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What to do if your car suffers flood damage

Matt Fernell photo
Written by Matt Fernell, Financial Content Writer

4 February 2019

If your car has been damaged by flood water, you will need to contact your insurance company to see if they can cover the cost. Here is how to claim against flood damage.

What damage can flooding cause?

You should not try to drive through floodwater as even a small amount getting into your engine can cause you to stall.

Did you know?

If just an egg cupful of water gets in your car's combustion chamber it can be enough to ruin your engine.

Not only will this damage your engine, but you could be left stranded and surrounded by water — particularly dangerous if the water is fast moving or still rising.

Cars can start to float in as little as 12 inches of water, while two feet of moving water can sweep away almost any vehicle, including 4x4s.

If you need to get your car towed out of flood water or just need a quick fix, contact your breakdown provider if you have cover, or a local garage to help.

Make sure you save all receipts for the cost of the towing and any repairs to submit to your insurer so you can reclaim the cost.

If you car is flooded

If you have a fully comprehensive policy you should be able to claim against damage caused by flooding.

If you have a third party, fire and theft (or third party only) policy you may find that it does not provide cover against flooding so you will need to pay the cost of any repairs yourself.

If you live in a flood risk area you should consider upgrading if you do not have comprehensive cover.

Fully comprehensive policies give you the best cover and are often the cheapest option when you consider the overall cost of the policy compared to the cost of repairing your car following any flood damage. If you want to pay less, try these ten ways to cut the cost of your car insurance.

Before you apply for cover or upgrade, check the policy documents carefully to make sure they list car insurance flooded engine cover. It is also worth checking if they make a distinction between avoidable and unavoidable water damage.

You can find out what each level of car insurance cover protects you against here.

What is avoidable and unavoidable flood damage?

Flood water damage generally falls into two categories; avoidable and unavoidable.

How your insurer classifies each will determine if they are likely to pay out for a claim for flood damage.

  • Avoidable flood damage: Attempting to drive through flooding could be classified as avoidable and therefore not covered unless you were already cut off by rising water.

  • Unavoidable flood damage: If your car is flooded where you usually park, they will usually class this as unavoidable flood damage and should cover the cost of repairs.

How to claim for flood damage to your car

If you have a fully comprehensive policy you should be able to claim for flood damage. Here is a step by step guide to making a car insurance claim.

You need to phone your insurer as soon as possible because they will explain what you should do.

Do not try to dry the car out yourself as this requires a professional service, your insurer may have a 'recommended partner' that you will have to use.

Let them know how your car is damaged — is it just the engine that is flooded or is there also flooding inside car?

Check if your policy includes cover for personal possessions left in the car. If not you might be able to claim on your home insurance policy.

How do you make a car insurance claim?

Whatever car you drive, make sure you find insurance that covers everything you need as cheaply as possible by comparing all of the policies out there.

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