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Does my policy cover a moldy car?


A

Question: I just uncovered my vehicle that I store for the winter and the entire interior is covered in mold. The mechanicals under the hood are also moldy or corroded. The car has T-tops, which may have been the source of the leak.  Will my car insurance policy cover this? 

Answer: Uncovering your stored car to find it in such condition must be distressing, and, unfortunately, it’s doubtful that your auto insurance policy will cover any of these issues. Car insurance policies terms and covered perils vary, but most are pretty specific on what is actually covered in regards to water damage.

Comprehensive is the portion of a policy that covers water damage, but it has to be the result of a covered event.

If the mildew and corrosion damage were the result of storm damage that caused water to seep into your car (such as from a broken window or T-top) or floodwaters, then your comprehensive coverage would normally cover your vehicle’s damages. But if it was just sitting and there was a mechanical issue (such as the T-top that wasn’t properly closed or sealed), this is not usually covered.

The expected response from your auto insurance company will be that the water damage (corrosion, mildew and mold) was due to lack of care, improper storage or lack of  maintenance – none of which is covered by auto insurance.

Some policies specifically state that since mold and mildew are preventable problems, they will not be covered, while other policies may just not list it as a covered peril. For recreational vehicles (RVs), some auto insurers, such as GEICO, sell mold and mildew coverage (since these vehicles tend to be stored at least for part of the year) but this type of endorsement isn’t normally available to a personal auto insurance policy.

All this being said, car insurance companies policy terms vary. If the cost of the damage to your vehicle is substantial (way over your comprehensive deductible amount), it is worth the time it takes to read over your policy thoroughly and contact your insurance agent to clarify if any portion of your damage could be covered by your comprehensive coverage.

If your auto insurance provider does allow you to make a claim and will repair some or all of the damage, then your deductible would be due. If the cost of repairs is close to the value of the vehicle, then instead of repairing your vehicle, they will probably say the car is a total loss and settle with you for its actual cash value, minus your deductible.

A comprehensive claim typically doesn’t raise your auto insurance rates, but depending upon your state’s laws and insurer’s rating system, it could. Or if you’ve made multiple auto claims in the last few years, this new one will likely cause your rates to rise due to the amount of claims you’ve made.

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