Is Your Auto Insurance Responsible If The Car Is Flooded In A Parking Lot?

Posted on: 23 December 2019

A flash flood can quickly cause dramatic levels of rainwater in city streets and in parking lots. Sometimes people in stores and other buildings must be rescued by emergency workers because there is no way for them to safely exit. Who is liable for damage that occurs to vehicles parked in the lot? Will your auto insurance pay for the cost of repairs?

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive automotive insurance is the first line of defense in this situation. That coverage pays for repairs or the market value of the vehicle if the insurer declares it to be a total loss. Flooding of the wheels and the interior may be repairable. However, once that water reaches the engine and other major components, the repairs may be too expensive compared with the car's value.

Property Owner Liability

What if you don't have comprehensive insurance? Can you collect payment from the property owner? The problem, in this case, is that liability for a property owner is generally connected with negligence. The owner has the responsibility of keeping the premises safe for anyone who goes there. A flash flood is out of this person's or organization's control and impossible to manage.

Even if flash floods have become an annual occurrence in the parking lot, the owner probably is not considered liable. The issue is more likely associated with inadequate city storm sewer drainage than with conditions in the commercial lot.

In a similar way, property owners typically are not considered liable if a freak ice storm occurs and someone slips and falls. There was no way anyone could have responded quickly enough to de-ice the pavement.

One situation in which there may be a liability issue would be if a drain grate in a parking lot was covered with debris and that's why the flood occurred. It can be difficult to prove this, however. Someone would need to have evidence of the blockage before the water rose. Once the water recedes, debris covering a drainage gate cannot be blamed on the property owner because that could have been caused by the flood.

Making Sure You Are Covered

Understanding your automotive insurance policy is important so you know which types of incidents are covered. If you're concerned about the possibility of your car being harmed in this way, talk with an insurance agent about adding comprehensive coverage to your policy if you don't already have it. You might want to get quotes from other companies to see if any rates are more competitive. Look for an auto insurance company to learn more.