Flood Coverage and Car Insurance

Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Corpus Christi nearly two weeks ago then moved eastward along the Texas coast where it stalled over Houston for several days before moving on to Louisiana and off to the northeast. A one-thousand-year flood resulted from the trillions of gallons of water that fell along the Texas coast, enough to depress the earth’s crust by 2 centimeters. The estimate on the number of cars destroyed by Harvey ranges between 500,000 and 1,000,000. Let’s examine what kind of car insurance covers your car from flood damage.

Comprehensive, or other than collision coverage, protects against a variety of loss types including flooding, fire, falling objects, hail damage, damage from high winds (hurricane, tornado, etc.) and even if you hit an animal that wanders onto the road such as a deer, cow, horse, etc. Examining your car insurance declarations page should confirm if you have comprehensive. This page shows the type of coverage you have, the policy limits, and your policy deductibles.  Comprehensive is usually listed either before or after the collision coverage.

The number shown for each vehicle corresponds to the amount of the comprehensive deductible such as $100, $250, $500, etc.  There should be a deductible amount listed for each vehicle on your policy which confirms coverage is in place.  If one vehicle lists a deductible, but the another one doesn’t, you need to confirm if the coverage is for only one or all vehicles with your agent.

Comprehensive car insurance applies whether your car was parked when it became flooded or you accidentally drove into water which turned out to be deeper than you thought it was.  Driving purposely into high water, though, would be considered insurance fraud and result in your claim being denied.

The claim adjuster will determine if the car is a total loss from the water.  A car trapped in fresh water may be repairable, if not fully submerged, but this ultimately depends on the cost to repair your vehicle versus the depreciated value of your car. For many carriers, if the cost to repair your vehicle exceeds 80% of the vehicle’s value, it will be considered a total loss.

Car buyers should pull the Carfax report on any used vehicles they are considering over the next 12 months to determine if it’s a car which was salvaged from Hurricane Harvey.  Even if it looks great, there can be issues with the engine, electrical system and even mold from the car’s interior. In addition, many carriers will not write a car insurance policy on a vehicle with a salvaged title!

What do you think?  Share your thoughts, experiences, and car insurance questions with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages.  I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks!

Ed Wise

Wise Insurance Group

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