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Flooding is one of the most common natural disasters in the United States. Almost all auto insurance companies cover flood damage, as long as you have purchased the necessary coverage before the damage occurs.
Your car is protected from flood damage under the comprehensive coverage portion of your policy. Flooding can cause serious damage to your vehicle, so comprehensive insurance can be a smart purchase to ensure you’re protected, especially if you live in a high-risk area for flooding.
What does comprehensive insurance cover?
Comprehensive coverage isn’t required by law in any state, so it’s up to each policyholder to decide whether they want this coverage. If you finance or lease your vehicle, you may be required by your lender to have this coverage.
While often paired with collision coverage, comprehensive coverage has a separate cost from collision insurance. Purchasing comprehensive insurance will result in higher rates.
Comprehensive coverage is for damages that occur from something other than a car accident. For example, if your vehicle is stolen, if a tree falls on it, or if it gets flooded, the comprehensive portion of your car insurance policy is what covers you. Note that your comprehensive coverage only covers the structure to the car, usually not any items you keep inside of it (a homeowners or renters insurance policy may cover these items).
Additionally, comprehensive coverage won’t cover you from all potential water damage to your car. If your car flooded because you left the windows or sunroof open during a storm, then you most likely aren't eligible for reimbursement from your insurance carrier.
What to do if I don’t have comprehensive coverage?
Comprehensive coverage is not automatically part of an auto insurance policy. Unfortunately, if your car is flooded when you don’t have comprehensive coverage, there’s not much you can do.
It's important to know that if you don't have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, you'll most likely be responsible for the price of repairs your car needs due to the flood damage.
How much does comprehensive coverage cost?
Comprehensive insurance adds an additional $153, on average, to car insurance rates, according to data on the Insurance Information Institute. The cost of comprehensive coverage will depend on a number of factors, such as where you live and the type of car you have.
This coverage also comes with a deductible, the amount of money you’re responsible for paying at the time of a claim before your insurance company covers the remaining costs. Common deductible amounts are $250, $500 and $1,000.
In the event flooding damaged your car and caused $3,000 worth of damage and you had comprehensive coverage with a $500 deductible, you’d be responsible for paying your car insurance company the first $500 and then they pay the remaining $2,500 for the claim.
Should I purchase comprehensive insurance?
If you’re not required to buy comprehensive insurance by a lender, it’s ultimately up to you whether you buy coverage. Though it will raise your premium, it could certainly be worthwhile to have coverage for not only flooding but other potential damage such as from hail, a fallen tree or vandalism. Plus, it covers you from theft and if you hit an animal on the road, such as a deer.
If your car is under 10 years old and worth more than $3,000, it would be smart to obtain a comprehensive coverage policy because it’s easier to pay for that on your monthly insurance bill than compared to fronting the price for a new car because a flood has totaled the old one.
Gap insurance is optional as well, but if you lease a car or recently purchased a new car, it helps cover the “gap” between the amount of money you owe on the car and the actual cash value of the car if it were damaged, such as a flood. The cars actual cash value is what it was worth at the time of the claim, not the original purchasing price.
Flood damage protection
If you live in a potential flood area you should consider purchasing comprehensive insurance on your auto policy. You don’t want to be caught in a situation where your car is flooded and you don’t have coverage.
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