Does car insurance cover water damage?

Car insurance covers water damage from rain, floods, and storms, but only if you have a policy with comprehensive coverage.

Kara McGinleyAndrew Hurst

By

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

&Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Updated|4 min read

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Your policy’s comprehensive insurance covers your car from different types of water damage, including from flooding, a rainstorm, or hailstorm. Your auto insurance will even protect you if water damage completely totals your car.

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You need comprehensive coverage to be protected from water damage, but there are also a few cases where your car insurance still wouldn’t cover you. If you forgot to roll up your windows before a rainstorm or didn’t fix a leak and your car was damaged, your insurance wouldn’t cover it.

Key takeaways

  • Your car insurance covers water damage from flooding, rain, storms, hail, and more, but only if you have comprehensive coverage.

  • Comprehensive coverage doesn’t cover damages caused by poor maintenance or negligence, like if you left your windows down during a rainstorm.

  • Your comprehensive insurance would also cover your car if its engine was damaged by water and declared total loss.

  • Without comprehensive coverage you’ll have to pay for the cost to repair your car’s water damage yourself.

When does car insurance cover water damage?

Car insurance covers water damage as long as you have comprehensive coverage. Water damage from flooding, rain, storms, and even from hail is covered by comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage also covers water damage caused by a hurricane.

However, car insurance doesn’t cover water damage to the things inside of a car. For example, if your removable sound system or GPS navigation system is damaged during a storm, your insurance company wouldn’t replace it.

After water damages your car, you’ll file an insurance claim for the repairs. If your car is seriously damaged by flooding and is declared a total loss, your insurance would still cover the water damage.

Without comprehensive insurance, your policy wouldn’t cover water damage. Nearly every state requires drivers to carry some form of liability coverage, but a policy’s liability protection doesn’t cover water damage at all. Comprehensive insurance, on the other hand, isn’t required by any state.

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Does car insurance cover water damage from rain?

Comprehensive coverage will cover most cases of rain damage, unless the damage was a result of your own actions or negligence.

For example, car insurance wouldn’t cover rain damage if you left your windows down before a storm and water damaged your vehicle’s interior. Your car insurance also wouldn’t cover water damage that happened over time because you didn’t properly maintain your vehicle.

→ Read more about what your auto insurance does and doesn’t cover

Will insurance cover the damage from driving through water?

Yes, your insurance covers the damage that happens when you drive through water after a storm. Your policy’s comprehensive coverage will protect your vehicle from damage, including rust and mold that comes from driving through a flooded road.

Does car insurance cover flooding?

Your comprehensive insurance does cover cars that are damaged in a flood. As with water damage from rain, your car’s auto insurance covers flooding damage whether it’s caused by a strong rainstorm or a hurricane.

Unlike your homeowners or renters insurance, you don’t need a separate flood insurance policy to protect your car from flood damage. You just need to have comprehensive coverage, which isn’t included in a basic auto insurance policy.

Gap insurance and flood damage

It’s a good idea for you to get gap insurance if you live in a flood-prone area in order to fully protect your leased or financed car from a strong storm.

If you leased your car or financed it with a loan and the car is heavily damaged by a flood, you would still owe your creditor the difference between the actual cash value of your car and the loan — unless you were covered by gap insurance.

Gap coverage pays for all or part of the difference between the remainder of the loan or your lease and the value of your totaled car.

Does car insurance cover water damage to my engine?

Comprehensive car insurance doesn’t cover equipment that’s not permanently installed in your car, but your policy can cover water damage to your engine, transmission, and your car’s electrical systems.

If your car’s engine was damaged by a flood and you can no longer drive it, the vehicle would be declared a total loss. In this case, your insurance company would cover your car’s actual cash value, minus the deductible — as long as you had full coverage.

When is flood and water damage not covered by car insurance?

Assuming you have comprehensive coverage, there are still a few times when your insurance wouldn’t cover water or flood damage to your car. In these cases, you’d have to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your property on your own.

Comprehensive insurance doesn’t protect your car when the water damage is caused by your own negligence. This means your insurance wouldn’t cover water damage if you left your car’s windows or sunroof open before a storm.

It also means that if you don’t take care of your car, you would lose coverage from water damage. For example, if your car’s roof or its windows were leaky and you never got around to fixing them, any water damage that these leaks caused wouldn’t be covered.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if your car gets water damage?

When your car gets water damage, you can submit a claim for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle — but only if you have comprehensive coverage. If you don’t have comprehensive insurance, you’d have to pay for water damage yourself.

Do you need flood insurance for damage to your car?

Unlike your home or renters insurance, you don’t have to get a separate flood insurance policy to cover the damage rains and flooding cause. But you would need to have a policy with comprehensive coverage to be protected against floods.

Does liability insurance cover flood damage?

Liability insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. Your policy’s liability coverage pays for the cost of other people’s medical bills and their damaged property after an at-fault crash. If you only have liability insurance and not comprehensive coverage, you’d have to pay for flood damage on your own.

Authors

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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