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Is water damage covered by car insurance?

With floods claiming the top spot for Canada’s most frequent natural hazard1 and average annual precipitation increasing nationwide,2 many Canadian car owners are wondering how far their coverage extends when it comes to protecting their vehicles from water damage.
Whether or not your vehicle is covered for water-related damage depends on your insurance policy and how the damage occurred.
Basic car insurance policy
All Canadian car owners are required to have a basic car insurance policy that provides Liability & Accidents Benefits insurance coverage. This coverage—while important—does not cover damage caused by acts of nature, such as heavy rainfall or a flash flood. For weather-related coverage, you’ll need to consider an extended coverage plan like comprehensive or all perils insurance.
Comprehensive or all perils insurance policies
Comprehensive insurance provides coverage for many non-collision-related losses, such as weather events. All perils insurance combines collision and comprehensive coverage, plus additional coverage.
If your insurance policy includes comprehensive or all perils insurance, you may be covered for water damage to your vehicle depending on the source of the damage. Damage caused by weather events out of your control, such as heavy rainfall or an overflowing lake or river, is often covered by comprehensive or all perils insurance. However, water damage caused by something preventable and within your control (such as leaving your car’s windows open during a rainstorm) likely won’t be covered.
Ultimately, your coverage for water damage to your vehicle is subject to the exclusions and limitations indicated in your policy. Check with your insurance broker to confirm what water-related damage you’re currently covered for and to discuss your coverage options. 
Preventing water damage
The best way to avoid water damage to your vehicle is to prevent it from happening altogether. It takes as little as 15 cm of water to reach the bottom of most cars—putting yourself, your passengers and your vehicle at serious risk.
Never drive over a flooded road and avoid driving over puddles. Even if a puddle looks shallow, you cannot tell how deep the water is and don’t want to risk underestimating its depth. Check the weather forecast before hitting the road to avoid being caught in a heavy rainstorm or flash flood.
When parking your vehicle, opt for a garage or indoor parking lot if you have one available to you. If you park outdoors, consider purchasing a cover for your vehicle to prevent water leaks, especially if your vehicle has a sunroof.
With severe weather events on the rise in Canada, it’s important to know that you have the coverage you need when you need it. Particularly if you live in a high-risk area for heavy rain and flooding. Connect with your insurance broker to learn more about your current car insurance policy and what coverage options are available to you.

If you have questions about your current OTIP car insurance policy, contact us at 1-833-494-0090. If you’re shopping for car insurance and would like to get a quote, connect with an OTIP broker today at 1-888-892-4935.

  1. Government of Canada
  2. Government of Canada — Canadian Centre for Climate Services
  3. Forbes
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