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Does your car insurance cover flood damage?

Does your car insurance cover flood damage?

With heavy rainfall and storms in the news each year, flooding is a worry for many parts of the UK. But it’s not just homes and businesses that are under threat. Flooding can cause serious damage to our cars.  
But does car insurance cover flood damage?

David Edbrooke
Sub editor
minute read
posted 25 FEBRUARY 2020

Will all types of car insurance cover flood damage? 

No, not all types will cover flood damage. You may be able to claim for flood damage if you have fully comprehensive car insurance. But it’s most unlikely that your car will be covered for flood damage on a third-party fire and theft policy.  
Even if you have fully comprehensive cover, you should check the terms and conditions of your policy. You may only be covered if you’ve done what’s necessary to keep your car safe.  
Typically, insurance providers put flood damage into two categories: 

  • unavoidable flood damage – if your car is flooded where it’s usually parked. For example, at home.
  • avoidable flood damage – if you take risks like driving into a flooded area, despite warning alerts.  

What damage can flooding do to your car? 

Flooding could cause severe damage to parts of your car. 
It only takes about a foot of water to make your car float, and a couple of feet of moving water is enough to sweep a vehicle away. And if you have to restart your engine if it stalls after driving through water, you could cause serious damage. 
Water infiltration can cause: 

  • mould and rust in the inside of your car 
  • contaminated fluids 
  • rusted suspension joints 
  • malfunctioning brakes 
  • damage to parking sensors and cameras 
  • damage to external lights and indicators 

If you’ve driven on flooded roads, it’s a good idea to get your car checked out by a mechanic for any signs of damage.  

Safety precautions in a flood 

It’s always best to avoid driving in severe weather conditions if you can. But it isn’t always possible to postpone a journey, and flash floods can take you by surprise. To help keep you and your car safe: 

  • Check for weather warnings. You can find out if your area is at risk of flooding and sign up for alerts from the Environment Agency.
  • Move your car to higher ground if your area is at risk of flooding. 
  • If you’re driving, don’t just follow another vehicle into flood water. You never know what’s under the waterline, and you could end up stalling or being swept away. 

Get more tips for driving in the wet and rain.

What to do if your car is flooded 

If your car is stuck in flood water, you may need to get it towed to a nearby garage. If you have breakdown cover, call your provider for help.  
To make a car insurance claim for flood damage, contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. They’ll explain what you should do next.  
If your car insurance policy includes personal possessions cover, you might also be able to claim for any damaged belongings that were in the car.  

What will happen to my car if it’s damaged in a flood? 

Flood damage doesn’t necessarily mean your car will be a write-off. Your insurance provider will need an assessment of the damage to decide if it’s a total loss or not.  
You’ll need to check what replacement conditions your policy offers if your car is a write off. Most comprehensive policies include a new car replacement for vehicles under 12 months old. However, be sure to check your policy to be certain this is the case. 
If you have GAP insurance you may be able to claim for a new car replacement, even if your vehicle is over 12 months old.  
If you’re concerned about the risk of flooding and whether your car is covered, contact your car insurance provider for more information.  

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