Does my car insurance cover water damage?

Comprehensive car insurance will cover water damage caused by floods, rain storms, hurricanes, and more. Unfortunately, auto insurance will not cover water damage caused by normal wear and tear, and this includes rust damage. We recommend filing water damage insurance claims as quickly as possible after a natural disaster or bout of bad weather to avoid any hiccups with your insurance company.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 27, 2020

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Things to know...

  • The type of car insurance that you have can determine if water damage is covered
  • Comprehensive car insurance covers water damage caused by floods, rain storms, hurricanes and similar incidents
  • Simple leaks caused by normal wear and tear are unlikely to be covered by auto insurance
  • File your claims quickly after water damage, especially in a large weather incident

Water damage to your vehicle can come in a variety of forms. Your car could flood due to storms or hurricanes, floods or other problems leading to damage to the car’s interior, exterior or even major engine components.

However, the type of coverage and protection that you have for water damage depends both on the type of damage but also the type of insurance that is covering your vehicle. There are a number of auto insurance choices available for you to choose between. The choices available to you can depend on whether you own your vehicle outright, lease your car or are paying off an auto loan and on the state laws where you live.

In general, drivers can choose between a few types of insurance coverage options that provide different amounts of coverage for water damage – from extensive protection to none at all.

Water damage, especially from floods, can be very damaging to your car, in some cases leading to a total write-off of your vehicle. Some forms of water damage can take place very quickly, leaving you with little ability or time to act in advance to prevent damage. Because the extent of your coverage depends on what type of auto insurance you have, making the right choices in car insurance can be very important to you.

Online comparison sites give you information and options to help you choose the right auto insurance. You can compare quotes online from an array of auto insurers to help you select the highest level of coverage and best premium value for you and your car.

The most basic type of auto insurance available on the consumer market, liability insurance, is mandated by state law. This insurance provides coverage for damages to other people in a car accident, including personal injuries and property damage. Usually, you can only choose this insurance for a car that you fully own.

On the other hand, collision insurance provides protection for your car when you suffer damages in a crash involving an object or another vehicle. While this kind of insurance could cover water damage caused as a result of an accident – for example, if your car was submerged in a body of water because it was pushed there in a crash – it would not provide coverage for weather incidents or other kinds of water damage.

What kind of auto insurance can I choose to cover water damage?


If the water damage to your car was caused by a flood, rainstorm, hurricane or another weather event, it is likely that the damages would be covered if you have comprehensive auto insurance. This coverage option, which you can choose when you select and purchase your policy, provides protection for your vehicle in the case of damages caused by events other than a car accident or crash.

A comprehensive policy option can cover damages caused by theft, vandalism, fire and falling objects, like tree branches or rocks, as well as weather events and natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, rain and hail storms, floods and other damaging events. Depending on the cause of your water damage, a comprehensive policy could provide coverage.

Speaking directly with your auto insurer can help you understand what precisely is covered in your policy.

Some policies also have advance restrictions that require you to have purchased the coverage a certain amount of time before filing a claim and receiving full protection.

You can shop online to compare comprehensive policy option choices on comparison websites. Comparing the different options offered by car insurers can help you to make the right choice for your vehicle and find the best value.

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What types of water damage are covered by car insurance?


There are a number of types of water damage covered by car insurance, so long as you have a comprehensive policy. Water damage caused by the flooding of a body of water, a flood in the area, rainstorms, hailstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural events are likely to be covered.

In addition to the major water damage caused by the entrance of water into the engine and other key components of your car in these types of incidents, comprehensive coverage would also protect you in the case of interior damage when rain infiltrates through closed windows.

Other types of water damage generally covered by your comprehensive policy include when a storm or vandalism breaks a window causing water to enter or other types of water damage suffered as a result of a natural disaster, weather event, vandalism, theft, fire or the other matters subject to protection.

What kinds of water damage does my car insurance not cover?

Some types of water damage may not be included as part of your car insurance, even under a comprehensive policy. Your policy could have exclusions related to water damages to your property, particularly if the damage did not occur as a result of a natural disaster, major storm, flood or similar event.

While this kind of comprehensive policy will provide coverage for most major damages caused by water, damage caused by water leaks that develop due to general wear and tear over time rather than in a specific incident may be excluded.

Slow water leakage during normal rains that took place due to the overall age and condition of your car would generally be not a matter for car insurance. Most auto insurance policies have an exclusion for typical wear and tear.

It’s also important to have your comprehensive policy in advance. For example, some insurers may not cover damages caused by a major storm when the coverage was purchased during the storm warning or watch immediately preceding the event. In general, insurers will not issue policies in this period of time for comprehensive coverage in affected areas. If you have your insurance in place in advance, this will not be a concern.

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How is water damage dealt with by your car insurance policy?

Most damages covered by your auto insurance policy also have a deductible. This deductible is the amount of money that you must pay before your insurance policy comes in to cover the remainder of the damages. You’ll need to pay the deductible first before receiving coverage for the rest of the damage.

There may be special conditions by your car insurer for your claim for water damage, especially if the damage was caused by a major storm.

An incident like this can affect a large number of vehicles in an area in a short period of time. In order to deal with the number of claims, your insurer may have guidelines to follow to make your claim and receive a settlement.

If your car has been severely damaged to the extent that it is undrivable or has major engine damage, it could be declared a total loss, or “totaled,” by your car insurance carrier. This is done when the cost of repairing the vehicle is higher than the value of the car itself. In this case, you will get a check for the value of your car assessed by the insurance company, with the deductible amount subtracted. Water damage and flooding problems can lead to severe damage and rust.

When choosing an auto insurance policy to meet your needs, it can be important to consider coverage for things like water damages as a result of inclement weather. You can use online tools to compare and choose a coverage option that protects your vehicle in case of floods, rain storms or other events.

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How should you file a claim for water damage with your car insurer?


You may be concerned about filing a claim and whether it is in your best interest. This could be related to the amount of the damage, the limits of your policy and the amount of your deductible in your comprehensive coverage. You will need to pay the deductible first, so it may not seem like it is worth it to file a claim for amounts below the deductible amount.

In addition, you may worry that filing a claim could lead to an increase in your insurance premium, even if your deductible is higher than the amount of your claim. In many states and among many car insurance companies, however, this type of claim is unlikely to have an impact on your premium.

Comprehensive claims are treated differently than collision claims as a result of a car accident.

They are not your fault and often take place as a result of large natural events. One of the most important things you can do is to document the damages to your car. Taking photographs of the water damage and the weather incident that caused it can be very helpful.

It can also be important to mitigate your damages, by rolling up your windows before a rainstorm and covering up broken windows to prevent future damages. However, be careful about starting a flooded car in order to prevent any further engine damage.

In some cases, it can help your vehicle to have it dried as soon as possible. This can help to prevent rusting and similar damages and stop it from becoming a total loss. When you work with your insurer’s preferred body shop, it can help you to make sure that all your damages will be covered, including some of the results of water damage that may not be immediately visible, including electrical, wiring, computer or engine issues.

Contact the insurer right away to get ready to file the claim, especially in a major weather incident in which many claims are likely to be filed. In hurricanes, large floods and other serious incidents, a lengthy backlog of auto claims may develop. Filing quickly can help move your claim to the front of the line for you to see results faster.

If you are concerned about future water damage to your vehicle, make sure you have the right coverage to protect you. You can compare prices by shopping online for car insurance and make sure you have comprehensive auto insurance. Choose between the options available to find the best value and choice for your car. Find the best type of coverage for you with our free insurance comparison tool below!

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