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3 Easy Steps to Take When Dealing with Flood Damaged Cars

By Teri Dormer


If you live in an area that’s prone to flooding, you’re probably no stranger to water damage.

When you know a major storm or extreme weather is coming, you take certain precautions to protect your home and your possessions before it’s too late – and that includes your car. 

While you may do everything possible to try and prevent having to deal with flood-damaged cars in your driveway, it’s always a possibility when the weather gets intense.

If you go out to your car and notice water may have gotten inside, you now have to start the process of managing a flooded car and determining how to fix a flood-damaged car without doing even more damage to your wallet. Let’s take a look at your options. 

Assessing the Damage of a Flooded Car

The storm has passed and now it’s time to access the damages. But how can you really tell if you’re dealing with serious damage or few droplets in the interior?

Here’s a simple checklist you can follow to determine how best to proceed: 

  • Do not start a car that may have flood damage. Until you know for sure, you can cause even more damage by trying to turn the engine over without realizing what’s happening under the hood. 
  • Look for a water line, typically left in the form of dirt or some other debris, to determine how far the water might have risen during the storm or flood. It’s worth noting that if the waterline isn’t above your car doors, it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that major damage has occurred. In contrast, if the waterline is above the dashboard, it’s more likely your car will be totaled.
  • Check the oil. It may not seem like the right time for an oil change, but checking the dipstick for signs of water can give you a more compressive understanding of whether or not your flooded car has major engine damage.

So Your Car Has Flood Damage – Now What?

Assuming you’ve determined there was major water damage to your car after a flood, it’s time to start the repair process.

You may not know how to fix a flood damaged car yourself, but you can take actions that help preserve certain elements of your interior to reduce the likelihood of your car being totaled.

  • Call your insurance company and start to sort through your coverage. A representative will be able to help you understand how far your coverage extends and what kind of deducible you should expect to pay.
  • Take out all of the floor mats. You don’t want to leave standing water in your car while you wait for the insurance company to tow the vehicle or inspect it. Instead, pull out the mats and start to clean and dry as much of your interior as possible. 
  • Leave all the windows open to help your car air out. If you have a portable carpet cleaner, you may even want to start cleaning the seats and floorboards to remove as much of the dirt and moisture as possible. 

Dealing With Insurance on Flood Damaged Cars 

If you have flood damage to your car but you aren’t entirely sure how bad it is, your best option is likely to proceed through your car insurance provider. If you have comprehensive coverage, your insurance policy likely includes flood damage and will help to pay for the cost of repairs to fix your flood damaged car. 

If you decide to file a claim to help cover the cost of repairs, you have to consider the same pros and cons as with filing any claim.

Consider the cost of your deductible against the total cost of repairs and keep in mind that your insurance premiums can always increase after filing a claim.

Get a Quote Compare multiple policies to get the coverage you need at the price you want.


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