If you are an insured driver and your car has been flooded, you may have more and better coverage than you think. If your car insurance includes comprehensive physical damage coverage, this usually covers losses that result from non-collision damage-causing incidents. Floods are a common type of natural disaster, and flooding of vehicles is commonly covered under comprehensive insurance.
Do First Things First
Naturally, if your vehicle becomes engulfed in flood waters and you must abandon it, focus on personal safety first. File a claim with your auto insurance company only after you are out of harm’s way. If the vehicle is not swept away but is flooded, remember to avoid trying to start it. Allow it to undergo inspection and cleaning by a qualified mechanic regardless of whether it looks all right. Flood damage can be hidden damage. It can endanger you, and starting the car could cause yet more damage.
When it comes to insurance, it is important to get facts and avoid assumptions. The terms and conditions are contained within the policy document. Additionally, a quick way to determine important facts about auto insurance is to read the exclusions and limitations. It is there where you can discover what is not covered. If your auto insurance policy does not include comprehensive coverage, then flooding is probably not covered. If your car has a loan against it, you may be in luck. It is likely that the lender has required you to carry comprehensive insurance and that once flooding is proven to be the cause of damage, it will in all likelihood be covered. Contact the insurance company to report the claim before taking any action toward repair. Remember that with comprehensive insurance, you will likely be responsible for paying a deductible.
Read the Policy Provisions for Hidden Options
Sometimes auto policy owners are pleasantly surprised in the wake of a disaster such as a flooded vehicle. Some discover that they have optional forms of coverage that they added at the start of the policy just in case, and the flood turns out to be the unexpected eventuality. You may have purchased optional replacement rental car insurance. If so, the coverage provides access to a rental car until the flooded car is repaired or replaced, depending on the coverage.
Some car owners purchase a kind of gap insurance. If the driver has a loan against the covered car, and the covered car is a total loss due to a covered incident, and the loss exceeds any other insurance proceeds, the gap insurance coverage may pay off the remaining loan balance or the balance of the car lease.
Some insurance companies have affiliated repair shops that handle repairs directly with their claims representatives. Sometimes the insurance company will waive the deductible if you use its affiliated repair facility. They may also be able to expedite the claims process and make repairs more quickly than would otherwise happen.
Check on Warranties
When a vehicle has been flooded, any number of systems can be affected. It is important, provided the vehicle is not a total loss and will be repaired, to find out about the availability of a written warranty, either lifetime or limited, and preferably backed by both the insurer and the repair facility for as long as you continue to own the vehicle.