Car Water Damage: Effects and Insurance Coverage

28 Mar
Many people associate water damage claims with homeowners insurance since water damage typically affects houses. However, cars can also suffer water damage and require extensive repairs. Below is an overview of car water damage and insurance issues.

Effects of Water Damage

Water can damage almost every part of a car. Below are some car parts susceptible to water damage.


Engine damage can occur if water covers the engine while it’s running. An example is if your car rolls into a ditch of water with the engine running. The water can affect almost every engine part, including the transmission, carburetor, and combustion cylinders.

Electrical and Electronic Systems

Modern cars have numerous electrical and electronic parts. Water on these parts of the car causes damage since water conducts electricity. The water can cause short circuits and fry different electronics in the car.


Corrosion is the main threat of water to your car’s body. Corrosion occurs over time, so the car is likely to experience it if you don’t notice water exposure in time or don’t take measures to dry the car after exposure.

Fuel System

Water can contaminate and clog the fuel system. For example, prolonged water exposure can corrode and damage the fuel tank.

Insurance Coverage

Water damage can cost thousands of dollars in repair costs. The repair costs depend on the affected car part, the extent of the exposure, and the duration of the exposure. Below are two factors determining whether your car insurance pays for such repairs.

Available Coverage

Car insurance is available for different risks. The main forms of coverage are liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage. The government requires every motorist to carry liability insurance. However, liability coverage only pays for damage caused by your car to other parties. Collision coverage covers your losses if your car collides with other objects, including other cars.

You may only get water damage compensation if you have comprehensive coverage, which compensates for non-collision damages. Many people don’t have comprehensive insurance since it’s not legally mandated. However, auto loan lenders often require comprehensive coverage from borrowers. In any case, you should get coverage before water damage occurs to protect you from expensive losses.

Cause of Damage

The cause of water damage also matters since comprehensive insurance doesn’t cover every imaginable loss on earth. Here are examples of covered causes of water damage:

  • Water damage due to vandalism
  • Water damage due to storms
  • Water damage due to falling trees

Say a tree crashes on your garage and damages the garage’s roof plus the car during a storm. Comprehensive insurance will compensate you if the damage allows water to enter the car.

However, the coverage excludes water damage that occurs gradually or due to wear and tear. For example, comprehensive insurance won’t compensate you for corrosion due to water damage. Insurance companies consider corrosion natural wear and tear, which insurance doesn’t pay for.

What to Do in Case of Damage

Act first to limit the extent of the damage to your car after water exposure. For example, you should:

  • Not start the car if you suspect that the water reached the engine so that the water doesn’t spread to critical parts of the engine
  • Dry the car as much as possible to limit the water exposure
  • Ventilate the car to get rid of residual moisture

Remember to document the damage, for example, by taking photos. An auto mechanic can also assess the car and then diagnose and document the damage. Use the documentation as supporting evidence for your auto insurance claim.

Water damage can occur when you least expect it. For example, your car can suffer water damage in a freak storm while you are away. The best way to prevent water damage losses is to buy comprehensive insurance. Contact Family Insurance Centers for car insurance quotes and enjoy our professional services.