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Last updated: November 12, 2023

Does Car Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

Water damage falls under comprehensive coverage, but it doesn’t cover all incidents.

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Water damage can create serious and expensive damage to cars. Whether you experienced a hurricane or left your windows open during a light rain, how the water damage happened matters if you plan to get compensated for repair costs under a comprehensive car insurance claim. In this article, we’ll explain when comprehensive coverage applies to water damage, how much comprehensive coverage costs, and everything you’ll need to do in the event of a flood.

Does Car Insurance Cover Flooding?

Yes, car insurance covers flooding under comprehensive coverage. That being said, this type of coverage isn’t a requirement in any state. If you want comprehensive coverage, you must add the option to your policy to be covered for flooding.

Does Car Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

Comprehensive car insurance typically covers water damage, including water damage to an engine, if the car isn’t declared a total loss. However, there are some exceptions, like if you left the windows open (this falls under negligence, which isn’t covered). Essentially, as long as the water damage wasn’t your fault, comprehensive coverage will cover it.

Does Car Insurance Cover Wind Storms and Tornadoes?

Comprehensive coverage includes natural disasters coverage, so if your water damage is from wind storms or tornadoes, it’ll be covered.

Does Car Insurance Cover Driving Through Large Puddles or Flooded Streets?

If your car got water damage from driving through a huge puddle or flooded street, the damages will still be covered under a comprehensive claim.1

Does Car Insurance Cover Leaks After Heavy Rains?

If you’ve properly maintained your car and water leaks into your car after a heavy rain, then yes, you can get your water damage covered. However, if your car isn’t in good condition, you may have to pay for the water damage out of pocket, as comprehensive coverage doesn’t include normal wear and tear.

Does Car Insurance Cover Aftermarket Equipment?

Comprehensive coverage applies only to equipment that the original manufacturer installed.2 Say you installed aftermarket equipment in your car, such as speakers or a navigation system. If any of these aftermarket products gets damaged, you won’t be able to get reimbursed for damages under comprehensive coverage.

Does Car Insurance Cover Falling Objects?

As long as you didn’t throw them yourself, comprehensive coverage covers falling objects.

Does Car Insurance Cover Hail?

Yes, comprehensive coverage includes hail coverage, as it’s a weather-related incident.

Does Car Insurance Cover Lightning?

Similarly, car insurance covers lightning if you have comprehensive coverage.

Does Car Insurance Cover Gaps?

In the worst-case water damage scenario, your car is totaled, meaning that the repairs cost more than your car’s actual market value (AMV). In that case, comprehensive coverage would reimburse you for the AMV so you can purchase a new car.

However, the AMV will be lower than what you paid for the car originally, as its value depreciates as soon as you leave the lot. To make sure you get back what you originally paid for the car, you’ll need gap insurance. (If you have a car loan, you’ll get back the remainder of what you owe.) Without it, you’ll receive only the AMV, even if you have comprehensive coverage.

Does Car Insurance Cover Rental Cars?

Car insurance will reimburse you for the costs of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired under a covered claim only if you have rental car coverage. Comprehensive coverage on its own won’t pay for a rental car, so if you lack rental car coverage, you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

Comprehensive Coverage

Since we’ve mentioned comprehensive coverage ad nauseam, let’s dive into exactly what it entails.

What Is Comprehensive Coverage?

Comprehensive coverage is a type of supplemental coverage that includes:

If you experience any of these, comprehensive coverage would reimburse you for the repair or replacement costs related to them, after you pay your comprehensive deductible and up to the policy limit.

For example, if your car is damaged and will cost $5,000 to fix and you have a $1,000 deductible and a $25,000 limit, you’d pay the initial $1,000 and your insurer would cover the remaining $4,000. The higher your coverage limit is, the less it is that you’ll have to pay out of pocket for covered claims.

When to Add Comprehensive Coverage

To get the above events covered, add comprehensive coverage when you initially speak with your insurance agent. If you didn’t add it on and your car got water damage, you couldn’t get it covered retroactively by adding comprehensive coverage to your policy. We recommend getting full coverage, which includes bodily injury, property damage, medical payments, comprehensive, and collision coverage.

