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rental car damage and liability insurance

Comprehensive car insurance coverage provides protection for your vehicle from damages caused by events other than collisions. Comprehensive covers incidents like floodinghurricanes, hail damage, vandalism, and theft. It is an optional add-on coverage you can purchase along with collision coverage to have full coverage on your vehicle. Comprehensive claims are subject to a deductible, which is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before insurance covers the remaining cost. Having comprehensive ensures you are protected from common environmental damages.

Several policies won't cover water damage caused by a pipe, you have to read carefully your policy's declaration page to be sure what it covers

Comprehensive coverage for flood damage

Flood damage is one of the most common types of water damage comprehensive insurance covers. If your vehicle is damaged by flooding from:

  • Heavy rains
  • Hurricanes
  • Overflowing rivers or streams
  • Storm surges

Your comprehensive policy can pay for repairs or replacement if the damage is bad enough to total your car.

Some examples of flood damage covered by comprehensive include:

  • Engine getting swamped with water
  • Interior getting soaked with standing water
  • Electronics like radio and navigation system getting damaged
  • Rust and corrosion throughout the vehicle after drying

Comprehensive coverage will pay for:

  • Cost of repairs
  • Value of the car if it's totaled
  • Towing to a repair shop

Things to know about comprehensive and flood damage:

  • There is always a deductible you must pay first before insurance covers the rest
  • Binding restrictions may be in place preventing new policies if a storm is predicted
  • Does NOT cover belongings inside the car like electronics and clothing

Total loss from flooding

If the water level gets high enough to completely submerge and ruin the mechanical components like the engine, the insurance company will likely declare it a total loss. This is when:

  • Repair cost exceeds value of the car
  • Car is no longer safe to drive
  • Damage makes car inoperable

When this happens, comprehensive insurance will pay the cash value of your car so you can hopefully use that toward a replacement.

Steps to make a flood damage claim

  1. Document damage and call insurance right away
  2. Insurance will send an adjuster and decide on repairs or total loss
  3. Pay your deductible
  4. If totaled, you'll receive a check for the car's value

Comprehensive coverage is designed to protect you from significant flood damage so you can get back on the road. But remember it does not cover human error like driving through high water.

Comprehensive coverage for hurricane and storm damage

Along with flooding, hurricanes and severe storms are another major cause of water damage to vehicles. Comprehensive insurance is designed to cover storm-related damage.

Types of storm damage covered by comprehensive:

  • Wind blowing branches or debris onto your car
  • Hail storms putting dents in the body panels
  • Heavy rain leaking through windows and sunroofs
  • Flood waters from storm surge

Comprehensive coverage will pay for damage like:

  • Broken windows and damaged roof from hail
  • Dents and scratches needing body work
  • Water stains or mold in the interior
  • Mechanical damage if engine components get wet

What happens if my car is totaled in a storm?

As with flood damage, if the storm destruction exceeds your car's value, the insurance company will likely deem it a total loss. This means:

  • Repairs cost more than the car is worth
  • The frame or structure is damaged making it unsafe

When your car is totaled by a storm, comprehensive insurance will pay the car's cash value so you can try to find a replacement vehicle.

Steps to make a hurricane damage claim

  1. Document damage with photos once it is safe
  2. File a claim right away before shops get overwhelmed
  3. Pay your deductible and wait for adjuster's valuation
  4. Receive payment for repairs or total loss

What comprehensive does NOT cover

While comprehensive is broad, there are storm-related damages it does not cover:

  • Belongings inside your car like clothing or electronics
  • Damage from storms you purposely drove through
  • Long term wear from corrosion if car was not properly dried

Tips for preparing for storm season:

  • Inspect windows and seals to avoid interior leaks
  • Park car in a garage if possible to minimize exposure
  • Review policy limits and deductible amounts
  • Have emergency kit and supplies ready in your car

With comprehensive insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing your car has protection against major hurricane and storm damage.

