Hurricane Sandy destroyed an estimated 250,000 cars with flooding the main cause. If your car got swamped by the storm, you need to act fast. Start by checking your insurance coverage. If your policy only includes liability coverage, you’re out of luck. Only comprehensive coverage protects against flood damage.
What to do if Your Car is Covered With Comprehensive
- Contact your car insurance provider. The sooner the better. After contacting your insurance company, have patience. Due to abnormal circumstances, it may be days until a claims adjustor arrives at your door.
- Snap photos of the damage. Both inside and out. This includes inside the trunk and under the hood, if applicable.
- Try to protect the vehicle from the elements until the claims adjustor arrives. If the interior is exposed from busted windows or worse, try to cover the car. Buy a car tarp (most car shops carry them) and keep the receipt. Depending on your insurance provider, you may be reimbursed for the expense.
- If you cannot find your car because it floated away, you should still contact your insurance provider. Most car insurance companies have systems in place for locating washed away vehicles.
What to do if Your Car is Not Covered for Flood Damage
- Assess the vehicle’s flood damage. Look for the waterline. If it did not reach the dashboard, the car may still function. Otherwise, it’s safe to assume the car is a total loss. Due to the electronics in today’s vehicles, any water amount, especially seawater, that reaches above the dashboard is fatal.
- Even if you think the flood damage was minimal, do not try to start it. Introducing an electrical current by attempting to start the engine could cause further damage. Have the car inspected first by a certified mechanic.
- Be sure to have all fluids – oil, gas, transmission, brake, gas, window washer – removed.
- Change the spark plugs, air and oil filters.
- Dry the interior. Exercise caution. Many fires have started from people trying to dry interiors using space heaters. Consider hiring a specialist. Be sure to pay special attention to carpeting. Wet carpeting left unattended can cause rust.