Does car insurance cover flood damage?

Britain is in what’s called the 'temperate climatic zone' so the sea affects the weather. That means we get winters as well as wet summers, but the weather conditions are very changeable.

Flooded car

And with so much rain pelting down, it’s little surprise the country is susceptible to flooding – not good news for motorists or homeowners. But what does flooding mean for our cars and, more specifically, does car insurance cover flooding?

Does car insurance cover flood damage?

If you have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy you may be able to claim for damage to your vehicle as a result of a flood as long as you’ve taken every precaution to safeguard your car. If you take a risk and drive your car into a flood, you may not be covered for any damage caused.

Most insurers put flood damage into two categories – avoidable flood damage and unavoidable flood damage.  Avoidable damage could be classed as someone driving into flood water – you never know how deep it is.

Six inches of water is enough to reach the bottom of most cars causing potential loss of control and stalling. Cars can float in just 12in of water while 2ft of water is enough to drag away most cars.

Unavoidable flood damage could be classed as your car getting damaged by floods when it’s parked at its usual spot – such as at home.

Car safety in flooding

Follow these top tips from our Claims team to make sure you’re taking every precaution in a flood

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast for you area. Local news outlets, the Met Office website or the Environment Agency will all have information on predicted weather for your area
  • If you live in an area that floods often, think about where you leave your car so you can access it if necessary
  • If floods are predicted, try to move your car to higher ground
  • If the weather is bad, do not drive in areas renowned for flooding 
  • Don't just follow the car in front of you through flooded areas - you never know how deep it is or if you’ll be able to get out
  • It's not just your car you are putting at risk by driving into a flood, just two feet of water is enough to sweep a car away
  • Similarly, if your area is flooded and your car is submerged, do not try to start the engine
  • If your car was flooded but the water has subsided, you still shouldn't try to start the engine. You don't know how much water and mud is trapped in the engine and exhaust, and trying to start it up could do more damage. Instead, speak to a mechanic to get the engine cleaned and dried out 

Making a claim for flood damage

The quickest and easiest way to make a claim is through My Account where you can find your policy information and documents.  A flooded vehicle is not an automatic write-off; it will depend on whether or not water got into the engine, and how much. If the engine is unaffected, the car may be able to simply dry out leaving no lasting damage.