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Are you covered if your car was damaged by water from a weather system?
The answer to the question of whether you are covered if your car is flooded depends on your particular car insurance policy. Many people incorrectly think that flood insurance issued by the National Flood Insurance Program is required to pay for any and all damage caused by flooding. Flood insurance only covers damage to a home. In general, car insurance pays for flood damage to vehicles.
Comprehensive Coverage Handles Car Flooding
Whether the flooding is due to a thunderstorm or a hurricane or some other water disaster, the damage created by water entering your vehicle is potentially covered by the comprehensive coverage portion of your auto insurance policy. A potential problem is that many car owners eliminate individual elements of their insurance policies in order to save money. That's often the case with collision, towing, rental and even with comprehensive coverage. Towing and rental coverage offered in auto insurance policies are often eliminated because they are available elsewhere, such as through an auto club. Collision and comprehensive coverage are often eliminated on an older vehicle.
What is Comprehensive Coverage?
Comprehensive coverage provides insurance against anything that happens to your vehicle other than an accident. If your car is stolen or vandalized, for example, those damages are covered by comprehensive insurance. Flood damage is another example of something unrelated to a car accident that's covered by comprehensive coverage. However, there's one more issue to consider before determining if you are adequately covered in the event of flood damage to your vehicle.
Deductible on Comprehensive Auto Coverage
When a car is flooded the extent of coverage depends both on the presence of comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy and the amount of your deductible. Car insurance policies have deductibles that affect both comprehensive and collision coverage. They may be the same amount, but do not have to be identical. The deductible is the amount the car owner pays out of pocket on a claim before the insurance company pays the rest. Common deductible amounts range from $500 to $1,500 but can be as high as $2,000 or more. If you have a $1,000 deductible and $800 in water damage, you'll have to pay for the repairs out of pocket. To avoid a situation like that, you can lower the comprehensive deductible. Be aware, however, that lower deductibles lead to higher car insurance premiums.
What if my insurance company denies my claim?
If your insurance company denies your claim for flood damage, contact our firm to determine if we can assist in appealing the decision. If you have a valid claim that was denied, we can file a lawsuit against the insurance if it acted in "bad faith." Our firm has also filed suit against property owners, management companies and parking garages for which damaged cars were stored.