Does Car Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

If your car has been damaged in a flood, you may have some recourse via auto insurance.
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Does auto insurance cover flooding?

 

Car insurance does cover flood damage — as long as you carry comprehensive coverage. This should be the case, no matter which auto insurance company you choose: GEICO, Allstate, Progressive, and others will provide coverage after a flood. The primary caveat here is that you need to hold comprehensive coverage before your vehicle sustains water damage.

Key Takeaways:

  • Flood coverage falls under comprehensive coverage - so if you only carry liability insurance, your vehicle would not be covered
  • Comprehensive coverage is usually paired with collision to cover you for things such as vandalism, hail, animal damage or lightning
  • Binding restrictions may keep you from obtaining additional coverage right before a storm hits
  • Floods often affect a significant number of people at a time, so filing a claim can be more extensive than it might be for another type of incident

What does comprehensive auto insurance cover?

Comprehensive insurance, usually paired with collision coverage, is an optional coverage designed to protect your vehicle. Unlike your liability coverage, which provides protection for damage you cause to other drivers and vehicles, comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from:
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Damage caused by animals
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Water and flood damage*
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*Flood protection falls within the "water and flood damage" category, which includes losses caused by hurricanes and flash floods.

Comprehensive coverage comes with a deductible, which is your financial responsibility after a claim. While deductible costs vary, they typically run $500-$1,000.


When can you add comprehensive coverage before a flood?

 

Many auto insurance companies enact “binding restrictions” as a major weather event approaches. If a storm is on its way, insurers restrict new lines of business — or changes to existing policies — in that geographic area. Insurance companies restrict policy-buying to limit their exposure to the costly claims payouts that can occur as a result of violent storms.

Binding restrictions may prevent you from adding comprehensive auto coverage prior to a storm, but if you carry comprehensive coverage before the restriction is enacted, you should be covered.

***Bear in mind, when a car insurance company lifts their binding restrictions will depend on them. Your best bet for adding coverage after a flood is to call your insurance company and ask them specifically when/if the binding restriction has been lifted.

Compare comprehensive coverage rates online today!

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How much does comprehensive coverage cost?

Because collision and comprehensive coverage correlate to the value of your vehicle, this is an impossible question to answer. The more valuable your vehicle, the more expensive it will be for your insurance company to replace it, resulting in a more costly premium. Below are estimates of the average cost of comprehensive coverage for popular vehicles.

The tables below shows the average rates for full coverage auto insurance, with both a $500 deductible and a $1,000 deductible.

money
Full Coverage with a $1,000 Deductible
Company Avg. Annual Premium
USAA $1,189
Nationwide $1,343
GEICO $1,348
State Farm $1,457
Farmers $1,616
Progressive $1,668
Allstate $2,118
Full Coverage with a $500 Deductible
Company Avg. Annual Premium
USAA $1,365
Nationwide $1,476
GEICO $1,542
State Farm $1,569
Farmers $1,786
Progressive $1,886
Allstate $2,413

We included collision and comprehensive because they tend to be grouped together. Carrying both collision and comprehensive coverage would double the annual premium for a 2012 Honda Accord. Given the price of this combination, consider carefully whether this coverage level is necessary.

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool data methodology

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool for home and auto insurance rates utilizes the latest ZIP code-level rate filings from across the U.S., sourced from Quadrant Information Services and S&P Global. These filings, typically updated annually or biennially by insurers, are verified through Quadrant’s QA process and then integrated into The Zebra’s estimator.

The displayed rates are based on a dynamic home and auto profile designed to reflect the content of the page. This profile is tailored to match specific factors such as age, location, and coverage level, which are adjusted based on the page content to show how these variables can impact premiums.

For a comprehensive understanding, see our detailed methodology.


Do you need comprehensive coverage?

 

Collision and comprehensive coverage are usually required if you’re leasing or financing a vehicle. This allows the leasing company or lien holder to protect their investment. If you own your vehicle outright, collision and comprehensive coverage are recommended if your car is worth more than $4,000. If you don't carry comprehensive and collision coverages, you won't receive a claim payout if your car is damaged or totaled.

When comprehensive coverage is a good idea:

  • If you have a loan on the vehicle
  • If you are leasing a vehicle
  • If you own a vehicle worth more than $4,000

Your location is another determinant of the need for comprehensive coverage. If you live in a coastal region or a flood-prone area, consider opting for comprehensive car insurance.

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How to file a car insurance claim after flooding

 

Flood claims can be significantly different than other auto insurance claims for two reasons.

  • A vehicle is commonly deemed a total loss after a flood.
  • Floods often impact a large number of an insurer's clients at once, leading to financial and logistical strain.

Be sure to check out our more in-depth guide to the claims process, but first remember to call your insurance company and take pictures of your vehicle (if applicable). An adjuster will contact you for further information, determine the value of the repairs, and send you a check for the resulting damage after you pay your deductible. While this process might take longer than you’d like, as long as you have your comprehensive coverage you should be able to recover a vehicle damaged by flooding.

If your location is not currently experiencing any binding restrictions, you can call your current provider and add this coverage to your existing policy. If you're in the market for a new quote with flood coverage added, enter your zip code below to see quotes from hundreds of national and local providers.


Use our claims calculator to determine whether you should file after a flood.


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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.