Agent explains car insurance coverage after Montgomery flooding

Agent explains car insurance coverage after Montgomery flooding
The afternoon rain left many vehicles flooded and damaged. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
The afternoon rain left many vehicles flooded and damaged. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Heavy rain early Tuesday afternoon brought flash flooding to some areas of Montgomery. Though water levels receded almost as quickly as they came, drivers who had parked their cars at places like the state house, Old Cloverdale, and Alabama State University were left with damage to their vehicles.

Katrina Barlow had her vehicle parked in the state house lot on Tuesday. She said employees were asked to move their cars due to flooding, but she didn't make it out in time.

Barlow said she's not sure exactly how much damage her vehicle suffered from the flooding because she hasn't tried to turn it on yet.

"I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do," Barlow said. "I'm just going to leave it and let my insurance come look at it, or just tow it."

Barlow was one of many in the lot to get on the phone with their insurance companies once they realized how severe the flooding got.

Otanaio Robinson, principal agent at Robinson Bryant Insurance Agency, said days like Tuesday show the biggest difference in car insurance policies.

Robinson's agency is an independent company that connects clients with a number of different insurance companies. He said he deals with a number of different plans from different companies. When it comes to flooding, Robinson said the question that matters is whether you have Liability Auto Insurance or Full Coverage Auto Insurance.

According to Robinson, liability insurance protects the other driver(s) if you are in a collision and at fault. Full coverage plans usually include comprehensive and collision coverage that protects both you and the other driver(s) if necessary.

Issues like flooding fall under comprehensive coverage.

"Comprehension will cover things such as a flood or someone breaking into your car, or taking something from your vehicle," Robinson said. "It's something other than a collision with another vehicle."

If your car is flooded and you have comprehensive coverage, Robinson said you will most likely be covered depending on the severity of the damage and your deductible.

Robinson said about 70 percent of his clients have full coverage insurance, while nearly 30 percent only have liability insurance. On average, Robinson said liability insurance costs half as much as full coverage insurance due to what each service provides. For that reason, he said usually drivers with more expensive cars or who are financing their vehicles will have full coverage, while younger people or people with lower-valued cars may tend to have liability insurance.

"Some would just rather pay less for insurance, it's safe to say," Robinson said.

However, Robinson said incidents like Tuesday are a soggy reminder that it's better to be insured and not need it than to need insurance and not have it.

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