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Motorists could risk winter woe if their cover isn’t comprehensive

23 December 2013

With severe flood alerts issued across the UK in the lead up to Christmas, Gocompare.com is urging customers to check whether their car insurance covers water damage for their vehicle.

Drivers with comprehensive insurance policies should be covered for water damage. However, a study by the comparison site found that around one in 10 (13%) UK drivers opt for a third party only, or a third party fire and theft insurance policy, which means they would not be able to claim should  their car be damaged by flooding.

Scott Kelly, head of motoring at Gocompare.com said, “When flood alerts are issued, people understandably think about their homes. However, it’s important to remember that your car is also at risk of water damage. If you live in or travel to a flood risk area, you should take precautions to protect yourself and your vehicle and it may be worth checking your insurance to make sure you’re covered should something happen to it

“Customers with a comprehensive car insurance policy should be covered for flood related damage, however those with third party only or third party fire and theft cover won’t have this protection. It's essential that drivers know exactly what is and isn't included in their cover especially if their cars are at risk of flood damage.

"Some drivers choose third party only, or third party fire and theft cover, as traditionally it has been seen as a cheaper option. However, in reality the difference in price between third party fire and theft and comprehensive is often minimal, and comprehensive cover can be significantly cheaper than taking out a third party only policy. This is due to some insurers viewing drivers looking for comprehensive cover as being more concerned about the wellbeing of their vehicle, and therefore more likely to look after it.”

For drivers who are in or who visit flood risk areas, Gocompare.com has the following advice:

  • Never attempt to drive through flood water. Not only could water cause damage to your engine, you will also be unable to see any potential obstructions below the waterline.
  • Drivers without comprehensive insurance will not be covered for damage caused by flooding, so find out how much it would cost to upgrade from a third party or third party fire and theft policy, as you may be pleasantly surprised.
  • If your car has been affected by flooding contact your insurer for advice on what steps to take.
  • If your car has been submerged in flood water, do not attempt to start it. If it safe to do so, try to remove the water inside the vehicle and leave your car to dry out.
  • Just because a car is submerged by water, doesn’t mean it’s a write-off, this will be dependent on the amount of damage the water has done to the engine, bodywork and interior. 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 whether or not it is a write-off.
  • If you need to have your vehicle towed, or get temporary repairs, contact your insurer first to see what you will be covered for. Save all receipts and take reasonable steps to protect your vehicle from further damage.
  • Any items inside the car, such as stereos, upholstery and carpets will generally be covered under a comprehensive car insurance policy.