Norma from Dothan, AL asks – “Will my auto insurance cover water damage to my vehicle?”
When you pay for car insurance, you normally assume that your car is covered and that you don’t need to pay for anything else to keep it extra safe.
After all, running a car isn’t exactly cheap to begin with! No doubt you’ll already be paying for the cost of the car itself, for gas, for services, for registration fees, and for insurance… what else could you need to pay for?
Well, that all depends on how much you love your car…
And how much you spent on that car in the first place!
Because car insurance doesn’t necessarily protect you from damage to your vehicle. You need fully comprehensive, first party insurance if you’re going to avoid paying to restore your own vehicle following a crash and that costs extra. The legal requirement is only liability insurance – the ability to pay for others (though this depends somewhat on where you live).
And even if you have ‘fully comprehensive’ insurance, the question you have to ask is: just how fully comprehensive is that?
What About Floods?
For instance, if you leave your car in your garage and then there’s a massive flood… what do you do? Is that covered?
And how about a fire that engulfs your car?
You might at this point be thinking that you don’t need to worry about floods. But according to the stats you do. The National Flood Insurance Program claims that floods are the number one natural disaster in the US and that all 50 states have fallen victim to floods and flash floods in the last 5 years.
And it doesn’t take much water to cause damage. Only a few feet of water can cause a huge amount of damage to your home and it doesn’t need to get much higher to damage your car. If the water gets past the wheels, then it can start to play havoc with your electrical and computer systems or it can cause air brakes and brakes to malfunction. These are expensive issues to repair.
And actually, it only takes a relatively small amount of moisture in the air to cause rust – and when your car’s body rusts, this costs a lot of money to repair. It also hurts the resale value.
When buying a car in fact, it’s a good idea to check its history to ensure it hasn’t had any problems with water or rust in the past!
So now the question is: does comprehensive coverage cover you?
Well, in most cases it should help protect your car from flood damage.
This is particularly true if the title of the insurance option is ‘Comprehensive Fire and Flood’ or ‘Comprehensive Fire and Theft’ – sometimes this is an additional option above and beyond simply ‘comprehensive’.
The mistake though is to see this name on your insurance policy and to assume that you are covered. Instead, it’s very important to actually get in touch with the insurance provider, or to read through their policies, to make certain that you are indeed protected.
Another factor to consider is the ‘deductible’. A deductible is the amount of up-front cost you’re willing to pay before the insurance kicks in.
So if your deductible was $1 (it’s not), then you would pay hardly anything for damage and you could choose to claim for every tiny issue if you wanted (don’t).
On the other hand though, if your deductible was set at $1,000, then you would have to pay $1,000 of cost before the insurance company would settle the remainder of the balance.
Of course having a lower deductible is the savvy decision as it protects you against future expense. But on the other hand, the higher your deductible is, the cheaper the policy will be. It all depends on what you can afford and on your current cash flow.
All this means there are many more factors for you to consider when comparing car insurance providers. Make sure to enter as many details as possible when looking for quotes and to think about what might happen in the case of a fire, flood, theft or tornado.
The savvy money expert is ready for any eventuality and that’s especially important when it comes to auto insurance!