Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationMaintenance & Repairs · 4 months ago

Will car insurance cover water damage that’s my fault?

I went on a trip to salt lake and for the first time used my car to haul something, I rented some jet skis and tried backing them down the dock into the water. I had it in reverse and put the E brake on to get out and see how close I was, when I started to get out of my car I noticed it rolling back and it almost ran over my foot so before I could jump back in and slam on the breaks I had to jump and get out of the way. My car was dragged into the lake, the jet skis are fine but my car is in there. I don’t think my e brake failed because it is a new car I just bought 8 months ago. I must have not put the e brake on all the way. I called my insurance company but they didn’t give me much information on what’s going to happen. Is my car going to be totaled? Am I responsible for the cost/damage since it’s my fault for not being careful or putting my e brake all the way on? Am I going to be responsible for the cost of getting my car out?? What if they do cover it and they don’t total it? Do I have to drive around with a water damage title? It’ll be impossible to sell when I pay it all off if it has a water damage title. I’m really worried someone help

11 Answers

  • 4 months ago

    1) Lesson learned NEVER get out of a vehicle when it’s in gear, unless it’s on fire, underwater, or in some other imminent life threatening condition. I don’t give a **** if you got it on a lift and it’s 5 feet in the air with the wheels free spinning. You never get out of a vehicle with the engine in gear unless failure to do so will result in serious injury or death.  

    2) If you have an auto loan, it’s practically guaranteed that the lender required you to get comprehensive coverage. So that will pay out regardless who’s at fault but to the limit of the policy or the fair market value of the vehicle whatever is LOWER. 

    Q: Will it be totaled?

    A: Only person that can say that definitively is the insurance adjuster. Since it’s salt water, would guesstimate it’s more likely than not totaled. Especially if it’s fully submerged as you’re spot makes it sound. You’re talking about salt water inside every crack and crevasse of the vehicle. Since it was running when it went in the drink likely has damaged every computer and electrical component on board. Even if someone miraculously it didn’t, the corrosive damage alone to the components and body would be beyond economical repair very likely no matter what it’s fair market value. Again though only the insurance adjuster can make that determination and you can appeal their decision and have the right to seek legal representation too to ensure your are not getting screwed over the the insurance company. Granted hiring a lawyer costs money too, so you have to weight the costs either way. 

    Q: Are you responsible for the damage since it’s you’re fault.  

    A: Absolutely you’re at fault, but if you have comprehensive insurance coverage they will pay out regardless of fault. Them paying out for an at fault incident will impact your future insurance premiums for several years, but any premium increase won’t take effect till you renew the policy or get a new policy. Now, end if they do total it, as I suspect, and they pay out as I suspect. They will only pay out up to the policy limit or the fair market value  of the vehicle whichever is LOWER of the two. This is the case regardless if the payout is for repairs or the vehicle being totaled. That payout if totaled, very well could be LESS than what you still owe on the vehicle. 

    Any difference between the payout and the total amount remaining in the loan is your responsibility to pay off, unless you have the optional gap coverage. In you purchased gap coverage it would pay out the difference so the loan is paid off in full. If you don’t have gap coverage, you can try to work with the lender to get them to accept a settlement for less than you owe or maybe even write it off entirely. Be wanted but that can, not will but can, reflect negativity on your credit possibly so take that into consideration too. Also can have tax implications too. So you might would want to consult consult with a tax lawyer before making any decisions. 

    Q: Am I going to be responsible for the cost of getting my car out?

    A: Absolutely, maybe if you have towing coverage  and it’s not too deep in the lake maybe it can be winched out by a tow company at the insurance company’s expanse. If it requires specialized equipment, you could be responsible for any costs not covered by your insurance policy. 

    Q: What if they do cover it and they don’t total it?

    If you have comprehensive coverage they will cover it. You didn’t violate any laws or commit any crimes during the accident. You will be responsible for the deductible on your policy AND any costs above the coverage amounts you paid for in your policy. 

    As far if it isn’t totaled, they will pay to repair the vehicle up to the limits in the policy and you will pay for your deductible and any additional expenses about the policy limit if applicable and continue to own it along with your lender. 

     Q: Do I have to drive around with a water damage title?

    A: Wether or not you’re required to get a water damage title for the vehicle if it isn’t totaled depends on the laws of your state. That’s another subject you might want to consult a lawyer about IMO. 

    It will adversely affect the value of the vehicle but it won’t make the vehicle necessary unsellable. In fact again depending on the laws of your state it might not even require a water damage title. Again when a water damage title is required is based on state law. 

    Granted I am not a lawyer or an insurance adjuster but just being rational human being a vehicle submerged in any significant amount in salt water is more likely than not going to total it. Every time a hurricane hits a populated area, tens of thousands of vehicles with comprehensive coverage are totaled by the storm surge. 

    Source(s): Have dealt with insurance adjusters before more times than I’d like to admit. Mostly not at fault but on occasion at fault. It happens.
  • 4 months ago

    If you have comprehensive coverage, it might be covered under that part of your insurance. If not then congratulations on paying off a vehicle that is ruined, assuming you're still paying it off.

  • F
    Lv 6
    4 months ago

    Fortunately for you, if you have fully comprehensive insurance, it covers being a d!ckhead.

  • 4 months ago

    If you have collision coverage they should pay to restore your car to the condition it was in before the accident. This was an accident that damaged your car - no different than if you took a turn too wide and smashed it into a telephone pole.

    Yes, it was your fault, but you didn't do it on purpose - and that's the important distinction. The whole purpose of collision insurance is to cover damage to your own car in accidents that are your fault - as long as it wasn't intentional.

    If you do not have collision coverage then your insurance won't pay, - again just like they wouldn't pay if you misjudged a turn and smashed into a pole without having collision coverage.

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  • 4 months ago

    It's an accident, like running into anything else. You should have had it towed out of the water by now. The insurance should cover the cost of towing and repair, unless the damage exceeds the car's value. If it can't be repaired, the settlement should be the value of the car before the incident, less the deductible. That might give you money to pay off the note, hopefully. You need the rest of your question answered by your insurance adjuster, not us.

  • 4 months ago

    If you had collision coverage it should cover your car but you will pay a deductible. 

  • Kaz
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    That's what's called an accident, the reason you have insurance in the first place.  Whether it happened because of human error or was possibly caused by mechanical failure, it wasn't done on purpose, so the insurance will pay.  You should call your agent and ask if it will be totaled.  I would think it would be.

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    Most are calling this an accident, covered by your insurance.  I think it's subject to interpretation:  is it an accident when you point a gun to your head, pull the trigger and you die?  is it an accident when a skydiver jumps without a parachute?  Or is it willful negligence? 

  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    i would call them and ask them

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    brakes, not  breaks.  Your insurance should still cover the damage. Salt water isn't good for vehicles.

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