Most drivers are aware that their cars may be damaged in auto collisions, parking lot mishaps, and vandalism. They usually depend on their auto insurance policy to cover damage caused by collisions or careless drivers, and know that although they may never need to file a claim, the protection is there. Many people do not realize that cars, trucks, and other vehicles may be damaged in ways other than collision.
Damage to automobiles may be caused by factors other than collision with other drivers, including hail, rain, fire, and flood. In the event of a natural disaster or destruction caused by such factors, the auto insurance policy may provide protection for the driver.
Comprehensive coverage typically provides protection for damage caused by factors "other than collision". Such coverage may be essential for drivers who find their vehicles have been flooded, burned, or damaged by animals. In some cases, damage from fire or flood may be far worse than collisions, and may require the vehicle to be completely total.
In the event of heavy rain or flood, cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles may be severely damaged. Engines and mechanical systems need to stay dry to operate properly and may be permanently damaged if they are submerged in water for an extended amount of time. In addition, the interior cabin of most vehicles may be sensitive to water and can easily be damaged if flooded.
While cars and trucks are often designed to withstand the elements, they usually are not equipped to survive serious flooding or other natural problems. Rain, snow, and sleet may be easily defected by the car's tough exterior, but flooding often means the engine and other critical components may be exposed to water.
Following a flood, the driver may wish to have his or her car examined by a mechanic to assess the damage that may have been caused by the high waters. He or she will typically check to see if the car runs and if or not any of the systems have been damaged. In addition, the driver may want to check to see if the seats, floor mats, and interior of the car has suffered damage due to the flood.
If the car is inoperable or damaged beyond repair, the insurance appraisers may decide that it is completely "totaled". If a vehicle is considered to be totaled by the driver's insurance company, he or she may be compensated for the damage. Depending on the circumstances, drivers may receive payment for the actual cash value of the vehicle before the incident occurred.