1.8 million Bay Area drivers don't have the right insurance to cover their car in a flood

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We saw drivers across the Bay Area Sunday plowing through flooded roadways and stranded in deep water. Undoubtedly they're glad to get to safety -- but now they're facing the damage. Will insurance pay for it?

If you have an auto insurance policy with comprehensive coverage, you should be protected. Statistics by Money Geek finds almost 70 percent of Californians do have that broad coverage. But that leaves millions without it.

So, what type of insurance you have is the question of the day for all these drivers who were stranded on I-880, many abandoning their vehicles. The same question faces others who plowed through flooded streets all over the Bay Area.

A comprehensive insurance policy covers most losses that are not related to an accident. That includes flooding.

"'Comprehensive' is the portion of a car insurance policy that covers flood damage," said Mark Fitzpatrick, analyst with the consumer group Money Geek.

A Money Geek survey finds 62 percent of Californians do have comprehensive coverage -- but that leaves about 14.8 million drivers without it.

In the Bay Area, an estimated 3 million motorists have the broad coverage, but 1.8 million are driving without it.

"If you don't have comprehensive insurance and you had flood damage (Sunday), that means the repair costs are going to have to be paid by you," Fitzpatrick said. "If you don't have savings on hand, that's going to be really tough to make those repairs... because your insurance company is not going to cover it."

An important note is get your car to the shop and get your claim in quickly, as damage to the car might not show up for weeks, as water seeps into the guts of the car. That can cause corrosion and rust. Some drivers find their cars seem to be running perfectly after they get out of the flood, only to find it won't start weeks later.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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