Car Insurance - flood damage

Car Insurance - flood damage
About this post

We’ve all seen the dramatic video footage of many parts of Australia under metres of flood waters.

Cyclones, tropical lows and other weather variances have been responsible for everything from dumping deluges to flash flooding across areas that have been bone dry for at least a decade. Some say La Niña and global warming mean that this type of weather could be here to stay, which means we need to be prepared for future flooding that leaves a huge amount of damage in its soggy wake including to our cars.

Car flooded?

No, we’re not talking about giving the engine too much choke. We’re talking about the more serious casualties of flooding rains and huge seas: cars swept off causeways, flooded bridges, vehicles engulfed as giant waves crash over sea walls. If your car was last seen swirling down a flooded river or languishing at home in a water-logged garage, what do you do next?  Unfortunately, if your car is not insured there is very little you can do to recover the cost of your vehicle. If your car is insured, however, you need to know exactly what your policy covers and what, if any, costs are incurred.

Who’s at fault?

More often than not, it comes down to the individual circumstance. For example, an optimistic motorist takes on a flooded causeway, only to discover that Mother Nature’s four-wheel drive mechanism is a heck of a lot stronger. Compare this scenario with a motorist simply caught off guard by flash flooding and you will see that there are any number of reasons a claim can be lodged for flood damage to a vehicle. Luckily for motorists, insurers cover a wide range of flood-related damages claims but whether the incident is treated as an “at fault” claim varies between insurers. This may or may not affect the status of your driver rating so it is worth checking out.

Related stories

Make sure you’re not out of pocket

Examine the fine print on your car insurance policy to see whether there are any circumstances where your policy won’t cover you. For the most part, provided  the damage or loss to your car was not intentional or fraudulent, you will be covered with any flood or water damage claim you make. This is not to say you should feel confident crossing swollen rivers in your sportscar but you can rest assured that, should the worst happen, it’s unlikely you will be hung out to dry by your car insurer.

What to do if your claim is rejected

If you're at all concerned about your claim being rejected, gather as much evidence about the claim as you can, such as photos, eyewitness accounts, information about the peak time of the flood waters and time of your journey. This helps you mount your case to the insurance company. If your claim is rejected but you wish to have the matter taken further you must first request an internal review of the claim from your insurer. If, after this review, the claim is still rejected you can have it reviewed for free by the Insurance Ombudsman Service (IOS). This is an independent body which has the power to make binding decisions by which the insurer must abide. You can contact the ombudsman online at

Related Links

This is an information service. By browsing on the website and/or using our search tools, you are asking RateCity to provide you with information about products from multiple financial institutions. We will try to show you a range of products in response to your request for information. The search results do not include all providers and may not compare all features relevant to you, for further details refer to our FSCG. The rating shown is only one factor to take into account when considering these products. We are not a credit provider, and in giving you product information we are not making any suggestion or recommendation to you about a particular credit product. If you decide to apply for a product, you will deal directly with a financial institution, and not with RateCity. Rates and product information should be confirmed with the relevant financial institution, and you should review the PDS before you decide to purchase. See our terms of use for further details. This advice is general and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider whether this advice is right for you.