full coverage policy with the highest limits that are available but everyone needs to assess the options so that they select sufficient coverage options.

Just know that not all insurance policies are going to pay for damage to your vehicle regardless of the cause.

Damage to your car is only covered under your existing motor vehicle insurance when you’re carrying first-party physical damage coverage. Your declarations page will label physical damage coverage as comprehensive and collision.

They are two different coverage options that pay to either replace or repair your car after a covered loss. You can carry comprehensive without collision but you can’t carry collision without comprehensive.

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What type of physical damage coverage pays for water damage?

You file a collision claim when you have a wreck and your car is in need of repair. You file a comprehensive claim when you suffer another type of loss that’s not related to crashing your car.

Comprehensive is often called “other than collision” coverage. In addition to coverage for flooding, comprehensive will pay for damage caused by:

When are water leaks excluded from comprehensive coverage?

Not all types of water damage are covered. In fact, one of the most complicated types of property insurance claims that you can file is a claim for water damage.

The reason these claims are so complicated is because there are a lot of exclusions under personal auto policy contracts pertaining to property damage where water is involved.

If you fail to maintain your vehicle and keep it in good condition, the water leaks and any damage caused will be excluded. There is a wear and tear exclusion under every personal auto policy that is sold by U.S. insurers.

This exclusion says that damage caused over a period of time as the vehicle ages won’t be covered.

Slow leaks fall under the description of wear and tear. If there’s been rain over the last month and you’ve started to notice slow water leakage, this is a sign that it’s because of your car’s condition and not specifically because of the weather.

Another scenario where your car insurance might not cover water damage to your car is when something happens that wasn’t out of your control.

The best example of this is when you leave your windows rolled down or your hood up and a storm hits. Since it was your oversight, the damage sustained is unlikely to be covered.

What types of water leaks will be covered under car insurance?

There are plenty of scenarios where damage caused by a water leak is still going to be covered by your insurer as long as you have comprehensive coverage.

Here are some of the events that are often covered:

  • Leaks after a heavy storm when your vehicle was closed and all windows were sealed
  • Leaks that happen after a hailstorm breaks a window and causes a water leak
  • Water leaks that happen after your car leaks when there a large flood in your neighborhood

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What do you need to know about filing a water damage claim?

In some states, filing a water damage claim on your car insurance can create a lot of issues. There are states where insurance companies are obligated to deem cars with water damage or rust as a total loss regardless of how much it costs to repair.

If this scenario happens, you must be prepared to deal with a total loss claim even if the damage is minor.

How much do you have to pay when filing a claim?

If you believe that you need to file a claim for the damage after a storm, you should check first to see what type of deductible you’re holding under comprehensive coverage.

The deductible could be anywhere between $50 and $1000. If you have a high deductible, you could wind up having to cover all of the repairs yourself.

Claims can increase your rates but not when it is a comprehensive claim.

If you are worried about having to pay a higher premium because of the damage claim, you don’t have to worry. You won’t have to pay an inflated rate strictly because of the water leak.

It’s always nice to have coverage that you need when you need it. Damage repairs can add up when you need to air out your car and replace parts.

Price the cost of comprehensive coverage online. Get instant quotes from several companies and you’ll be able to make the best financial decision. Enter your zip code below to compare now!



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