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

Auto insurance covers water leaks from natural disasters, but not negligence. Water damage to your car is covered under comprehensive coverage. The average comprehensive auto insurance rates are $11.57/mo.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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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 (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 and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Dec 16, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Your auto insurance may cover water entering your car due to a storm or other accident.
  • Comprehensive auto insurance coverage is necessary to file have a claim for water leaks.
  • Auto insurance may not pay for a water leak that goes unreported for a long time.
  • Over time, materials that seal sunroofs can deteriorate causing water leaks.

Water leaks are a unique problem when it comes to car insurance. Depending on the circumstances, they can happen suddenly as a result of a storm or develop slowly over time. Does auto insurance cover water leaks? Does car insurance cover a leaky sunroof? Read on to find out if, and when, water leaks may be covered, and what type of auto insurance coverage you need.

Compare car insurance quotes today to find the best rates for the coverage you need to protect you from water damage. Enter your ZIP code into our free rate tool above to get started.

Does auto insurance cover sunroof leaks?

Does auto insurance pay for a flooded car? If a water leak has flooded your car, you need to file a claim with the insurance company as soon as possible. Does full coverage insurance cover flood?

If the leak is a result of the weather, then you’ll need to have comprehensive insurance coverage, which is part of a full coverage policy.

This type of coverage will pay for claims for “non-driving” related incidents that might occur, including:

  • Major storms
  • Floods
  • Hailstorms

If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, your claim will most likely be denied.

Any claim you file may result in your auto insurance provider raising your insurance rates to offset the money they spent on the claim. Unfortunately, this includes claims filed because of weather-related events. This video from CNN explains more about how auto insurance companies respond to natural disasters.

Comprehensive coverage isn’t a state requirement. If you finance your vehicle, though, it might be required by your lender. If you want to add this coverage to your policy, you should get quotes from multiple companies to see what the cost impact will be. Let’s watch a short video that explains the importance of comprehensive auto insurance coverage.

Wondering how much comprehensive coverage will set you back? Take a look at the table below for the average comprehensive car insurance rates in each state. This information comes from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

NAIC Average Comprehensive Auto Insurance Rates by State
StatesNAIC Average
Comprehensive Rates
New Hampshire$115.63
New Jersey$129.12
North Carolina$133.49
Rhode Island$136.58
New York$179.31
South Carolina$197.24
New Mexico$197.95
West Virginia$213.34
District of Columbia$224.28
North Dakota$241.51
South Dakota$308.71
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Comprehensive coverage is roughly the same with each car insurance company, however, the rules for comprehensive auto insurance coverage are different in each state, as well as the cost to enroll. if you’re living in an area known for heavy downpours, tornadoes, and hurricanes, it’s a good idea to have comprehensive coverage.

Often, adding comprehensive coverage will only mean a small increase in your monthly premium.

Comprehensive works differently than collision coverage. Here’s a video from an insurance agent that explains the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage.

Once you know more about the kind of insurance you have, you’ll know if you can file a claim with your insurance provider. If the water leak is due to your negligence or you don’t have comprehensive coverage, then you don’t have to file a claim with your insurance company.

How much does insurance pay for water damage? Comprehensive doesn’t have a set limit, but the insurance company may have an estimate for repairs that they won’t go over.

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What causes water to leak into your car?

Water isn’t meant to get inside of a car. However, there are certain makes and models that are more susceptible to leaking, especially those with a moonroof.

Here are the most common reasons water might be getting into your vehicle:

If the water is entering your car because of a storm or other accident, then you might be covered by your car insurance, depending on what types of coverage you have on your policy.

If you have a water leak because you left a window or the moonroof open, then your insurance company will deny the claim. This damage happened because of negligence.

You should always try to be proactive. For example, if you know there is a flood warning in your area, keep your car in a garage if possible.

How does the level of water damage affect the claim?

The level of damage is going to be taken into consideration as well. If you only have a small amount of water in your vehicle, you should still report it so a claim can be opened.

After you’ve done so, you’ll take your car down to get inspected and the insurance company will decide if they’re going to accept your claim. They will then determine the cost of the repairs.

