The devastation brought by recent hurricanes and massive rainstorms has been chilling. We have all seen the disheartening scenes of homes and businesses destroyed and people’s lives upended. Needless to say, a lot of cars get damaged and totaled from flooding. Cars can flood not only from those storms, but from rivers overflowing, water main breaks, sewage back-ups, etc.

Even just a few inches of water from a flood can cause mold issues, electrical issues, and engine damage. It can cause vehicle computer system failures and cause brakes and air bags to malfunction.

Basic car insurance plans, such as collision and property damage liability, only cover situations involving your car hitting or getting hit by another car or object.

If you want to cover your vehicle for damage caused by a flood, you’ll need COMPREHENSIVE INSURANCE COVERAGE. This is usually optional unless required by your leasing or finance company. This coverage can cover incidents outside your control, such as acts of nature, including water damage due to flooding.

If you don’t have comprehensive insurance coverage on your car, you’ll likely be responsible for paying for any repairs due to flood damage. If you do have comprehensive and your car was flooded, be sure to notify your insurance carrier immediately afterwards.

There are exceptions, so you’ll have to read your insurance policy (or speak to your insurance agent / broker) to find out what is and isn’t covered. Many insurance companies have restrictions on people who try to obtain comprehensive coverage within a few day of an impending hurricane. If you care about your car and live in a high-risk flood zone, you really should consider getting comprehensive coverage.

Michael Raff, Esq.