Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Aug 25, 2021

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The lowdown...

  • There has to be an event or accident that led to the water damage for insurance to cover it
  • You will often need comprehensive coverage on your policy
  • A claim has to be filed so that the water damage doesn’t get worse

Water damage can be extensive inside a car. There’s the obvious mechanical risks of water seeping into different parts of your car. Unfortunately, even when repairs are done, drivers still experience phantom issues down the road. This is why insurance companies are prone to totaling out flood damaged cars. If you want to keep and repair your car after a flood, it’s essential to know whether insurance will cover the damage and what the limitations are.

You also need to know if it’s covered at all. If you only have collision and liability insurance, you would be on your own for water damage. Water damage would only be covered under comprehensive insurance.

Has your car recently experienced water damage? If you need better auto insurance, compare at least three to four policies today by entering your ZIP code above!

How Does Insurance Handle Interior Water Damage?

Interior water damage could include leather, upholstery, and various other areas of the inside of your car. It could also include electronics like your radio or other stereo systems.

You will need to explain to the insurance company how the interior damage occurred.

If it is because of leaving the windows open during a major storm, you likely aren’t going to get the claim approved. Regardless of what kind of coverage you have, the interior damage has to occur because of an actual problem, not because of neglect. Likewise, if you leave it for a couple of weeks before calling your insurance company, they may be hesitant to cover the damage.

If your sunroof glass broke because of hail damage, it’s understandable that water could leak into your car. Additionally, if your car is parked somewhere and there is a flash flood, water is likely going to enter your car. In any of these circumstances, if the damage was left for an extended period, you could forfeit coverage for part or all of the damage.

There are situations where interior damage would be covered by insurance. You will need to have comprehensive coverage, which provides protection for the things you cannot help.

Your basic insurance policy takes care of what happens if you are involved in an accident. Water damage falls under comprehensive because floods and storms are included within comprehensive coverage.

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Does Insurance Cover Engine Damage?

Water and your engine don’t mix very well. If water gets into the engine and various other mechanical components, it could cause a lot of damage. Typically, when you’re in a rainstorm, water may go around your engine, but it doesn’t get too deep in the system.

If your car gets affected by a flood or even gets driven off of a bridge or into a lake, your car is surrounded by water. The water then has the chance to seep into tiny cracks and damage the mechanical systems in your engine.

You might be tempted to just replace your whole engine after flood damage. This would be the only way to be 100% sure the engine itself was not waterlogged after repairs. Unfortunately, water could still be hiding in other parts of your car that connect to the engine. This could cause phantom engine issues later on. If you repair a water damaged car, your insurance could be hesitant to offer full coverage (especially comprehensive insurance), or they could charge you a lot more to do it.

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If you drove the car into a lake or were involved in an accident where you drove off a bridge, you need to have the documentation to support your claim. Documentation could include such things as:

  • Photos
  • Police report
  • Tow truck receipt
  • Witnesses

Insurance companies want to make sure that you are being truthful with them. They might conduct their own investigation to determine what happened within their guidelines. If you have questions, you can reach out to your insurance agent, but the adjuster will be handling the valuation and investigation. They’ll also work with a repair shop to estimate the cost of repair.

Particularly when you have a lot of damage, it might be necessary for the insurance company to look deeper into what caused the water damage.

If the water damage is extensive enough, the insurance company might choose to total your car. Because of all the unknowns associated with that level of water exposure, totaling is more common. Totaling a car is common if there is significant engine damage as well as a lot of damage to other mechanical components and the interior of the car.

How did the water damage take place?

There are all sorts of reasons as to why water gets into your car. However, you have to look at whether it’s something that could have been avoided or not.

The things you cannot avoid, such as storms, floods, hail damage, and accidents are the things that insurance company is more likely to cover. However, your car will be taken care of only if you have comprehensive coverage.

The things you can avoid, such as leaving windows open or driving your car too close to a lake or beach, might not be covered.

You might find that there is a lot of fine print within your auto insurance policy; you need to take the time to read it. Some insurance companies spell out a long list of scenarios where damage would not be covered.

If you experienced water damage because of doing something that is listed in the fine print as not being covered, it doesn’t matter what kind of coverage you have. The claim would be denied.

How Do You File A Water Damage Claim?

It’s important that you file a claim against water damage as soon as possible. If you allow the water to accumulate or sit inside your car, you’re going to encounter more problems. Some problems include such things as:

  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Rust

When you file a claim with the insurance company, they will often have you bring your car down to a collision center or body shop. Being able to see the car in person will allow the insurance adjuster to take photos and determine the full level of damage.

If it looks as though you allowed the problem to go on for longer than necessary, at least a portion of your claim may be denied. Your silence allowed the problem to get worse and thus cost more to repair, and insurance companies of all types have exclusions for neglect. Unfortunately, this could affect your car and any associated personal property claim.

If various things inside your car got damaged because of the water intrusion, such as cell phones or electronics, these would not be covered by your insurance. It might be possible to file a claim with the manufacturer or with your home insurance, but belongings inside your car won’t be covered by auto insurance.

Once the claim is approved, insurance will tell you where you can take your car to get it repaired. The process will also involve you paying the deductible that is identified within your policy.

When you get auto insurance, floods and other water damage have to be a consideration. Rather than leaving yourself vulnerable, it’s best to add comprehensive coverage. You can then be more confident that you have the necessary coverage on your car.

Getting online quotes will also allow you to see just how much it will be to add the coverage. Often, it’s not much money when spread out across monthly premiums.

Water damage is often covered, though you need to have comprehensive coverage in place. Further, you want to ensure the water is as a result of something that could not be avoided. You can then confidently file a claim knowing that auto insurance will take care of it for you.

Need better coverage for your car? Start comparison shopping today by entering your ZIP code below!