Other water damage covered by comprehensive insurance

While flooding and storms are the most common causes, there are other types of water damage that comprehensive coverage will pay for:

Rain damage

  • Heavy rain leaking through sunroof or windows
  • Accumulation in trunk if drainage system clogs
  • Short circuiting electronics if water gets inside dashboard

Ground water seepage

  • Parking on grassy medians or fields and getting stuck
  • Water table rising up and entering through floorboards

Melting snow

  • Snow melts and water seeps into ignition system and electronics
  • Ice damming on roof causes water staining of interior

Plumbing leaks

  • Leaky sunroof drain tubes flood interior
  • Rust and corrosion under hood from coolant leaks

Car wash mishaps

  • High pressure washers damage exterior seals and allow water intrusion
  • Soap suds get trapped and cause mold and electrical shorts

Other water incursion

  • Removing frozen door that breaks seal and lets water inside
  • Damage from road spray that exceeds designed tolerance
  • Condensation from covered damp car

What comprehensive covers

  • Cost of repairs like drying out carpet and fixing electronics
  • Mold remediation if severe
  • Total loss payments if water ruined mechanical components

Limits of coverage

  • Does not cover improper maintenance that allowed water inside
  • Limited coverage for personal items damaged by water
  • May not pay for some wear and tear related seepage

Steps to make a claim

  1. Document damage with photos
  2. Immediately call insurance company
  3. Pay deductible amount
  4. Get repairs or total loss reimbursement

While less common than flooding, comprehensive can provide vital coverage against other types of water damage like heavy rains or snow melt.

What is considered a total loss from water damage

One of the biggest questions drivers have about comprehensive coverage is when does water damage reach the threshold of a total loss. This refers to when the insurance company decides to pay out the value of your vehicle rather than repair it.

Here are the main criteria used to determine a total loss:

  • Cost of repairs exceeds current market value of the car
  • Frame or structure is damaged making vehicle unsafe to drive
  • Mechanical parts like engine and transmission are damaged beyond repair

Examples of total loss water damage

  • Interior is completely saturated with flood water
  • Electronics like computer and radio are fried by water
  • Mud and silt infiltrate mechanical components after flood
  • Saltwater flooding from storm surge causes excessive corrosion

What happens when your car is totaled

If the insurance adjuster deems your car is totaled due to water damage, here's the process:

  • Adjuster will assess the pre-loss cash value of your car based on year, make, model
  • You will receive a check for this cash value amount minus your deductible
  • Your insurer will keep the totaled car as a "salvage" vehicle
  • You can use the payout to shop for a replacement car

Factors that influence total loss decisions

  • Age and condition - Older cars are totaled more easily
  • Value - Premium or classic cars get repaired more often
  • Flooded electrical - Water in system can total a car fast
  • Frame damage - Critical safety component that's costly to fix

Appealing a total loss decision

If you disagree with the adjuster's valuation you can:

  • Provide documentation to support a higher value
  • Get separate appraisals from body shops on potential repair cost
  • Negotiate a settlement amount that satisfies you

Total loss tips

  • Remove all personal items from the car before transferring over title
  • Research value of your specific car using KBB and NADA guides
  • Consider keeping the salvaged car for parts if settlement is low

While not common, significant water damage can result in your insurer declaring your car a total loss. Understand the criteria they use to make this decision.

The deductible for comprehensive claims

When you file a comprehensive claim for any type of water damage, you will be responsible for paying your policy deductible before the insurance covers the remaining cost.

What is a deductible?

A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket on an insurance claim before the coverage kicks in. Common deductible amounts are:

  • $250
  • $500
  • $1,000

So if you have a $500 deductible and submit a claim for $3,000 of water damage, you would pay $500 and insurance would cover the remaining $2,500.

Tips on choosing a deductible

  • Higher deductible = lower premium. If cash-strapped, choose higher deductible.
  • Lower deductible = higher premium. If you want lowest out-of-pocket cost, choose lower deductible.
  • Typical range is $250 - $1,500. $500 or $1,000 are common amounts.

