My Car Flooded! What Should I Do?

By Nancy B
September 15, 2021

Virginia is no stranger to flash flooding.

On July 8, flash flooding ravaged Northern Virginia, D.C., and Maryland. This historic deluge unloaded up to 4 inches of rain in some areas in 1 hour, causing historic flooding to major roads during the morning rush hour.


This week, Richmond's deluge of rain resulted in stunning flash flooding from the heart of downtown to I-95. Unfortunately, folks tend to take their chances and drive their cars through quickly flooding roadways. Never do this: turn around, don't drown!

Downtown Richmond flood


The truth is, car flooding can happen anytime in Virginia from any prolonged or heavy rain event or from a hurricane or tropical storm. With peak hurricane season in mid-September, it's smart to plan ahead to prevent your car from flooding.

Does car insurance cover flooding?

The good news is that comprehensive car insurance covers this type of damage and damage from things like hail, fire, theft, fallen trees, and deer collisions. Comprehensive car insurance is a separate coverage from collision and liability, so check with your independent agent to make sure you have it. You can also give us a call

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What should you do if your car floods?

  • If you were driving and the engine failed after going through floodwater, resist the urge to restart it. Doing so may cause further damage to the engine. Even if your car did start, you might experience problems days or even weeks after the event.
  • If your car flooded while parked, do not try and start it even after floodwaters recede.
  • Take pictures and provide them to your insurance carrier.
  • If you have comprehensive coverage, you can call your insurance company and file a claim.
  • Have your car towed to a reputable mechanic. Have your electrical system, oil, transmission components, and cylinders inspected.
  • If your car's engine is repairable and water reached your car's interior, it needs to be dried quickly to prevent mold growth. Speak to your mechanic about expediting this process.

      NNINS 24/7 Roadside Assistance: 1-800-913-8847  

NNINS 24/7 Claims Hotline: 1- 877-968-7252



How does a car insurance flood claim work?

After you've begun the claims process and a mechanic has inspected your car, the extent of the flood damage will be determined and provided to your car insurance carrier. You may have a rental car to use during that time if you added that coverage to your policy.

Your insurance adjuster will weigh the costs to make repairs against the value of your vehicle and your coverage limits.  Unfortunately, this type of damage can sometimes result in a total loss depending on the type of car you have and how old it is. In that case, you would receive a settlement check for your car's value to put towards a replacement, minus your deductible. 

How can you prevent your car from flooding?

You can't always predict when something like this will happen, especially when it comes to sudden flooding. But you can avoid car flooding by parking your car on higher ground if heavy rain or hurricanes are forecasted. The best way to prevent car flooding is to avoid driving through any covered roadway, not only to prevent your car from getting damaged but, more importantly, for your safety. 


Learn more about car insurance in Virginia

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