If your vehicle is inundated by water, whether by flash flooding from heavy rain, a hurricane, or a tropical storm, you'll want to be insured for the damage. That's why it's important to get an auto insurance quote for full coverage. Once you have a policy in place and the need to file a claim for a flood-damaged vehicle, there are some things you ought to know before contacting your insurance agent.
Including the Right Coverage Types
Although the law in most states requires drivers to carry bodily injury and property damage liability auto insurance, whether to buy comprehensive and collision insurance usually is up to you. Including comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy pays for damage to your vehicle other than that caused by a collision.
Therefore, if you live in an area at higher risk of flooding, requesting a quote for comprehensive coverage can be a practical step. Not buying comprehensive coverage can save you money on your premium, but then you won't get reimbursed for water damage to your vehicle if it gets caught in a flood.
Assessing the Damage to Your Vehicle
When determining the extent of flood damage, note how high the water got in your vehicle. If water reached above the floorboards, chances are it got into the engine and electrical system. Therefore, you shouldn't try to start the vehicle until a qualified auto mechanic inspects any parts that were exposed to water. While wiring and electrical components may seem undamaged at first, they can begin to corrode later.
Vehicles flooded with salt water are at particular risk of damage showing up later on as salt water is more corrosive than fresh water. Corrosion may occur faster when flooding occurs in warmer weather or in areas with warm climates.
How long your vehicle was exposed to water determines the extent of damages as well. If it wasn't submerged for long, you still may be able to save some of the damaged parts.
Giving Your Insurance Company What It Needs
Contact your auto insurer as soon as possible after your vehicle has been flooded. If you have comprehensive insurance to cover the loss, take photos of the damage your vehicle sustained. Also, take steps to prevent additional damage by covering broken windows with plastic. If you have the vehicle towed to a repair shop for a thorough inspection and estimate of the damage, keep your receipt.
Knowing How the Insurance Payout Works
Even if your vehicle is totaled, your insurance company will only pay actual cash value for repairing or replacing the vehicle. If you financed the vehicle with an auto loan and receive less for the vehicle than what you still owe, you are responsible for paying the difference. But if you get a quote for and then purchase gap coverage when you insure the vehicle, you will be fully covered.
Gap auto insurance pays the difference between the actual cash value the insurer pays you for your vehicle and the outstanding balance you currently owe on your auto loan. Some policies also pay your deductible.
For more information about the insurance you should purchase for your vehicle, contact an agent like those at Montana First Insurance Inc.
After I moved out of my parent's home, I started learning more and more about insurance policies. I was involved in a bad car accident, and I ended up working with my car insurance company as well as my medical and dental insurance companies. I paid my premiums and enjoyed coverage, but I didn't really understand how the entire insurance claim process worked. I wanted to make this blog to help other people like me to learn more about insurance coverage. Check out this blog for more details on insurance coverage, how to file a claim, and what you should expect throughout the shopping process.