What To Do If Your Car Has Flood Damage

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Flooding affects thousands of people every year.

Do you know what to do if your car has flood damage?


From hurricanes to water-logged streets, flooding can do a lot of damage. And while you might have put some thought into how to clean up your home after a flood, you might never have considered what to do if your car has flood damage.

Thousands of cars are damaged from flooding every year, and the issue only worsens in the aftermath of a major hurricane.

Being prepared for life’s disasters involves more than stocking up on batteries and bottled water. You also need to have the right know-how and the right insurance coverage.


What To Do If Your Car Has Flood Damage

Florida is surrounded by water, which means there are many ways that a car can become damaged with water. Hurricanes, summer storms, submerged vehicles…it can all add up to a colossal mess.

But taking the right precautions will ensure that your efforts don’t do more harm than good.

1. DON’T Start Your Car

Even after flood waters have receded, do not start your car if it has been in a flood!

If water has entered the intake valve, starting a flooded car will only draw the water into your engine. The water can also come into contact with your car’s electrical system.

And if you have a hybrid or electric car, the risks are even greater. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), flood-damaged EV and hybrid batteries are highly corrosive and can spark a fire.

Instead, disconnect the battery and call a towing service to take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic as soon as possible for assessment.

2. DO Remove Excess Water

The longer that water sits in your car, the greater your chance of long-term damage, so don’t hesitate to remove as much water as you can.

First, use a shop vac to remove any standing water in the interior of your car and soak up any excess water in the upholstery with towels. If possible, remove floor mats and place them outside to dry out and leave the car doors open for air circulation.

These simple steps will help, but any cleanup beyond this should be left to the professionals.

Water is very good at finding tiny spaces and crevices, from behind your dashboard to inside your doors. Removing water (especially dirty water) from your car is a very time consuming process that can be difficult to perform correctly. This is not the time for a DIY project!

3. DO File a Claim

First, check with your agent to see if your insurance policy covers flooding or water damage under your Comprehensive coverage. If it does, file a claim with your insurance company.

If the flooding was extensive, there’s a chance that your car may be declared a total loss, as completely removing all water from the various nooks and crevices of a car can be extremely expensive.

4. DO Replace Your Vehicle

If your insurance company honors your claim, you will be compensated for the cost of your car or the needed repairs (minus the deductible), up to the policy limit. You can then use this reimbursement to repair or replace your vehicle.

In most cases, owner-installed electronics (such as stereo systems) will not be covered, so expect to replace those from your own pocket.

5. DON’T Purchase a Water Damaged Car

After a major flood, it is common for the market to be “flooded” (pun intended!) with water damaged cars. While Florida law requires that flood-damaged cars are branded as such on the title, this doesn’t stop dishonest sellers from trying to pawn off their hazardous ride on an unsuspecting customer.

If you have the VIN number for a car you’re interested in, visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to check the car’s history.

Otherwise, examine the car carefully for any signs of water damage:

Water stains
Mold or mildew
Musty smell
Sand, dirt, or mud in corners
Rust on screws where water doesn’t normally reach
Poorly functioning electronics

6. DO Get Coverage Today

Having the right coverage on your auto insurance policy can provide much-needed financial assistance in the event of a disaster. But without it, you’ll be facing the storm on your own.

Many insurance companies put “binding restrictions” when a storm is on its way, which means you will not be able to update your coverage. That’s why it’s important to examine your coverage early to make sure you’re protected.



Having the right insurance coverage can make all the difference between you feeling underwater after a disaster or high and dry.

At Harry Levine Insurance, we believe in educating our clients about insurance before presenting them with options that fit their lifestyle, needs, and risk tolerance. At every step, we’ll put our knowledge and experience to work for you, steering you away from flimsy, cheap car insurance in favor of policies that will actually protect you.

Call today for a free quote!

The post What To Do If Your Car Has Flood Damage appeared first on Harry Levine Insurance.

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