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Car Insurance and Flood Damage – Am I covered?

Floods happen quickly and unexpectedly and can cause irreparable damage to your vehicle. It’s therefore vital to make sure you’ve got the level of car insurance cover you need before that happens.

We take a look at what you can do if you have a flooded car, what it means for your insurance and how you can protect yourself.

In This Guide:

Does my insurance cover a flooded car?

Whether you’re insured against flood damage or not depends on what level of car insurance cover you have. Generally, you’ll need a fully comprehensive policy, and even then it’s not guaranteed your claim will be successful. That’ll depend on whether the flood damage was avoidable or not.  

Unavoidable damage refers to that caused by no fault of your own: you’ve done everything you ordinarily do and the heavens just opened.  Avoidable damage, on the other hand, is 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. In the UK, flooding has got worse in recent years, so if you live in a high-risk area it’s advised you look for comprehensive policies that include flood damage when you run your car insurance comparison.

What does flood damage insurance cover me for?

If your provider insures 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, a moving flood 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 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?

Making a claim can make it harder to access cheap car insurance deals in the future, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. However, as we continue to see increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, there are a few things to know to protect your car to ensure your claim is successful.  

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.

Car Insurance Flood Damage Advice

Don’t wait for the extreme weather to come to you: check your policy now to see if you’re covered so you can know what to expect. If you’re unsure, call up your provider and ask them to explain exactly what the terms and conditions of your premium are.

While we all want cheap car insurance, understand what you’re specifically covered for. Sometimes there’s a reason the price is so low, and that reason is because you’re not actually insured against that much.  

If you only have a Third Party policy then you may want to consider comprehensive cover. You can compare car insurance providers with us in order to get a quote. Just to note, we recommend you do this if your premium is up for renewal too, as this ensures you’re getting the best car insurance deal on the market.

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