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16 Apr 2020
Adam Bate

Does car insurance cover flood damage?


Flood sign on road

Floodwater can cause all sorts of damage to your car. It’s important to have the right cover in place to protect you during bad weather.

Especially if you live in a flood risk area.

Does my car insurance cover flood damage?

If you have a comprehensive car insurance policy, then you should be covered for flood damage. It typically covers repairs to your car and interiors such as carpets, stereo and upholstery.

There are some restrictions though, so be sure to check your policy T&Cs.

Unfortunately, a third-party or third-party fire and theft policy is unlikely to cover for any damage caused by flooding.

If you live in a flood risk area, then your best bet is to get comprehensive cover in case the worst happens.

Not sure if your area is classed as high risk? You can check the GOV.UK website to find out.

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Avoidable and unavoidable flood damage

Insurers use these two categories when deciding to pay a claim or not.

In most cases flood damage happens through no fault of your own. For example, parking your car in the usual spot while at home or at work. This would be unavoidable flood damage.

But in some cases insures will class flood damage as an avoidable risk. Like if you decide to drive through a flood. Unless it's necessary, you should always avoid driving through water.

Even a few inches of water can cause damage to your engine and electrics.

It’s unlikely your insurer will pay for any damaged caused if you've taken the risk to drive in floodwater.

My car was in a flood what should i do?

If you find your car in floodwater or if you’re stuck in floodwater there are a few steps you should follow:

  • Ring your breakdown provider or a local garage for help.

  • Use protective clothing if you can before investigating any damage. Flooded water can be contaminated with sewage.

  • Don’t try and start the engine. Attempting to start it could damage the car beyond repair.

  • Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible.

  • Dry out the interior. Open doors and windows and use old towels to soak up excess water.

  • Check your oil and air filters. If there are signs of water, then you’ll need them flushed and changed by a mechanic.

Staying safe during a flood

It’s always best to avoid journeys during severe weather conditions. If you need to make an essential trip during a weather warning, there are a few steps you can follow to help keep you safe:

  • Always check weather conditions in your local area before you set off.

  • Reduce your speed and leave more space between you and other drivers.

  • Be extra captious driving on roads that you’re not familiar with.

  • Avoid driving through floods, but if it’s necessary try driving along the highest section of the road.

  • Test your brakes as soon as you're out of the water.

Looking for more tips? Our guide on driving in heavy rain and winds explains more.

How do I make a claim for flood damage?

First things first, contact your insurer as soon as possible. They’ll usually arrange for an approved mechanic to visit and assess the damage caused.

Your insurer will then decide whether they'll repair the car or write it off.

There are a couple of things you’ll need before you make the call:

  • Your car registration

  • Policy number

  • Photos of the flood damage – it’s always a good idea to take some for your records

  • Location of the incident – was it at home or somewhere else?

Your insurer will assess your situation and be able to give you advice on how to make a claim.

Gap insurance might allow you to claim for a new car replacement if your car is declared a total loss.


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