State Farm is offering tips for drivers who experience flooded vehicles in the wake of Tropical Storm Nicholas.
Before & during the storm:
- If you believe your vehicle is at risk for flood, move it to higher ground if possible.
- If flooding occurs when you're on the road, stay on high ground. Avoid driving in deep water, especially when the water could be fast-moving or the depth is not known.
- If your vehicle stalls, do not attempt to restart it, as your engine may be damaged. Leave it immediately and seek higher ground.
Vehicle Flood Damage Checklist:
- Record the highest level of water exposure on your flooded vehicle. Take pictures/video.
- Act quickly. Start drying out your vehicle as quickly as possible, and contact a towing service to get it back to higher ground. Oil, transmission fluid and lube may need draining before a tow.
- Look under the hood. This is where you'll find clues as to how extensive the flood damage may be. Unless you're an auto expert, you may want to partner with a mechanic for the following tasks:
- Check the oil dipstick. Look for water droplets, which likely indicate that there is water in your engine.
- Remove water-damaged cylinders and check for corroded spots.
- Change the oil and transmission fluid. You'll want to do this again after the car is drivable and you've gone several hundred miles.
- Check the fuel tank and line. Use a store-bought siphon pump to remove some fuel. If you note any water (which would naturally separate from the fuel), you'll want to empty the tank completely.
- Clean the interior. If floodwaters were more than a few feet deep, water probably made it to the inside of your car. Here's what to do next:
- Remove all moisture. Use a wet/dry vacuum to collect standing water, and cloth towels to absorb water that has soaked into the seats and carpet. Remove seats and seat cushions if possible, and use fans and dehumidifiers to accelerate the drying process.
- Check electrical components. Extensive flood damage could require a trip to the mechanic to get parts replaced.
Once you know the extent of your car's flood damage, you'll need to weigh repair costs against the cost of replacing your car.
If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, it will generally cover flood damage to a vehicle, subject to your deductible if you have one.
- Not all drivers have this coverage; talk to your agent if you are unsure about your coverage.
- Contact your agent or insurance company and advise them that your vehicle has been flooded. The sooner the vehicle can be evaluated and dried out, the less damage the vehicle will sustain.
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