Does auto insurance cover water leaks? (Sunroofs, Floods, + Storm Damage)

Car insurance will cover water leaks if you have comprehensive coverage. However, damage cannot be from personal negligence or normal wear and tear.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

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 (BBB A+). 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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 19, 2022

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Things to remember...

  • If you have comprehensive or collision insurance, you may be able to file a claim for damage due to water leaks
  • You cannot file a water damage claim if the damage was due to your negligence or normal wear and tear
  • You will need to show that you took all reasonable measures to protect your vehicle

If a major rainstorm or flood has damaged your car, or if water leaked through the sunroof, you’ll want to know how to fix the situation. In some cases, the damage can be extensive. You may ask yourself, “Does car insurance cover water leaks?” The answer to this question depends on several factors. Let’s take a look at how insurance works when it comes to water damage.

What types of auto insurance cover water leaks?

If you want to claim water damage against your insurance policy, you must typically have comprehensive coverage. If you only have basic state-required coverage, it only covers your liability in an at-fault accident.

Comprehensive insurance is sometimes called “non-collision” insurance and covers damage from storms, along with things like theft and vandalism. Collision insurance helps cover damage from an accident with another vehicle or object.

Generally, comprehensive insurance will cover water damage to your car, although it depends on the cause. Most policies will cover unexpected damage but will not pay out if the damage was caused by negligence.

Collision insurance coverage may apply if you sustain water damage that’s due to a collision with another vehicle or stationary object. For example, if you’re in an accident during a storm, a broken windshield can let rain leak in while you’re waiting for a tow truck, so collision coverage may apply.

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Causes of Water Damage

There are several causes of water damage, so let’s look at some different situations.

Will insurance cover a leaking windshield?

Comprehensive insurance will not provide coverage if the damage has built up over time due to defective weatherstripping. Most policies will exclude damage that has been left to accumulate, and this is considered negligence on the policyholder’s part. 

If the weatherstripping has deteriorated over time, this is due to wear and tear, so insurance usually won’t apply. It’s your responsibility to act as soon as you realize that there is a water leak from faulty weather stripping in order to keep damage to a minimum.

Does car insurance cover a leaking sunroof?

Much will depend on the circumstances. Again, if the damage is due to poor maintenance, insurance will not cover it. However, if you closed the sunroof properly and water still got in during a big storm, you may be able to file a claim. The insurance company will ask an adjuster to inspect the vehicle and the damage before making a decision. 

If you inadvertently left a sunroof open in rain, insurers will classify the water damage as being due to negligence. You should always take appropriate steps to protect your car, given the possibility of rain.

Does auto insurance cover water leaks from adverse weather?

Comprehensive insurance may cover this situation if you took reasonable steps to protect your vehicle and rain still damaged the interior. You need to show the insurance representative how the water entered the car and prove that it was not a result of negligence or general wear and tear.

Sometimes storms can be particularly severe. Hail may even break windshields or windows. In this case, the vehicle may suffer extensive damage due to hail or rain. Since this type of damage was through no fault of your own, you should file a timely claim.

Does auto insurance cover water leaks from flood damage?

Flooding can be an issue, especially during the rainy season, and it doesn’t take much for an area to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of rain or burst riverbanks. In this situation, water may enter your vehicle’s cabin and damage the engine or other mechanical components. If that happens, your comprehensive coverage should apply.

What if the damage exceeds the car’s fair market value?

Just remember that if the damage is severe and repair costs are likely to be greater than the vehicle’s fair market value, the insurance company may classify it as a write-off. The company would then pay you the depreciated value of the vehicle instead.

Most collision or comprehensive auto insurance policies feature a deductible — the amount you have to pay out of pocket for approved repairs. Compare your deductible to the total estimated repair cost to decide if it’s worth filing a claim.

What You Should Know if Your Car Is Damaged Due to Water Leaks

If water leaks have damaged the inside of your vehicle, you may be able to file a claim if you have comprehensive or collision coverage. Remember, a claim won’t be approved if the damage is due to negligence or general wear and tear.

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