Why a deductible matters

  • Prevents very small claims being filed
  • Keeps premium costs down for everyone
  • Requires you take responsibility for minor repairs

When deductible has to be paid

Any time you file a claim, regardless of damage amount, you must pay the deductible. Examples:

  • $750 of flooding in interior - pay $500 deductible
  • $5,000 of hail damage - pay $1,000 deductible
  • $12,000 of storm damage - pay $250 deductible

Tips for paying your deductible

  • Have an emergency fund to cover deductible amounts
  • See if you can pay in installments if deductible is high
  • Consider raising deductible to lower premiums

Deductible reimbursement

If another driver clearly caused damage to your car, your insurer may try to get your deductible reimbursed after they subrogate against their insurance company. But this is not guaranteed.

Understanding how your chosen deductible impacts claim payouts can help avoid surprise out-of-pocket costs.

Engine and mechanical damage from flooding

One of the most severe types of damage flooding can cause is compromising mechanical components like the engine and transmission. This can lead to very costly repairs or result in the insurer declaring a total loss.

How flooding damages engines

  • Water gets sucked into running engine through air intake
  • Submerged engine takes on water through exhaust system
  • Internally rusts and corrodes metal components
  • Oil dilution - water contaminates and reduces effectiveness of oil

Other mechanical damage from flooding

  • Transmission - gears rust and slip, fluid dilution occurs
  • Brakes - brake pads soaked, calipers seize up
  • Electrical - shorts circuit entire system
  • HVAC - flood debris clogs AC evaporator

Signs of engine flooding damage

  • Car stalls out and will not restart
  • White smoke coming from tailpipe
  • Rust colored oil
  • Odd smells from vents when running

Can a flooded engine be repaired?

  • Severe flooding requires completely rebuilding or replacing engine
  • Mild flooding may only damage ancillary components like alternator
  • Diagnostics needed to fully assess damage

Factors that determine if engine can be saved

  • Depth of flooding
  • Duration submerged
  • Sediment and contaminants in flood water
  • Speed car was moving when flooded

Cost to repair flood-damaged engine

  • $4,000 - $10,000+ to replace entire engine
  • $2,000 - $5,000 to rebuild engine
  • $800+ to replace electronic components

Is it worth repairing a flooded engine?

The high repair bills often exceed the value of older vehicles. This results in the car being declared a total loss rather than investing in expensive mechanical repairs.

Flooding poses a severe threat to your engine and other systems. Understand the high costs and low probability of flooded engine repair.

Here is a 500 word section on limitations of comprehensive coverage in markdown format:

When comprehensive coverage may not apply

While comprehensive insurance covers many types of water damage, there are situations where your claim could be denied. Review the limitations so you understand when you may or may not have coverage.

Existing or long term damage

Comprehensive only covers sudden, accidental damage from events like storms. It does not cover:

  • Leaks or seepage that have been ongoing
  • Wear and tear damage that worsened over time
  • Prior damage that was never repaired

Improper vehicle maintenance

You must properly maintain your car for coverage to apply. Comprehensive may not cover damage like:

  • Leaks due to cracked seals or gaskets you neglected to fix
  • Failing to drain water from AC system before winter
  • Engine damage after driving through deep water

Deliberate actions

Don't expect coverage if you purposely put your car in harm's way. Examples where claims could be denied:

  • Driving through flooded streets despite warnings
  • Parking below trees knowing storms were coming
  • Leaving car windows down during heavy rains

Mechanical failures

Mechanical breakdowns are not considered sudden damage so comprehensive would not apply to:

  • Transmission failing after driving through high water
  • Overheating engine from clogged radiator intake
  • Electrical short circuit from deteriorating insulation

Consumables, materials, and supplies

Comprehensive only covers the car itself. It does not pay for things like:

  • Cost of car washes or detailing to remove grime
  • Replacing fluids that got contaminated by water
  • Parts that wore out faster due to exposure

Personal items

Personal belongings inside your car are not covered. For example, comprehensive will not pay for:

  • Electronics like laptops or phones that got wet
  • Clothing, bags, or other items soaked by water
  • CDs or other media damaged by humidity

Understand these common claim denial reasons so you have realistic expectations of coverage.

