The flooding that ravaged parts of Houston in April damaged 1,731 homes. Floods, such as Houston’s flood, affect much more than just homes, They impact businesses as well as cars and trucks. With that in mind, I thought we’d take a look at the impact flooding has on cars and answer the question, do you know what kind of car insurance coverage protects against a flooded vehicle.
I haven’t seen a confirmed number of vehicles which were affected by the flooding, but most estimates run into the thousands . This may lead to a mini car buying boom in Houston for May and June, but let’s first deal with the coverage you need in this type of incident.
First off, there’s no separate policy like flood insurance for your car or truck, however, as long as you maintain comprehensive coverage for each vehicle on your car insurance policy, then you’re covered. Comprehensive coverage protects against a lot of different type of losses including flooding, fire, a tree falls on your car, 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.
To determine whether or not you have comprehensive coverage, take a look at your policy’s declaration pages. This page shows the coverage you have, the limits on each type of coverage, and your deductibles. Comprehensive or “other than collision” coverage will be listed either before or after the collision coverage.
The number shown for each vehicle corresponds to the amount of the comprehensive deductible such as $250 or $500. 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 whether each and every vehicle on your policy has comprehensive coverage.
A comprehensive car insurance claim would apply whether or not your car was parked when it became flooded or if you accidentally drove into water that turned out to be deeper than you thought it was. If, however, it was determined you purposely drove into high water, then your claim may be denied.
The claim adjuster will determine whether or not the car is a total loss from the water. A car trapped in fresh water may be able to be repaired, but this really depends on what the repair cost will be versus the depreciated value of your car. In most cases, I expect the car to be totaled. Cars submerged in salt water are almost always totaled.
Car buyers should pull the Carfax report on any used vehicles they are considering over the next 12 months to determine if it’s one of the salvaged cars which were totaled in April’s flood. Keep in mine, many carriers will not write a car or truck with a salvage title and you may be buying a vehicle that’s more trouble than it’s worth!
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!