Water can do serious damage to your vehicle, whether it’s in the form of rain, snow, hail, ice, a slow leak or a flash flood. Salt water can be especially harmful, corroding the vehicle’s body, mechanical parts and electrical system.1
You may assume that your auto insurance will pay for repairs due to water damage, but if you only have liability coverage, you could be in for a surprise. Water damage is not covered by a liability-only policy. Instead, you would need comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy.1
While almost every state requires vehicle owners to carry liability coverage, the decision to buy or skip comprehensive coverage is up to you, unless your vehicle is leased or financed and your lender requires you carry comprehensive coverage on your policy.2
If all you have is a policy with liability coverage, adding comprehensive coverage can be a smart move – especially if you live in a flood- or storm-prone area, where the risk of water damage is significant. But before you update your policy, consider the following:
Water damage to contents in your vehicle is not covered.3
Comprehensive insurance applies only to vehicle damage, not to the vehicle’s contents or removable components, such as sound systems, roof racks and cargo mats. Fortunately, home or renters insurance can provide coverage for your belongings if damaged by water in a covered claim.
Water damage due to negligence won’t be covered.
Comprehensive insurance will only cover losses that are beyond your control, such as flooding from a hurricane. In other words, your claim will probably be denied if your vehicle was flooded because you inadvertently left the windows or sunroof open in a downpour, needlessly drove through deep water, or neglected to have broken windows or leaks repaired.
In some cases, comprehensive coverage may not make financial sense.
You can reduce your premium by choosing a higher deductible – but doing so means you’ll pay more out of pocket in the event of a claim. If your vehicle is valued at less than $3,000 or is more than 10 years old, the combined cost of higher premiums and non-covered repairs may be more than your vehicle is worth.3
Review other benefits of comprehensive coverage.
Comprehensive insurance covers more than just water damage. When considering if it’s right for you, think about other times it can come into play: in cases of fire, theft or vandalism.2