Does car insurance cover water damage?


If you have comprehensive car insurance coverage, you may be covered for certain types of water damage, depending on what caused it.

Kara McGinley


Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an 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.

Published July 10, 2020 | 4 min read

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Driving, owning, or leasing a car can come with certain risks. Luckily, car insurance is there to financially protect you if you get into a car accident and damage someone else’s vehicle or injure them. Your car insurance can also protect you and your car from the unexpected, like if your car gets swept away during a flood.

The comprehensive coverage component of your car insurance policy may cover you for certain types of water damage and other hazards that may damage your car while you are not driving, like if a tree branch lands on your windshield during a storm, or if heavy ice damages the roof of your car.

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Comprehensive coverage can pay for damage caused by floods and other natural disasters, but your car insurance company may also deny claims for certain types of water damage, like if you forgot to roll up your windows during a rainstorm.

Key Takeaways

  • If you have comprehensive coverage, you are typically covered for water damage due to natural disasters, like floods or hurricanes

  • Comprehensive coverage also covers falling objects, so if a hailstorm breaks your windshield and water gets in, you may be covered

  • Comprehensive coverage doesn’t cover damages due to maintenance issues or negligence, so if you left your windows down during a rainstorm you won’t be covered

  • If your engine hydrolocks and breaks due to flooding or rain, you may be covered by comprehensive coverage, depending on your insurance company

When does car insurance cover water damage?

Comprehensive insurance is optional, meaning no states require you to have it by law. When it comes to water damage, comprehensive coverage may cover you, but it depends on how the water damage happened.

Comprehensive coverage typically will protect your vehicle against natural disasters, so if your car is damaged during a hurricane or a flood, you may be covered for any repairs you need as a result.

If a flood or any other type of water damages your car, you would file a claim for the amount of the damage caused, whether that means the total loss of your car or any necessary repairs.

Comprehensive coverage requires you to pay a deductible before the company will pay out for a claim. Typically a deductible is set at $500 or $1,000 (you choose the amount when you first buy your policy). If the water damage would cost less to fix than your deductible amount, it might be smarter to pay for the repairs out of pocket and avoid filing a claim altogether.

If your car is repairable, then your insurer pays out for the repairs. If it’s totaled, meaning the cost of repairs either exceeds the value of your car or exceeds a certain percentage of its value, you’ll receive the actual cash value of the car, minus your deductible.

Comprehensive coverage also covers falling objects, so if a hailstorm results in a cracked windshield and water gets into your vehicle, you may be covered. The same goes if a tree falls on your car during a storm and heavy rain gets in through the broken windows. That said, rainwater damage isn’t always covered by comprehensive car insurance.

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Does car insurance cover rain damage?

Comprehensive car insurance may cover rainwater damage, but it depends on how it happened. If the rainwater damage is a result of a tree falling on your car, or a natural disaster like a hurricane, then your comprehensive insurance will typically cover you.

Comprehensive coverage generally doesn’t cover maintenance issues or damage caused by negligence, so if the rainwater gets into your car because you left your windows open, you likely won’t be covered. You also likely will not be covered if the rainwater gets in because of a leak in your sunroof, windows, or windshield. Car insurance companies generally expect you to keep up with the maintenance of your car, so if the rain damage happened due to imperfect sealing around your windows or doors, you’ll probably have to foot the bill yourself.

It’s important to know that comprehensive coverage generally does not cover equipment that is not permanently installed in your car. For example, if your removable sound system or GPS navigation system is damaged during a hurricane, your insurance company may not pay to replace it.

Does car insurance cover water damage to my engine?

Although comprehensive car insurance won’t cover equipment that isn’t permanently installed in your car, water damage to your car’s engine may be covered depending on what caused it.

Comprehensive coverage protects you from hazards that are outside of your control. Just like the interior of your car, if your engine gets flooded during a hurricane, or if a tree falls on your car and heavy rain leaks into your hood, your car insurance should cover you.

If you drive through a puddle or a flash flood, and your engine hydrolocks, there’s a chance you may need to replace it with a new one. Comprehensive coverage may pay for repairs or to replace your engine if it hydrolocks, but you should talk to your insurance company about their protocol on hydrolocking.

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