Record rainfall in California this week left some cars up to their roofs in water. What do you do if you have a car with flood damage?
If you have an older car, or it's paid off, you may have liability only coverage, which is damage caused in an accident. Since flooding is not an accident caused by you or someone else, liability policies do not cover flooding. Unless you have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, your car may not be worth fixing if flooded. Of course, this depends on the severity of the damage. A used older car is probably not worth getting comprehensive coverage on to begin with.
If your car is financed or leased, the lender will require you to maintain full comprehensive coverage on the vehicle until the loan is paid off. With comprehensive coverage, flood damage is usually covered. don't just celebrate yet. To report your auto insurance claim, contact your car insurance company before you go give permission to repair or replace your vehicle. You'll probably have to pay any deductibles from your comprehensive coverage.
Most car insurance, even with comprehensive coverage, will not cover damage to personal property inside the car, such as Christmas gifts, radios, etc. Total loss
Even if you have comprehensive insurance and file a claim for a flood damaged car, it's often declared a total loss. Then you have to negotiate with the car insurance company on what you think the car is worth. Don't plan on being overpaid!
Carriers even have their own propriety software using complex calculations to determine what your car was worth. If your car is totaled, it will be awarded a salvaged title with the "flood" brand on it by the DMV and signed over to the insurer.
If you have a homeowner's flood policy, that will not cover damages to a vehicle. Flood policies supplied by FEMA aka The National Flood Insurance Program only cover flood damage that has occurred to a home, not a car. Education you are your best insurance
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