Cost of Comprehensive Coverage

In 2019, the last year that federal data was available, the average annual cost of comprehensive coverage was​​ $171.87. See below for your state’s average, or learn more about the cost of car insurance.

State Average annual cost of comprehensive coverage in 2019, low to high
California $96.53
Hawaii $106.29
Oregon $109.76
Maine $115.26
Nevada $119.19
New Hampshire $120.48
Washington $121.13
Utah $127.15
New Jersey $129.97
Ohio $131.37
Connecticut $134.01
District of Columbia $136.31
Indiana $138.86
Rhode Island $141.03
Idaho $142.89
Illinois $144.65
Vermont $148.88
Virginia $149.42
Massachusetts $149.86
Florida $153.00
Alaska $155.11
Michigan $162.01
Maryland $168.01
Wisconsin $168.52
Tennessee $168.07
Kentucky $168.11
Pennsylvania $171.18
New York $172.85
Alabama $180.11
Georgia $180.37
Arizona $208.38
Minnesota $214.55
Iowa $221.72
Delaware $221.94
New Mexico $222.43
Missouri $223.94
West Virginia $225.50
Mississippi $238.95
Arkansas $240.54
Louisiana $252.34
North Dakota $264.98
Nebraska $269.19
Oklahoma $270.19
Texas $285.56
Kansas $286.48
Colorado $298.01
Montana $313.27
South Carolina $317.95
Wyoming $335.04
South Dakota $347.613

Do I Need Comprehensive Coverage?

Unless you have an older car, you need comprehensive coverage. The reason that older cars don’t need comprehensive coverage is because the repairs will most likely cost more than the car’s AMV, so it might be cheaper to pay out of pocket.

Otherwise, you need comprehensive coverage, even on a car that doesn’t run or is in storage. While you might not be using a car currently, it is still susceptible to weather-related damage, vandalism, and theft, so if you ever plan on using it, keep your comprehensive coverage active.

Comprehensive Claims Deductibles

Comprehensive coverage comes with a deductible. How do deductibles work? Well, as we said in our deductibles FAQs, the deductible is the amount of money you’ll have to pay toward a covered claim before your auto insurance kicks in. Deductibles for comprehensive claims tend to be around $500, although they can range from $0 to $2,000.

Choose a deductible you can afford to pay tomorrow if you need to. While higher deductibles mean lower auto insurance premiums, if you can’t pay your deductible, you won’t be able to get covered, defeating the purpose of auto insurance in the first place.

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

Collision and comprehensive coverage are often grouped together as they both pay for damages to your vehicle, not any third party’s. But what is collision insurance? Collision insurance pays for your property damages in the event of an at-fault accident. Collision and comprehensive coverage have some key similarities and differences to take note of:

  • Key similarities: Both collision and comprehensive coverage are optional in every state. Both cover damage to your car, and both include deductibles. Lastly, neither is necessary for old cars, only new cars.
  • Key differences: Collision coverage covers only at-fault collisions, while comprehensive coverage covers incidents other than collisions. Comprehensive coverage is still needed for broken-down cars or stored cars, while collision coverage is not. Finally, the two types of coverage have different costs. On average, collision coverage costs 47 percent more than comprehensive coverage, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

How to Protect Your Car From Flooding

Three actions can protect your car from getting flooded in the first place:

  1. Get to higher ground. Move your car onto higher ground if you know a major weather event is on its way. Check your city’s evacuation plan to find out where to park during a flood.
  2. Cover your car. To protect your vehicle, purchase a car cover, essentially a waterproof bag that you can drive your car into to protect it.4
  3. Seal everything. Obviously, close all of your doors and windows, plus your trunk and sunroof, if you have one. If anything is broken or can’t be closed for whatever reason, seal it with either a plastic bag or a large trash bag.

How to Stay Safe During a Flood

During a flood, it’s important to protect not only your car, but also your home, especially if the car is parked in your garage.

