Tips to make sure your insurance covers your flooded vehicle

Is your vehicle protected in a flood?
Published: Aug. 30, 2013 at 10:41 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 30, 2013 at 11:24 PM EDT
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SUMMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - It's not unusual to go from hot weather to heavy rain in the Lowcountry. And the longer you live here, the more likely you are to find yourself driving through standing water.

Even a few inches of water can flood your engine and cost you thousands. However, you need to make sure your insurance will cover the repairs. Jason Wilson loves his jeep.

"I baby it, so this is like one of my children," said Wilson.

But about a month ago, a storm in Summerville left his jeep in deep waters.

"It was an apartment complex, and you had to get out so you have no choice but to go through the water," said Wilson. "We went through it and water was deeper than expected."

Right after Wilson made it through, he knew his engine had not.

"I tried to start it, then I heard the knocking noise."

The flood happened in a flash and cost him about $5,000. Wilson found out his car insurance would pay for the engine. But, insurance agents warn not every type will.

"The comprehensive coverage on your car is where you get your flood insurance from," said Bill Silcox, Chief Operations Officer at C. T. Lowndes Insurance.

In the state of South Carolina, you're not required to carry comprehensive insurance, only liability, which protects you if you hit a person or property. In the Lowcountry, comprehensive insurance can really come in handy.

"If you are downtown in the market place, and the rain comes and the water levels rise, [it's] all the same under comprehensive," said Silcox.

Some mistakenly think homeowners insurance will cover a vehicle if it's in a garage that is attached to the house. Insurance agents said this isn't true.

"If you put your motorcycle inside your house and you have flood insurance on your house, it does not cover your motorcycle," said Silcox.

Before you even purchase a vehicle, insurance should be considered because if you buy one that has a salvaged title, some insurance companies may not cover you. Vehicles damaged in a flood will often get a get a salvaged title.

You can check an online database like Carfax, or ask the dealership if you're buying from one, to see the vehicle history report to make sure it hasn't been in a flood.

Experts say comprehensive insurance will also protect you if you back your vehicle into water like at a lake when you're trying to lower your boat into the water.

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