Does my car insurance company cover flood insurance?

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Floods are extremely common occurrences and it seems as though they are more so as our climate warms
  • Most people realize that flood damage to their home or business must be purchased separately from other insurance through the FloodSmart program
  • Comprehensive coverage pays if your car is damaged in a way that does not involve a collision

It seems as though the news for the last few months has featured photos of automobiles drifting down a street in the strong grip of a flood current.

These are varied by photos of parking lots covered with water, cars inundated in the parking spaces, with water rising toward the door handles. Floods are extremely common occurrences and it seems as though they are more so as our climate warms.

Most people realize that flood damage to their home or business must be purchased separately from other insurance through the FloodSmart program offered by the Federal government.

Where do you get flood insurance for your car? Cars have become a highly valued asset monetarily as well as for the transportation they provide to work, medical help, food, and a number of other things, so it is reasonable to want to insure them against common perils.

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Where Can You Purchase Flood Insurance for Cars?

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The answer is that cars are easily insured against flood damage if you purchase Comprehensive coverage to protect your vehicle. To understand this answer, you need to know about the types of coverage available on an automobile insurance policy.

Auto policies provide coverage for your legal liability for damage to others and their property, but they can also protect your vehicle from some of the vagaries of life.

Typical coverage available under the standard automobile policy is as follows:

  • Bodily Injury Liability pays your liability if you cause an accident involving injury to others. Recommended amounts of coverage are $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Liability pays if you cause an accident causing property damage to others’ property. Financial advisors recommend at least $50,000 to protect you
  • Collision Coverage pays for damage to your vehicle if you run into another object. The object can be anything, another car, a bridge abutment, a house, or other objects. If you have a loan on your vehicle, the lender will request that you purchase this insurance. You choose the deductible, which applies before the insurance covers the vehicle
  • Comprehensive Coverage pays if your car is damaged in a way that does not involve a collision. Risks covered under the standard auto policy are theft, hail, fire, flood, earthquake, explosion, falling objects, vandalism, and involvements with animals
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage provides medical and emergency expenses if a person with no insurance or little insurance causes an accident. The limits are usually the same as the amount of coverage you purchase for Bodily Injury Liability
  • Medical payments coverage acts as primary insurance if you or your family is involved in an auto accident. Laws about this coverage vary from state to state, so consult your agent about the necessity for this coverage

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Comprehensive Coverage Provides Flood Insurance on Your Car

If you purchase comprehensive coverage on your automobile, you do have flood coverage.

Ordinarily, insurance companies require that you purchase both comprehensive and collision on your automobile to prevent nit-picking about claims for your car.

You must purchase comprehensive and collision coverage before the incident occurs.

Unfortunately, it does not work to call your insurance agent the day of the flood and request that you purchase comprehensive coverage.

Suggestions about What to Do if Your Car is involved in a Flood

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The first suggestion and one that makes the most difference is to evacuate the car and get to higher ground where you are safe. Do not risk injury or death to save your car.

After the water has subsided, do the following:

  • Call the claim in immediately. Agencies and companies are dealing with a great many claims at the same time and you are more likely to be ahead on the list if you report the claim immediately
  • Get the vehicle dried out as soon as possible. The sooner your vehicle is dried out, the less likely that it will be a total loss
  • Use your insurance company’s preferred body shop for the drying out process. A large portion of flood damage shows up later in wiring, electrical connections, and engine compartments. Using the company’s preferred body shop will help get the repairs guaranteed. Be sure to ask the company about a list of preferred body shops and ascertain if the repairs will be guaranteed

Precautions to Take to Help Adjust Your Claim

There are some actions to take if your vehicle is damaged in a flood and you can perform them safely:

  • Take photos of the car, especially if it is submerged. Try to catch the license plate in one of the photos. Keep these for the adjuster.
  • Try to prevent the damage from getting worse. If windows are broken, tape cardboard or plastic over them. Keep receipts.
  • Do not try to start the car if it has been flooded because this can increase the damage.
  • Be aware that, if water entered the engine compartment or interior of the car, you need to get the vehicle dry as soon as possible.

Be aware that, without comprehensive coverage, flood damage to your car is not covered.

When asking for quotations, as you should do about a month before your next policy period, compare prices for coverage and purchase comprehensive and collision coverage if you want to have your vehicle covered for any unexpected damages.

If you shop carefully and adjust your deductible, this coverage may be worth purchasing. At least you will know that you have made a rational decision about your insurance protection.

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