  1. Avoid flood zones. If you can, avoid driving in flood zones, as your vehicle could get stuck or be swept away. This will greatly minimize your risk of flooding, if you have a trustworthy flood map.
  2. Drive carefully. If you must drive through flood zones, drive slowly and make sure the water isn’t reaching your car’s undercarriage. Keep clear of other cars, and keep your engine revving to prevent the exhaust from sucking up water.5
  3. Stop the water. If the water damage isn’t coming from the weather, try to stop it at its source if you can.
  4. Turn off electricity and gas. Turn off your home’s electricity and natural gas in order to protect your home in addition to your car. Remember, typical homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flooding. Rather, you can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, available at many regular carriers. Call the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 877-336-2627 for more information.
  5. Call for help. Call 911 for any and all emergencies.

What to Do if Your Car Is Flooded

Despite your best efforts, sometimes water damage is inevitable. However, your car may be salvageable, in some cases.

Can my Car Survive Flood Damage?

To find out if you can dry out your car:

  1. Survey the damage. Depending on how deep the floodwaters were, and whether the waters were salt or freshwater (salt is more corrosive), you may be able to salvage your car. But if it’s completely flooded, don’t try to start it, as it’ll cause engine damage.
  2. Document everything. Take notes and pictures of all the damage; you’ll need this evidence when you file a claim.
  3. Dry out your car. Open your car’s doors and windows to let fresh air in, given the humidity is lower outside of your car versus inside. You can use fans and dehumidifiers to speed up the drying out process. Throw out any wet items, but keep in mind that if you have asthma or a mold allergy, you may want to avoid drying out your car yourself, as it could cause a serious respiratory illness.
  4. Tow your car. Get your car towed to move it to higher ground.


Before you get your car towed, you have to drain it of its lube, oil, and transmission fluid.6

  1. File a claim. Next, file a claim by contacting your insurance provider. Your provider will have you meet with an adjuster to determine the cause of the flood and how much damage will be covered. You’ll also sign and submit a proof of loss statement.
    How long your claim takes will vary based on the company and the disaster. Learn more about insurance claims.

What if My Car Floated Away?

If your car floated away:

  1. Contact your local police station’s unclaimed auto department to see if it has recovered your car.7
  2. File a claim either way. If your car hasn’t been recovered, you’ll be reimbursed for its AMV. If your car hasn’t been recovered, you’ll be reimbursed for the necessary repairs.

What if Flooding Totaled My Car?

A car is declared a total loss, or totaled, if:

  • It can’t be repaired safely.
  • The repairs would cost more than the car’s AMV.
  • The damage meets your state’s local guidelines.8

If your car is totaled from a flood, comprehensive insurance will cover the cost of its AMV, or the purchase price or remainder of your loan if you have gap coverage in addition to comprehensive coverage.

What if My Flooded Car Isn’t Totaled?

If your car isn’t totaled, you can get reimbursed for the repairs under your comprehensive coverage, after you meet the deductible.

What if I Owe More Than the Settlement Amount?

What happens if you owe more money on your car loan than the settlement you receive from your insurance company? If that’s the case, you’ll still owe that money, as the repayment terms haven’t changed (that is, if you lack gap insurance, which would cover the difference between the settlement and the amount you owe on your auto loan).

If you don’t have gap insurance and you can’t afford the remaining loan payments, you might have to refinance your auto loan.

What if I Think My Car Is Worth More?

Think your car is worth more than the value your insurance company gave it? Insurance companies value cars based on their vehicle safety ratings, mileage, repairs, and other factors. If you disagree with the AMV:

  1. Talk to your appraiser. Be sure to mention any upgrades you’re made or aftermarket products you’ve added to your vehicle that have increased its value.
  2. Gather evidence. Research similar vehicles and their selling prices, and give this information to your appraiser.
  3. Hire a private appraiser. If you can’t come to an agreement with the appraiser that your insurance company provided, hire a private appraiser for a second opinion.


Hiring a private appraiser will cost you $200 to $300 out of pocket.

