Flood Damage and Car Insurance: How It Works and What You Should Know

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Car in a flood

If a flood damages your car, your auto insurance policy can pay to repair or replace it if you have comprehensive coverage. Flood damage occurs when heavy rains or floodwaters enter your vehicle, causing water damage. While this damage is sometimes repairable, a flood can easily total your car.

Floods happen all over the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). So, if you live near a river or in a densely populated area, you’ll want the best car insurance to cover you if your vehicle gets damaged during a flood.

Continue reading to learn how car insurance works with flood damage, how to file a flood damage claim, and what it could cost to repair your vehicle.

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Does Car Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

Car insurance companies typically cover your flood-damaged vehicle as long as you have comprehensive car insurance. This coverage also pays for other types of water damage from a tropical storm, hurricane, heavy rain, or storm surge. It can even cover damage occurring from heavy winds, such as falling tree branches and hail.

It’s important to know that personal belongings that aren’t factory-installed or permanently attached to the vehicle — such as your laptop, cell phone, or dashcam — usually aren’t covered.

Liability insurance coverage — required in almost all states — doesn’t cover flood damage. And neither does collision coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, or medical payments coverage. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage and you end up with a flooded car, your insurance policy won’t pay to fix or replace it.

Is It Worth It to File a Flood Damage Claim?

Cars in flooded street

If you have comprehensive coverage, filing a flood damage claim may be worth it. But consider some factors first. For example, if most of the damage is to belongings inside your car that aren’t covered by your policy, it might not be worth it to file a claim. The same can be true if the damage is minor and it costs less than $1,000 to repair.

Comprehensive insurance typically has a deductible — the amount you pay before your insurer pays to repair or replace your vehicle. Your insurer will only pay up to the car’s actual cash value (ACV) minus your deductible amount. If the cost of repairs is close to or greater than the vehicle’s value, your insurer will probably declare it totaled (or a total loss).

If you purchased gap insurance, filing a claim might be your best option. Gap insurance can cover the difference between your vehicle’s value and your loan or lease payoff, making a claim more worthwhile.

Before starting the claims process, consider discussing the pros and cons of filing one with your insurance agent. And if you’re ready to file, take the steps in the next section.

How to File an Auto Insurance Claim for Flood Damage

Filing a claim for flood damage isn’t much different from filing other auto insurance claims. Here are three easy steps.

  1. File the claim as soon as possible. Most insurers offer multiple ways to file, including by phone, in person, on the insurer’s website, and through a mobile app. The longer you wait to file, the more damage your car could have. If your area is dealing with a major flooding event, other drivers are likely filing claims, which can delay your claims process.
  2. Take pictures and videos of your vehicle to document the damage. Document everything you do to mitigate flood damage to your car as well. Don’t throw anything away until the adjuster has seen it.
  3. Once the insurance company assigns an adjuster, stay in contact with them. The adjuster will come out to estimate the vehicle damage or work with the mechanic and repair shop to determine the cost of damages and whether the car is fixable or totaled.

When dealing with flood damage, it’s important to remember to avoid starting your car, as it could do more damage. If you must move the vehicle to higher ground, consider getting it towed instead. Follow your insurance company’s instructions to ensure a smooth claims process.

How Much Does It Cost to Repair Flood Damage?

man by his car in a flooded area

The cost to repair flood damage can depend on multiple factors, including how much repairs cost in your area, the extent and type of vehicle damage, and your car’s value. It’s not uncommon for floods to cause significant irreparable damage, which makes it more likely that your auto insurer may declare your vehicle totaled rather than repairable.

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the U.S. — and the most expensive, according to FEMA. The average comprehensive claim in 2022 was $2,738 — an increase of almost $1,000 since 2019, according to Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) data. Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas are the top five states for flood insurance claims.

How Much Does Comprehensive Insurance Cost?

Car in flooded road

The nationwide average comprehensive insurance premium is $174 per month, according to National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) data. Multiple factors affect how much you pay for comprehensive coverage, including your ZIP code, auto repair costs in your area, weather patterns, and the deductible you choose.

The average cost of comprehensive insurance varies by state, as shown in the table below.

State Average Comprehensive Premium
Alabama $186
Alaska $156
Arizona $209
Arkansas $245
California $97
Colorado $312
Connecticut $139
Delaware $140
Florida $224
Georgia $156
Hawaii $183
Idaho $107
Illinois $145
Indiana $147
Iowa $140
Kansas $231
Kentucky $283
Louisiana $169
Maine $254
Maryland $123
Massachusetts $171
Michigan $150
Minnesota $168
Mississippi $217
Missouri $246
Montana $223
Nebraska $310
Nevada $269
New Hampshire $116
New Jersey $122
New Mexico $132
New York $220
North Carolina $177
North Dakota $155
Ohio $260
Oklahoma $134
Oregon $268
Pennsylvania $109
Rhode Island $174
South Carolina $149
South Dakota $217
Tennessee $353
Texas $173
Utah $279
Vermont $126
Virginia $155
Washington $149
Washington, D.C. $121
West Virginia $227
Wisconsin $170
Wyoming $352
National average $174

California and Idaho are the cheapest states for comprehensive insurance coverage. These states have more favorable weather conditions with less potential for severe weather, which can contribute to more affordable comprehensive rates. Tennessee and Wyoming are the opposite and both prone to flooding, contributing to the most expensive comprehensive coverage costs.

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FAQs About Flood Damage

It’s important to know how comprehensive insurance works so you can be prepared if a flood happens in your area. We answered some of the most common questions about car insurance and flood damage below.

What happens if your car is totaled in a flood?

If your car is totaled after a flood and you have comprehensive coverage, your auto insurance company may issue a payment for the car. The amount your insurer pays will be the actual cash value (ACV) of your car minus your comprehensive deductible.

Does car insurance cover water damage to an engine?

If floodwater gets into your engine and damages your vehicle, your car insurance may cover the damage. If you have comprehensive coverage, it can pay for your car repair or replacement minus your deductible. But there’s a good chance water damage to an engine will mean the vehicle may be declared totaled.

Will a flood damage claim cause your insurance to go up?

It’s possible. Any car insurance claim you file could cause your insurance rates to go up, including claims that aren’t your fault, like flood damage claims. It’s a good idea to speak with your insurer before filing a claim to see how it could affect your premium.

Does basic car insurance cover your car for flooding?

No. Basic car insurance only provides liability coverage, which won’t cover your car for flooding. Your policy has to include comprehensive insurance if you want flood damage coverage. A full-coverage auto policy usually includes comprehensive coverage.

Does car insurance cover leaks after heavy rains?

It depends. Your comprehensive car insurance policy may cover leaks after heavy rains and water damage from a sudden rainstorm or flash flood. But if you have a slow water leak from a lack of maintenance that damages your vehicle over time, it may not be covered.


Data scientists at Compare.com analyzed more than 50 million real-time auto insurance rates from more than 75 partner insurance providers in order to compile the quotes and statistics seen in this article. Compare.com’s auto insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers’ vehicles, driving records, insurance histories, and demographic information.

All the quotes listed in this article have been gathered from a combination of real Compare.com quotes and external insurance rate data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. Compare.com uses these observations to provide drivers with insight into how auto insurance companies determine their premiums.


  1. FEMA, “More than $26 Million Paid in National Flood Insurance Claims,” Accessed February 8, 2024.
  2. Insurance Information Institute, “Facts + Statistics: Auto insurance,” Accessed February 8, 2024.
  3. National Association of Insurance Commissioners, “2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report,” Accessed February 8, 2024.
  4. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, “Flood Basics,” Accessed February 8, 2024.


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