Here is a 500 word section on adding comprehensive coverage to your policy in markdown format:

Adding comprehensive coverage to your policy

If you currently only have basic liability insurance, you may want to consider adding comprehensive coverage to protect your vehicle from water damage.

Why add comprehensive?

Comprehensive pays for damage from:

  • Floods
  • Hurricanes
  • Hail storms
  • Heavy snow melt

Without it, you could be stuck paying costly repair or replacement bills if your car gets damaged.

When to add it

Consider adding comprehensive:

  • If moving to a flood-prone area
  • If parking your car outside exposed to weather
  • If leasing or financing and need gap protection
  • If your car is worth more than $3,000

How to add comprehensive

  • Contact your insurer or agent
  • Request a quote for a policy with comprehensive
  • Choose desired deductible amount
  • Pay any additional premium

Is there a waiting period?

In most cases comprehensive coverage starts immediately with no waiting period. But make sure to add it before storm season.

Can you add it retroactively?

No - damage that has already occurred will not be covered if you add comprehensive after the fact. The coverage must be active at the time of the loss.

Filing your first claim

When you file a claim on recently added comprehensive, be prepared to:

  • Provide proof of comprehensive coverage
  • Supply evidence damage occurred after policy start date
  • Pay any applicable deductible

Bundling discounts

You can usually get a discount on comprehensive when bundling it with other policies from the same insurer. Ask about bundling your car and home insurance.

Protect your vehicle investment against water damage by getting a competitive quote for adding comprehensive car insurance.

Here is a 100 word conclusion in markdown format:

Conclusion - the importance of comprehensive car insurance

In summary, comprehensive coverage can provide vital protection against water damage from flooding, storms, and other events. It covers cost of repairs or total loss replacement minus your chosen deductible. But comprehensive insurance does have limitations, so understand what is covered and what is not. For drivers in flood-prone regions it is wise to invest in comprehensive auto insurance to avoid paying expensive water damage bills out-of-pocket. Discuss your risks and coverage options with an agent.


Q: Does comprehensive car insurance cover water damage from a flood?

A: Yes, comprehensive car insurance often covers water damage from floods, but it's important to check your specific policy to see what types of water damage are covered.

Q: What should I do if my car is damaged by water?

A: Look for droplets and corroded parts of your vehicle, take pictures and videos of the affected parts of your vehicle, send your vehicle to the repair shop and file the claim to your car insurance company.

Q: Will my insurance rates go up if I file a claim for water damage?

A: That depends on many factors, if that was your first claim in your life, then your car insurance may apply accident forgiveness, making your policy doesn’t rise at all, however, that is less likely to be expected. In general your premiums will rise up.

Q: Can I prevent water damage to my car?

A: Yes, you can prevent water damage to your car, such as parking in a garage or covered area, installing a sump pump, check for signs of droplets or corroded parts, and avoiding driving through flooded areas -if the other vehicle passes the flood area doens’t mean you will-.

Q: What types of water damage are covered by comprehensive car insurance?

A: The types of water damage covered by comprehensive car insurance will vary from policy to policy, but it often includes damage from natural disasters, such as floods and hurricanes, and from other sources, such as broken pipes. Be sure to carefully read your policy to understand what is covered.


Comprehensive insurance will protect your vehicle against water damage, but you also have to check what your policy covers. Some car insurers will cover water damage from natural disasters only. When your car has water damage by flood or any other kind, you have to look for droplets or corroded parts, take pictures of the affected parts of your vehicle and file the claim as soon as possible. 

Other readers were also interested in the following posts:

Does My Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover Me to Drive Another Car?  

Comprehensive Insurance vs Collision: Which One is Right for You?   

Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover Engine Failure?   

Does Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover Water Damage?

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