Does Car Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

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

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.


Car insurance and flooding
  1. What is comprehensive coverage?
  2. When can you add comprehensive coverage before a flood?
  3. How much does comprehensive coverage cost?
  4. Do you need comprehensive coverage to cover water damage?
  5. How to file an auto insurance claim after a flood
  6. Additional resources and methodology



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*

*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.


Compare comprehensive coverage rates online today!


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.


Coverage Level Average Annual Premium
Liability-Only $672
$500 Deductible $1,427
$1,000 Deductible $1,268

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.




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.




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.

While a more in-depth claims process can be found here, 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 get see quotes from hundreds of national and local providers.


Find a policy today!



Additional resources and methodology


If you’re looking for additional resources regarding car insurance and floods, see our related articles below:


Methodology


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.