Car Insurance Flood Damage

Understand the type of car insurance you need to protect against flood damage and what to do if your car is damaged by floodwater in this helpful guide from Savvy. 

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, updated on August 14th, 2023       

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Car Insurance Banner - Cars parked in a flooded basement

Australia is no stranger to extreme weather events, including floods. For car owners, flooding can wreak havoc, causing extensive damage to vehicles. However, having the right car insurance coverage can offer protection and peace of mind. In this useful guide, we will explore the impact of floods on vehicles, the type of car insurance coverage you may need, and the steps to take in the event of flood damage.

Does my car insurance cover flood damage?

Whether your car insurance covers flood damage depends on the type of car insurance policy you have. If you have comprehensive car insurance, your vehicle is typically covered for accidental loss or damage caused by various events, including floods. Comprehensive car insurance offers the highest level of protection and is designed to cover a wide range of risks, including natural disasters like floods, storms and hail.

Depending on your policy, you may be covered for:

  • Towing
  • Rental car costs
  • Repair costs
  • Damage to personal items
  • New-for-old car replacement

However, if you have a third-party car insurance policy, it is unlikely to cover flood damage to your vehicle. Third-party insurance primarily provides coverage for damage caused to other people’s property or injuries in case of an accident where you are at fault. It does not include coverage for your vehicle in case of flood damage.

If you are worried about flood damage, you should review your car insurance policy carefully to confirm whether it includes flood damage coverage. If you do not have comprehensive coverage and live in a flood-prone area, upgrading your policy could ensure greater protection for your car.

What should I do if my car is flooded?

Dealing with a flooded car can be overwhelming, but if your car has been exposed to floodwaters and you have appropriate car insurance cover, you should:

  • Contact your insurer: get in touch with your insurance provider to inform them of the incident and find out any next steps.
  • Not drive your car: don’t attempt to start or drive the car if floodwaters have reached the car’s interior – even if the damage is not immediately obvious.
  • Tow to a mechanic: get your car towed to a mechanic as soon as possible, who will inspect the vehicle thoroughly. They will assess the extent of the damage to determine whether the car is repairable.
  • Assess your car’s condition: an insurance assessor may inspect the car to see if it is a write-off, either because it is no longer safe or it is not economic to repair.
  • Lodge an insurance claim: if your car is comprehensively insured, contact your insurance provider to initiate the claims process. Provide all necessary details, policy numbers and any relevant photos or documents to facilitate the claim.

How can I prevent damage to my car during a flood?

While floods can be unpredictable, there are steps you can take to protect your car from potential flood damage:

  • Park safely: if you live in a flood-prone area, try to park your car undercover or on higher ground whenever possible.
  • Disconnect the battery: if you receive advance warning of a flood, consider disconnecting the car battery to prevent potential electrical damage
  • Avoid driving through floodwaters: never attempt to drive through floodwaters, even if they seem shallow. Just 15 cm of water can float a small car, putting you and your vehicle at risk.
  • Stay informed: monitor weather forecasts and flood warnings to be prepared for potential flooding in your area. When possible, avoid driving during severe weather conditions.

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