  1. Check Kelley Blue Book. The Kelley Blue Book is one of the most authoritative vehicle valuation tools. Look up your vehicle to get an estimate of its AMV.

How to Get a Copy of the Title

If your car was badly damaged and your title was in the car, you may have lost its proof of ownership. If it’s missing or has been destroyed, you’ll need to apply for a duplicate title through your state’s DMV or equivalent agency. See below for the contact, fees, and notary information for each state.

State Mailing address Fee Notary required Link to form URL to apply online
Alabama Alabama Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Division – Title Section
P.O. Box 327699 Montgomery, AL 36132
$15 Only if someone other than the owner completes Section I of the application
Alaska State of Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles
Attn: CORRESPONDENCE 3901 Old Seward Highway, Suite 101 Anchorage, AK 99503
$15 Yes
Arizona Motor Vehicle Division
P.O. Box 2100 MD 555M Phoenix, AZ 85001
$4 No
Arkansas Charles D. Ragland Taxpayer Services Center
Room 1040 1900 West 7th St. Little Rock, AR 72201
$10 No
California DMV
P.O. Box 942869 Sacramento, CA 94269
$23 Yes, if the registration shows a legal owner
Colorado Colorado Department of Revenue Vehicle Services Section
P.O. Box 173350 Rm 147
Denver, CO 80217
$8.20 Yes, when applying on behalf of the record’s owner
Connecticut State of Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles
Attn: Specialized Registry Services
60 State Street Wethersfield, CT 06161
$25.00 Yes, if the lien is still outstanding
Delaware State of Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 698
Dover, DE 19903
$50.00 Yes
District of Columbia DC DMV
P.O. Box 90120 Washington, DC 20090
Yes, but the amount is not listed Yes, if you are not the owner
Florida Local tax collector’s office $6, or $11 for expedition Yes, when a total loss from an insurance company is being paid
Georgia County tag office in your county of residence $8 Yes, if the title is to be mailed to the attorney
Hawaii Division of Motor Vehicle, Licensing & Permits
P.O. Box 30330 Honolulu, Hawaii 96820
$10 Yes
Idaho Ada County Processing Center P.O. Box 140019 Garden City, ID 83714 $14 plus $26 if expedited Yes
Illinois Office of the Secretary of State Vehicle Records Processing Division
501 S. 2nd. St. Room 424
Springfield, IL 62756-6666
$50.00 Unknown
Indiana Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
100 N. Senate Ave. Room N411 Indianapolis, IN 46204
$15 No
Iowa Vehicle & Motor Carrier Services Iowa Department of Transportation
P.O. Box 9278
Des Moines, IA 50306
$25 No
Kansas County treasurer’s motor vehicle office $10 plus $3 if it’s a repossession vehicle Yes, if someone other than the vehicle owner presents the form to pick up the title
Kentucky Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Division of Motor Vehicles Licensing
200 Mero St. Frankfurt, KY 40622
$6 Yes
Louisiana Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 64886 Baton Rouge, LA 70896
Yes (amount is not listed) Yes
Maine N/A $46 No N/A
Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration Title File Unit
6601 Ritchie Highway NE
Glen Burnie, MD 21062
$20 Yes, if a representative of the owner is applying for the duplicate title
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Title Division P.O. Box 55885 Boston, MA 02205 $25 No
Michigan Michigan Department of State Special Services Branch
7064 Crowner Drive Lansing, MI 48918
$15 Yes, if another individual is applying for the duplicate title
Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services – Central Office Town Square Building
445 Minnesota Street Suite 187
Saint Paul, MN 55101-5187
$11 filing fee $2.25 technology surcharge $8.25 title fee $7.25 duplicate title fee Yes
Mississippi Mississippi Department of Revenue Motor Vehicle Services
P.O. Box 1383 Jackson, MS 39215-1383
$9, or $39 for expedition Yes, if anyone other than the owner is mailing the replacement title
Missouri Motor Vehicle Bureau
301 West High Street Room 370
P.O. Box 100 Jefferson City, MO 65105-0100
$8.50 duplicate title fee $60 processing fee Yes
