Is flood damage included within my car insurance policy?
If your car has been damaged by flooding or worse ruined, you’re perhaps wondering whether or not your car insurance covers the cost of repairs or replacements.
Auto car insurance does cover flood damage as long as you’ve selected the comprehensive coverage policy. Purchasing this package is the only way to get your vehicle insurance company to pay the repairs or a total loss as a result of flood damage.
Whilst comprehensive car insurance isn’t necessarily required for every road user, we would recommend it for those who live in particularly high-risk flood zones. This is especially true for those who live in states such as Florida or Texas.
This article will discuss comprehensive car insurance in more detail, deductions, and restrictions. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Comprehensive car insurance
Comprehensive car insurance is not automatically included in most auto insurance policies. It is also not part of the minimum coverage options provided in any state across America. Unlike traditional car insurance (non-comprehensive), comprehensive car insurance covers your vehicle if it is stolen, if the car is flooded or damaged by floodwater, or if a tree falls onto it.
Essentially, comprehensive car insurance covers you from costs and damage that happen not as a result of a road accident with another vehicle. If you’re financing your car, you likely already have both comprehensive and regular insurance, as this acts as collateral against your loan.
The majority of comprehensive car insurance policies come with a deductible. This deductible is simply the amount you spend/are responsible for if the damage occurs. For example, if your car was damaged by flooding, this would be the deductible amount you would end up paying. The deductible amount is determined when the vehicle was added to the car insurance policy, the higher the deductible price, the lower your insurance policy. This is because you are covering part of the damage yourself and is not solely the responsibility of the insurance provider.
Comprehensive car insurance restrictions
If you don’t currently have comprehensive insurance and a hurricane is on its way, you’re in for some glum news: generally, insurance companies restrict the purchase of comprehensive insurance during storms or in light of a hurricane.
Insurance companies can also freeze coverage before storm damage when reported by the national hurricane center.
This restriction is in place to prevent fraudulent claims for road users who want to pay for the coverage to protect themselves against a hurricane instead of having it year-round, just in case. Likewise, comprehensive coverage claims cannot be made against your vehicle until the damage has occurred and the danger has passed.
What should you do once the storm has passed or the damage has happened?
Once the storm has passed or the damage has happened (e.g. flooding, fallen tree, the car has been stolen) then it’s time to report the damage to your insurance provider. We recommend contacting your insurance company as quickly as possible, the sooner the better. This is because if there is hurricane or flooding damage, many other road users will also be filing claims - you want to be first in line for your claim to be processed.
Once on the phone and your claim has been registered, be sure to ask the claim representative what you should do next. Also, do not attempt to start the vehicle, especially if it has sustained significant water damage. This can be extremely dangerous, may further damage the car, and may even result in an electric shock if the electrics are damaged and indulged in water.
To speed up your claims process, ask the insurance provider what body shop they prefer. Using their preferred body shop speeds up the process and in some cases, the work may not require a claims adjuster once the damage has been assessed. Likewise, the insurance companies preferred shop can likely handle the claim process - whilst you can go private or use other body shops, the claims process will likely be slower, so expect to be put out of pocket for a while.
If you rent a car, you should check the policy for rental car coverage. Some policies will provide you with a rental car whilst your car is being repaired, or in some cases, if the damage is significant and unavoidable, an entirely new vehicle.
If you have any trouble with the vehicle, the claims process, or are unsure as to what’s included in your insurance policy and what isn’t, it’s always best to contact your insurance provider first.