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Flood cover for cars

A car caught in a flood

If you want insurance cover if your car is caught by flooding you're likely to need a comprehensive policy - third-party policies typically exclude such protection. Find out more...

Key points

  • Only drivers with comprehensive car insurance policies are likely to be covered for flood damage
  • Third party options typically exclude flood cover
  • Items inside the car such as stereos, upholstery and carpets will generally be covered under a comprehensive policy
  • Read your policy's terms and conditions with care to know exactly what you are and aren't covered for

Flooding is one of the major reasons for insurance claims, and incidents may be on the rise with climate change.

But Gocompare.com has estimated that up to 17% of UK drivers may not be covered by their car insurance if their vehicle is subject to flood damage.[1]

Drivers with third party only or third party fire and theft policies will not typically be covered for flood damage.

Only drivers with a comprehensive motor insurance policy are likely to be able to claim for flood damage on their insurance, and even then they should check their terms and conditions for exclusions.

"In some - but not all - cases, third party only or third party fire and theft policies may prove cheaper than comprehensive cover," said Gocompare.com's Matt Oliver.

"Drivers may be swayed by this cost consideration, but it's absolutely vital that they understand what is and what isn't included under their cover. This certainly applies if they're at risk of flood damage

"Third party options don't typically offer protection against flood damage, but you should find that a comprehensive policy will. Defaqto logo held by Gio Compario

"What's more, a comprehensive policy may also give a driver cover for things like medical expenses, accidental damage, personal effects and windscreen cover."

Tips for drivers in flood-affected areas

Always consider personal safety above your possessions, but if flood warnings have been issued in your area think about where you could move your vehicle to in order to prevent flood damage.

You should never attempt to drive through flood water. Aside from the fact that you won't be able to see objects lying below the waterline, the water could cause the engine to stall, marooning you in your vehicle. This could be highly dangerous in moving water.

All car engines can be affected if you drive through flood water, although turbo-charged and diesel engines are the most vulnerable.

What if my vehicle is flooded?

Drivers with third-party insurance won't be covered for damage caused by flooding, but if you have a comprehensive policy you should contact your insurer at the earliest possible opportunity to ask for advice on what steps to take.

Should your car be submerged in flood water, don't try to start it - take steps to extract the water if you can, and allow the vehicle to dry out.

If you need to have your car towed, or you need to get temporary repairs, save all receipts and take reasonable steps to protect your vehicle from further damage.

A flooded vehicle is not automatically a write-off. A car parked on a driveway in front of a house

This is likely to depend on how much water has got into the engine, and sometimes a vehicle will dry out without leaving any lasting damage.

In instances where the water has got into the engine, your insurer will arrange for an engineer to assess the damage and will be able to advise on whether or not the vehicle is heading for the scrap yard.

Items inside the car such as stereos, upholstery and carpets will generally be covered under a comprehensive insurance policy, but you should check your terms and conditions.

By Sean Davies