Average Cost of Sunroof Repairs
Repair TypeParts and Labor Costs
Clean Drainage Area$80 - $150
Replace Sunroof Glass Panel$300 - $400
Replace Damaged Cables or Tracks$500 - $800
Replace the Sunroof Motor$200 to $500
Moonroof Replacement$1,000 - $2,000
D.I.Y.$100 - $250
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If the damage is so severe that it’s obvious water has been leaking into your car for weeks, your claim might be denied, because insurance companies have a set amount of time in which claims must be filed.

The damage might be considerably greater than if you had reported the leak when you first noticed it.

Why doesn’t liability coverage pay for sunroof repairs?

Each state has different liability coverage rules. Let’s start this section with a video that explains how liability coverage works.

Liability auto insurance coverage is designed to cover bodily injury and property damages for the other driver if you’re at fault in an accident. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage that occurs while you’re not operating your vehicle. Collision coverage is strictly for property damage, regardless of who is at fault for an accident.

What is a sunroof and how does it work?

A sunroof is an opaque panel in the roof of the car that can be manual or electrically powered. Sunroofs prevent light from passing through when closed and allow the outside air and sunlight to come in when opened. Sunroofs are popular and often featured in luxury cars, though it’s not uncommon for a sunroof to be installed on less expensive vehicles as well.

Motor vehicles that have a manual sunroof have a lever the motorist can move to open and close it. According to Kelley Blue Book, manual sunroofs sometimes include vents instead of a sliding panel.

Take a look at the video below, which shows you how the sunroof works in a little more detail.

Types of Sunroofs

All sunroofs on motor vehicles have the same basic functions with slightly different designs. Most newer car models have electric sunroofs, as opposed to the manual versions you find in older models.

From Safelite, here’s a list of sunroof types you’ll see in popular vehicles, featuring both luxury and cost-efficient models.

  • The pop-up sunroof is a panel of opaque glass with a hinge that allows the glass to tilt upward for ventilation. Pop-up sunroofs can be manual or electric.
  • The spoiler sunroof is a type of sliding sunroof that opens by tilting up and sliding back on a track along the roof. Some vehicles have sunroofs that are a combination of the pop-up and sliding sunroof.
  • The panoramic sunroof works differently. The multi-pane sunroof works like a moonroof system, which tilts and slides open farther than a spoiler sunroof. The panoramic sunroof is made up of multiple panes that form one unit when closed. The multi-panes retract upon the slider track and stack against one another when opened. Panoramic sunroofs are designed to open above the front and rear cabin.
  • The solar sunroof is probably the most innovative. This opaque sunroof glass is inlaid with photovoltaic solar panel cells that power the vehicle’s inner ventilation system using stored electricity from the solar panel. This ultimately saves battery power.
  • Top-mount sunroofs are sliding sunroofs that are stored along tracks above the roof outside of the vehicle. This sunroof type allows for extra headroom inside the car.

If you have a sunroof and you don’t know what kind it is, you can ask the dealership or do a google search for your make and model. Knowing which sunroof you have can help you troubleshoot common issues and give you some knowledge on how to proceed if you need repairs.

What’s the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof?

We mentioned moonroofs briefly when talking about panoramic sunroofs. A moonroof is a tinted glass panel that’s an additional window positioned in the roof of your vehicle, just like a sunroof. The tinted glass will allow more sunlight to enter your vehicle without opening the roof.

Kelley Blue Book reported that moonroofs are often advertised as sliding sunroofs due to the glass panel’s features.

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Sunroof Troubleshooting

If you can’t get your auto insurance company to cover the cost of a malfunctioning or damaged sunroof, the repairs would be your financial responsibility. Depending on the damage, the cost of repair could be hundreds or thousands of dollars. This section will explore why your sunroof isn’t working, the cost of repairs, and the D.I.Y. method that could help temporarily until you can get the money for sunroof repairs.

Possible Reasons Why Your Sunroof Isn’t Working

Your Mechanic is a website dedicated to providing information on repair costs, auto repair technicians, and issues related to your motor vehicle. This subsection will discuss the most common sunroof malfunctions.