Montana Vehicle Services Bureau
P.O. Box 201431 302 N. Roberts
Helena, MT 59620
$10.30 No
Nebraska Country treasury office $14 Yes
Nevada Any DMV office $20 Yes
New Hampshire NH Dept. of Safety DMV – Title 23 Hazen Drive Concord, NH 03305 $25 No
New Jersey New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Special Titles Section/Duplicate Titles
225 East State Street P.O. Box 017 Trenton, NJ 08666-0017
$60 Yes, if the person submitting documentation isn’t the owner
New Mexico Vehicle Services Bureau
P.O. Box 1028
Santa Fe, NM 87504
$5 Yes, if the applicant is the legal representative of the owner
New York Title Bureau NYS DMV
P.O. Box 2750 Albany, NY 12220-0750
$20 Yes, if the person submitting documentation isn’t the owner
North Carolina NC DMV 3148 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27697 $21.50 Yes
North Dakota Motor Vehicle Division, ND Department of Transportation
608 E. Boulevard Ave. Bismarck, ND 58505
$5 No
Ohio County Clerk of Courts Title Office that issued the original title $5 Yes
Oklahoma Oklahoma Tax Commission Motor Vehicle Division
2501 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73194
$11 title fee $1.55 mail fee Yes
Oregon DMV
1905 Lana Ave. NE Salem, OR 97314
Depends on year and fuel efficiency of vehicle: $101-$192 No
Pennsylvania Bureau of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 68593 Harrisburg, PA 17106
$58 Yes
Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles Research and Title Office
600 New London Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920
$52.50 Yes
South Carolina SCDMV
P.O. Box 1498
10311 Wilson Blvd Blythewood, SC 29016
$15 Yes
South Dakota Local county treasurer’s office $10 Yes, if you aren’t the owner of the vehicle N/A
Tennessee Local county clerk’s office $10 Yes, if you aren’t the owner of the vehicle
Texas Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
1601 Southwest Parkway, Suite A Wichita Falls, TX 76302
$2 by mail or $5.45 in person Yes
Utah Division of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 30412
Salt Lake City, UT 84130
$6 No
Vermont Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, Agency of Transportation
120 State Street Montpelier, VT 05603
$22 No
Virginia Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles P.O. Box 27412 Richmond, VA 23269 $15 No
Washington Any vehicle licensing office $35.50 Yes, but only if mailing
West Virginia West Virginia Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles, Receiving and Processing
P.O. Box 17710 Charleston, WV 25317
$15 Yes, if you aren’t the owner of the vehicle
Wisconsin WI Dept. of Transportation
P.O. Box 7949 Madison WI 53707
$20 No
Wyoming To the County Clerk of Teton County, Wyoming
P.O. Box 1727 Jackson, WY 83001
$15, but only if mailed Yes

Will My Insurance Rates Increase After a Flood?

Unfortunately, your insurance rates could increase after a flood, even if it wasn’t your fault. However, you can expect that they won’t increase as much as they would have if you were involved in an at-fault accident.

Comprehensive claims suggest a higher risk for future claims, but each company has its own policy on how much they’ll affect your premiums. Progressive, for example, won’t charge you for the first claim under $500. When you get your auto insurance in the first place, ask your agent or broker about premium increases following comprehensive claims.


With a few exceptions, like leaving your car windows open in a rainstorm, people with comprehensive coverage should be able to get their water damage covered. Of course, comprehensive coverage is optional in every state, but we recommend it as part of your full coverage.


  1. Does car insurance cover water damage? Progressive. (2022).

  2. Does Car Insurance Cover Water Damage? Allstate. (2018, Apr).

  3. 2018/2019 Auto InsuranceDatabase Report. NAIC. (2022).

  4. How-To: Protect Your Car from Flood Damage. Certified Autoplex. (2022).

  5. How To Protect Your Vehicle From Flood Damage. Payne. (2020, May).

  6. What to do if your car has flood damage. State Farm. (2022).

  7. Total Loss Threshold by State. Appraisal Engine.