Leeds drivers warned car insurance may not cover Storm Ciara damage - here's everything you need to know

Storm Ciara has brought severe flooding to Leeds and many drivers will have come across flooded roads.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 4:51 pm
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 4:52 pm

Yet driving through floodwater puts you at extreme risk and even fully-comprehensive insurance plans may not cover the cost of any damage to your vehicle.

With 22 flood warnings and alerts still in place for Leeds, and more heavy rain forecast overnight, there is still a risk of further flooding.

Here is all you need to know about encountering floodwater and whether your insurance is likely to cover damage costs.

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Drivers are warned never to drive through flood damage

What should I do if I come across a flooded road?

West Yorkshire Fire has urged drivers to avoid driving through floodwater at all costs, as they support communities through the wake of Storm Ciara.

Official guidance on the fire service's website says:

- Don’t walk, swim or drive through floodwater. Six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over. Two feet of water can float a car.

River levels remain high after Storm Ciara battered Leeds

- Don’t walk on riverbanks or canal banks.

- Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage. If you’re exposed, wash your hands and clothes thoroughly in clean water.

Will third-party insurance cover flood damage to cars?

Greg Wilson, founder of car insurance comparison site Quotezone, said: "Motorists who have taken out third-party or third-party, fire and theft insurance likely won't be covered for any storm damage to their vehicles."

This is likely to apply whether the damage is caused by flying debris, a falling tree or a river that has burst its banks.

Will fully-comprehensive insurance cover flood damage?

Drivers who hold fully-comprehensive insurance plans will usually be covered for damage caused by flying debris, a falling tree or other wind damage.

However, many drivers will not be covered for damaged caused by driving through flood water.

Greg said: "Many motorists who hold fully-comprehensive may be unaware of the fact that they'll almost certainly be covered for the first two of those eventualities but may not be covered for the third.

"Some car insurance providers include clauses and policyholder guidance in their policy documentation that stipulates motorists must not drive the vehicle through flooded roads, and this clause is often present in fully-comp policies as well as less comprehensive levels of cover."

Always turn back

Greg added: "Getting where you need to go without encountering a flooded road could be easier said than done.

"Unfortunately, though, if you do decide to drive through these roads rather than backtracking to find an alternative route there's a very real risk that you won't be covered for any resulting water damage to your car."