Will Car Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Last Updated on October 21, 2020
You buy car insurance to protect your car against damage. But does car insurance cover water damage? Or do you need to pay for water damage repairs out of pocket?
Typically, car insurance only covers water damage if you have comprehensive coverage. However, depending on the situation, you could make a claim under different coverages.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about car insurance and water damage, including how car insurance covers water damage.
Comprehensive Coverage Covers Water Damage
Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your vehicle that occurs outside of an accident. It covers theft and vandalism, for example. It also covers hail damage, water damage, fallen tree branches, and other environmental damages.
Comprehensive coverage could cover water damage in several ways:
Natural Disasters, Floods, and Hurricanes: If a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster damaged your vehicle, then comprehensive coverage should cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. These are unexpected and unpredictable events, and insurance is designed to cover the damage caused by these events.
Water Entering your Vehicle After Damage: Let’s say a tree branch falls on your sunroof during a storm, shattering and breaking the window. Then, rain enters your vehicle, causing water damage throughout the interior. If you have comprehensive coverage, then it should cover this water damage.
Vehicle Loss Due to Water Damage: In a severe flood, your vehicle could wash away and disappear. Or, a flood could totally destroy your vehicle or create a total loss situation. In this situation, comprehensive coverage should cover the cost of replacing your vehicle.
Other Water Damage: If the water damage occurred during a covered event, then you should be covered. Remember: insurance covers unexpected events and damages (like a hurricane or local flooding). It does not cover wear and tear, maintenance issues, or negligence (like deliberately leaving your sunroof open during a rainstorm).
Do I Have Comprehensive Coverage?
If you have comprehensive coverage, then your insurance policy should cover water damage caused by unexpected events.
All full coverage car insurance policies include comprehensive coverage. If you only have basic liability coverage, however, then you do not have comprehensive coverage and will not be able to make a claim for water damage to your vehicle. Basic liability insurance only covers damage to other people and their property – not your own vehicle.
The basic types of car insurance include:
Liability Coverage (Required): Most states require bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. These coverages protect other drivers from damages you inflict. It covers the medical bills of a driver you injure in an at-fault accident, for example, or the cost of repairing a fence you drove through. If you only have the bare minimum car insurance required in your state, then you have liability coverage.
Collision Coverage (Optional): Collision coverage is optional in every state. It covers the cost of repairing your own vehicle after an accident. If you collided with another vehicle and have $5,000 of damage, then you can make a claim through your collision coverage to cover that damage.
Comprehensive Coverage (Optional): Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your vehicle that occurs outside of accidents. It covers theft, vandalism, environmental damage, water damage, fire damage, and other types of damage.
If you are leasing or financing a vehicle, then collision and comprehensive coverage are not optional. Your lender requires these coverages to protect the collateral of the loan. Any leased or financed vehicle must have full coverage car insurance.
Types of Water Damage Not Covered by Car Insurance
Car insurance should cover water damage caused by unexpected events – like a hurricane or flood. It will not, however, cover certain types of water damage.
Deliberate Actions: You cannot park your car outside in a rainstorm and leave the windows down, then make a claim for water damage. This is deliberate damage to your vehicle, and your insurer will deny your claim.
Maintenance Issues: If you failed to maintain your vehicle, leading to water damage, then you may not be able to make a claim for car insurance. If there’s a hole in your vehicle that you left unrepaired, for example, and water entered this hole and damaged your vehicle, then your insurer could deny your claim.
Wear and Tear: Wear and tear are expected parts of owning a vehicle. They’re not unexpected expenses. If your water damage was related to wear and tear, then your insurer could deny your claim.
Does Car Insurance Cover Rain Damage?
Generally, cars are designed to protect against ordinary rain. You should be able to park your car outside during a rainstorm and experience no water damage whatsoever.
However, it’s possible a severe rainstorm could damage your vehicle. In this situation, comprehensive coverage could cover rain damage.
If a tree falls on your vehicle and leaves a hole in it, and rain damages the interior of your vehicle through this hole, then insurance could cover this rain damage.
However, car insurance will not cover rain damage caused by preventable things – like a leak in your sunroof, faulty sealing around windows and doors, or accidentally leaving a window open. In these situations, you may need to pay for water damage repairs out of pocket.
How Car Insurance Covers Water Damage to the Engine
When water damages your engine, it can lead to a tricky insurance claim.
Generally, insurance should cover this damage if it was caused by an unexpected event – like a flood or hurricane. Insurance covers hazards that are outside of your control.
However, insurance does not cover deliberate damage or negligence. If you drove through a flooded road or drove through a puddle and caused your engine to hydrolock, then you may need to pay for repairs out of pocket. You were negligent with your vehicle, and your negligence led to water damage.
Final Word on Car Insurance and Water Damage
Car insurance covers unexpected events, which is why car insurance covers water damage in many situations. Car insurance can cover hurricane damage, flood damage, and certain rain damage, for example.
However, car insurance does not cover all types of water damage. It does not cover deliberate damage to your vehicle, nor does it cover damage related to wear and tear or maintenance issues. Or, if your engine hydrolocks because you drove through a flooded road, then you may need to pay for repairs out of pocket.
Insurance only covers water damage if you have comprehensive coverage, which is optional in every state.