Does auto insurance cover hydrolock?

Your comprehensive auto insurance may cover hydrolock. Check your policy for exclusions to make sure. The average cost of comprehensive coverage in the US is $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: Oct 26, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Hydrolock occurs when too much water enters the cylinders of your car engine
  • Hydrolock can damage and even destroy your engine
  • If you have comprehensive auto insurance, it might cover hydrolock
  • You need to check your policy’s exclusions, though, because several of them might apply to hydrolock damage
  • There are several steps you can take to ensure you get the best car insurance deal

Hydrolock is a severe vehicle malfunction caused by too much water entering the cylinders of your car engine. In the best cases, it only causes minor damage, and a skilled mechanic can get your vehicle up and running again.

In a worst case scenario, hydrolock completely destroys your engine, effectively totaling your vehicle.

It goes to saying that vehicles driven in rainy climates where flash floods are frequent have a higher risk of hydrolock. You see it frequently happen when a driver misjudges the depth of a puddle or section of standing water during or after a rainstorm.

Sometimes it happens independently of driver error, such as in a hurricane or flood situation.

No cut and dry rule exists for whether your car insurance covers hydrolock. It depends on several factors. These factors include:

  • the terms of your policy
  • what kind of coverage you have
  • what caused the hydrolock to happen

Compare car insurance quotes today by using our free rate tool above. You could save hundreds of dollars a year on your insurance premiums.

Different Coverage Types

To understand if your car insurance covers hydrolock, it helps to be familiar with the different types of car insurance plans and what each one covers. The three main auto insurance coverages are:

Liability Insurance

Liability coverage is the most common type of auto insurance. Part of the reason it’s so common is that it’s required in nearly every state. Only New Hampshire and Virginia let you drive without it, but even in those places, it’s risky.

Liability keeps you from having to pay out of pocket when you’re at fault in an accident and cause damage to another vehicle or injury to another person.

Most states establish minimum levels of liability coverage that you must maintain. In some places, these minimums are laughably low and won’t protect you in a typical collision.

California, for instance, only requires you to carry $5,000 in property damage coverage – significantly less than the average car there is worth. Therefore, it can be smart to pay a little extra and get better liability coverage.

Collision Insurance

Collision coverage pays for damage to your own vehicle in a collision when you’re at fault. If you don’t have this coverage and cause an accident, you won’t be compensated for your damages.

If the other driver is at fault, then their insurance should pay for your damages. Since few, if any, cases of hydrolock result from actual collisions, it’s doubtful this type of coverage will ever pay for your damage in that situation.


Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage is for everything non-collision-related that might damage your vehicle. The following situations all fall under the purview of comprehensive insurance:

  • Storm damage
  • fire damage
  • theft
  • vandalism

If your car insurance policy covers hydrolock, it will be because you have comprehensive coverage.

That said, having comprehensive doesn’t guarantee that you’re covered in all hydrolock situations.

Every policy is different, and you should review yours to learn the specifics of what is covered and what isn’t covered. Moreover, certain situations exist in which hydrolock is almost never covered. The following sections shed more light on these situations.

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Every auto insurance policy has a section that lists exclusions. These exclusions are items for which your policy explicitly does not cover you.

Here’s an obvious example: most auto insurance policies with comprehensive coverage pay for fire damage.

However, if your car gets damaged in a fire because you intentionally set the fire or were playing with matches, your car insurance company will almost certainly exclude this situation from coverage if it finds out.

Here are some common exclusions you might find in your car insurance policy.


Most auto insurance policies won’t cover you if they find clear evidence that you neglected your vehicle, which led to damage.

For example, if you leave your car parked in a precarious spot for weeks at a time and someone finally runs into it, your insurance company might deny your claim after a thorough investigation.

There’s a chance an insurer classifies your hydrolock as a result of neglect.

Remember that insurance companies are businesses that exist to make money. They want to keep their revenues high and their expenses low. So they don’t hesitate to deny claims when they feel they have a valid reason to do so.

If the insurance company can argue that you could have taken reasonable measures to prevent hydrolock from occurring, they might try to get out of covering it.

Abuse or Misuse

Abuse or misuse is just like it sounds. If you run off the road while drag racing, there’s almost certainly an exclusion written into your policy that your insurance company won’t pay for the damage.

Some cases of hydrolock can fall under the umbrella of abuse or misuse, at least according to the insurance company.

Consider the example above where the driver attempts to ford a puddle and misjudges its depth.

The insurance company might argue that intentionally driving into a body of water with unknown depth during a storm constitutes vehicle abuse or misuse.

Consequently, they might deny a claim for hydrolock damage that results, even if the policy includes comprehensive coverage.

How to Avoid Hydrolock

The following tips can help you avoid finding yourself in a hydrolock situation.

  • Never buy a car that was previously in a flood without having a qualified mechanic look at it first.
  • Never attempt to cross puddles of unknown depth in a storm.
  • Follow all evacuation warnings for severe weather events, such as hurricanes.

Getting the Best Car Insurance Deal

No matter what your insurance policy covers, you want to get the best deal on it. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision.

  • Compare three to four policies – the first quote you receive may not be the best one, so look at several policies side by side before choosing one.
  • Don’t just consider the price – the cheapest policy isn’t always the best policy. You get what you pay for, so think about value and not just price.
  • Customer service matters – what good is having car insurance coverage if you can never get someone on the phone when you need help?

Hydrolock is a devastating situation when it happens. Severe water damage can put your car engine out of commission forever. Consult with your auto insurance policy your agent to see if and when your policy pays for hydrolock damage.

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