If your car has been damaged in a flood, you may have some recourse via auto insurance.
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.
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:
*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.
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 flood is to call your insurance company and ask them specifically when/if the binding restriction has been lifted.
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.
|Coverage Level||Average Annual Premium|
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.
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:
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.
Flood claims can be significantly different than other auto insurance claims for two reasons.
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.
If you’re looking for additional resources regarding car insurance and floods, see our related articles below:
Between September and December 2017, The Zebra conducted comprehensive auto insurance pricing analysis using its proprietary quote engine, comprising data from insurance rating platforms and public rate filings. The Zebra examined nearly 53 million rates to explore trends for specific auto insurance rating factors across all United States zip codes, averaged by state, including Washington, DC.
Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver: a 30-year-old single male driving a 2013 Honda Accord EX with a good driving history and coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident with a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision. For coverage level data, optional coverage (that must be rejected in writing) is included where applicable, including uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection.
National property and casualty losses information is from the Insurance Information Institute and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters report.
For vehicle make and model data, analysis referenced the most popular vehicles in the U.S. by 2016 year-end sales according to Goodcarbadcar.net’s automakers’ data.
Finally, some rate data may vary slightly throughout report based on rounding.