Last updated: 07/09/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
Car insurance and flood damage – am I covered?
Floods happen quickly and unexpectedly and can cause irreparable damage to your vehicle. It's important to know whether or not your car insurance policy covers flood damage in case you find yourself in this situation.
We take a look at what you can do if you have a flood-damaged car, what it means for your insurance and how you can protect yourself.
In This Guide:
- Does my insurance cover a flooded car?
- What does flood damage insurance cover me for?
- What are the risks of a flooded car?
- How to deal with a flooded car engine
- How can I avoid a flooded car?
Does my insurance cover a flooded car?
Whether you're insured against flood damage or not depends on what level of cover you have.
Generally, you'll need a fully comprehensive car insurance policy, and even then it's not guaranteed your claim will be successful.
That will depend on whether the flood damage was avoidable or not.
- Unavoidable flood damage refers to that caused by no fault of your own - a burst drain or excessive rain leading to flash flooding that soaks your parked car, for example.
- Avoidable flood damage, on the other hand, includes actively driving through water (even at a few inches deep your car's electrics and engine could be damaged) or against weather warnings. Essentially, it's knowingly putting your vehicle at risk.
Third party, and third party, fire and theft policies are unlikely to cover flood damage, but it sometimes can be included as an add-on to your policy.
If you live in a high-risk area it’s advised you look for comprehensive policies that include flood damage cover when you get an insurance quote for your automobile.
What does flood damage insurance cover me for?
If your insurance provider covers you for floods, this'll usually include damage to upholstery or stereos as well as any necessary repairs to the vehicle itself.
Your policy may also include contents cover if your personal possessions have been damaged, but if it doesn't, it's possible you already have contents cover as part of your home insurance, so do check.
What are the risks of a flooded car?
On the extreme end of the scale, moving flood waters could carry your vehicle away altogether.
But static water itself is also much riskier than you might think, and in actuality the average car will float in about as little as a foot of standing water.
That's not much leeway!
It's not just a flooded engine that's a danger (which we'll chat more on next). You're at risk of seriously harming the breaks and rusting the suspension – particularly hazardous if you're already in a wet weather warning.
Mould and rust can cause all manner of problems and repairing damaged electrics can be costly.
How to deal with a flooded car engine
The extent of damage to your engine will depend on how much water has seeped – or perhaps gushed – in. If it's only a little, then you may be lucky and it might dry out of its own accord. Try to air out the car's interior if it's safe to do so.
If you have a flooded car engine, then contact your local breakdown service who can assess the damage. You should also check your oil and air filters, because if there is water in them a mechanic can flush them clean for you.
You should also contact your insurance company as soon as you can. It's not a given your car will be a write-off: it may well be repairable. Although, if you're stuck in a flood, it's imperative turn off your engine and don't try to start it as doing so could permanently damage your car.
How can I avoid a flooded car?
- In the event a flood warning has been issued, listen to it. If you can, move your car to a higher spot where there's a lesser risk.
- Additionally, always avoid driving through water as your engine could choke out. If you absolutely must drive for an essential journey, then always do so at the highest point of the road and test your breaks immediately afterwards. Keep a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front and heed caution when following them through a flood.
In sum, avoid driving during a flood warning at all costs, for both your safety and to avoid invalidating your insurance.