Sunroof Motor Is Broken

While we all love innovation in our vehicles, with new technology comes new potential problems, like sunroof electrical issues. You may think your broken sunroof is an easy fix, but if you’re dealing with an electrical malfunction, an auto repair professional is much better equipped to handle it. Manual sunroofs operate using hinges and are easier to repair, while electrical sunroofs require more advanced knowledge and skills.

Sometimes the internal gears of the sunroof motor will lock up or break, preventing the motor from functioning properly. Sometimes a fuse blows, or an electrical issue in the vehicle cuts power to the motor. Replacing the motor could cost $100 to $500 without the cost of labor.

Sunroof Seals Are Damaged

If the motor or sliding door is functioning properly and your sunroof is still leaking, it could be due to corroded or clogged seals.

Over time, the rubber and other materials that seal the sunroof can deteriorate from weather, pollen, and other grime. This creates gaps in the seal that water can leak through. Your Mechanic reports that a broken seal more than likely has to be replaced, which could cost at least $500.

Sunroof Cable and/or Sunroof Track Is Broken

In addition to panels and sometimes a motor, the sunroof has a system of cables and tracks that connect to the motor. The cables and tracks work together and pull the sunroof open and closed.

When one or more of these components is damaged or broken, the sunroof will not work properly or won’t work at all. Damaged cables or tracks require the sunroof to be removed and replaced with a new sunroof assembly, which could cost at least $800 to repair.

Sunroof Glass Panel Is Broken

Damaged sunroof glass is an inconvenience, but it’s not a significant hazard as one may imagine. According to Your Mechanic, the sunroof glass panel is shatter-resistant, which will reduce the risk of the glass breaking into shards if it’s damaged. However, the broken glass panel may result in leaks.

It’s also important to remember that shatter-resistant isn’t equivalent to shatter-proof. It’s better to replace the sunroof glass panel altogether if it’s broken. Replacing the glass may be a simple job, but the issue is removing any potential tiny glass shards from the area.

The cost to replace a sunroof glass panel ranges from $200 to $500 without the cost of labor and clean-up. Expect the estimate to vary depending on the auto repair shop.

D.I.Y. Sunroof Repair

Water leaks may or may not be covered by auto insurance. The best thing you can do is be proactive in protecting your car. You’ll want to look at the kind of coverage you have on your policy, as well as why the leak is occurring.

If you don’t have comprehensive coverage, your insurance provider may not pay for the damages, and if you have a relatively simple problem, you may want to consider fixing your sunroof yourself.

Here’s a video describing how you can try a D.I.Y. method to repair your sunroof if your insurance claim is denied or you don’t have the proper coverage.

If you’re pretty handy and you’d prefer a more professional fix, take a look at the next video to get a more extensive look at how to fix your leaking sunroof.

If the damage is weather-related, then you might be able to get the repairs paid for by your insurance provider. But remember — comprehensive coverage is a necessity if you want to have a claim approved for water leaks.

Frequently Asked Questions: Auto Water Damage

The final section will go over some popular questions about water damage to cars. For more information about our other articles, guides, and reviews, click the Auto Insurance logo at the top left of this webpage to navigate our site.

#1 – What can water damage do to a car?

Water damage to cars can affect the electrical parts on a car such as fuses, car batteries, and even some parts in the engine.

#2 – How high does water have to be to flood a car?

It only takes a height of six inches to flood a car.

#3 – Can your car be totaled from water damage?

Yes and no. Sometimes insurance won’t total flooded cars because they’ve determined that the car can still be driven. Car flood damage insurance claims may pay for other components, but you’ll have to ask the auto insurance company what they’ll cover.

#4 – How do you get auto insurance to pay for water damage?

Auto insurance companies cover water damage through comprehensive coverage. Geico and Progressive car insurance water damage policies pay for water damage through flooded affected car insurance claims.

#5 – Does a car warranty cover water leaks?

Your car’s warranty will cover repairs to the sunroof if it’s a manufacturing defect, but likely won’t cover water damage to the vehicle.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to see how much you could save on the coverage you need to protect from water damage.

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