February 1, 2011
Flooding across Queensland has destroyed hundreds of homes and affected the lives of thousands. With the worst of the disaster receding, the question many car owners are asking is whether their car insurance policy covers them for flood damage, and how they can protect their vehicles in the future.
The good news is that many comprehensive insurance policies cover flood damage caused by natural disasters, but you will still need to check with your provider for specific coverage as well as any costs you may incur.
Virgin Money, CGU and NRMA comprehensive car insurance cover their customers against flood damage. Budget Direct's comprehensive motor policy also covers for flooding, storm damage caused by natural storm water run-off and hail.
'We cover everything, except …'
Exceptions to the rule are dotted within many policies; some claims can end up being rejected because of technicalities such as what caused the flooding, the strength of the water, and even your actions.
There's a difference between the driver who makes their four-wheel drive go up against a metre of water, and the driver who wakes up to a flooded garage. So just because your car insurance may cover flooding, it doesn't keep you safe from human stubbornness, which means it's always best to veer on the side of caution.
With the phones ringing off the hook, there might be slip ups and delays on the way to processing your flood claim. The best way to speed things though is to prepare your evidence concisely (times, locations, flood information, photos, eye-witness statements) and hope for the best from your insurer.
When 'no' isn't enough
In a worst-case scenario where your claim has been rejected, most insurers offer additional reviews to double check your case, and as a last resort, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) can step in to make an objective and final ruling.
Now that flooding has drained into the back of our minds, prepare for the future by asking the right questions and comparing the cheapest car insurance policies when you sign up. Popped tyres and scratched rims are one thing, but it's time to get serious and keep yourself afloat when it comes to disastrous flood damage.