Houston Vehicle Flood Damage
You’re driving home late in a thunderstorm. The wipers can barely keep up with the pace of the rain as your lean all the way against your steering wheel to see the road ahead. You pull into your neighborhood and see the water is slightly higher than the curb, but you live two blocks away—you’re going to make it. The water seems to rise up quicker and the next thing you know—your car dies. You try to restart it and nothing.
Unfortunately in the scenario above will more likely lead to an engine replacement, if not a total loss. If you see the water is halfway above the tires of the vehicle ahead of you do not proceed. Locate high ground and wait out the storm.
If the water has snuck on you while you were driving through water—do not attempt to restart the vehicle. Find a safe place to wait until the storm passes and have your vehicle towed to a licensed repair facility.
If your vehicle was parked on the street and water got into the vehicle—do not attempt to start the vehicle. Call a wrecker or your trusted repair facility to pick up the vehicle so it may be properly examined. As a general rule, if the water reached the dashboard, more than likely, it will be declared a total loss.
Many consumers may not be aware that their insurance covers flood damage repair. Be sure to call your insurance company to see if you have coverage. It is extremely important to find a well-qualified shop that will keep proper documentation of the entire process. Remember you have the right to choose your repair facility. Insurance cannot obligate you to take the vehicle to one of their "approved" shops/vendors. By opening an insurance claim you are protecting yourself in the event you begin to have issues in the future as you can bring up any new items within two years. Proper documentation will also be important and helpful whenever it comes time to sell the vehicle, as you will be able to provide the new owners with proper documentation showing the vehicle was professionally repaired.
Even if water entered your vehicle and you have not noticed any difference in performance—you need to still have it inspected by a certified professional. If the carpet is still damp, also have them properly remedy the situation. In most cases they will need to remove the carpet and replaced the jute padding under the carpet. While they are in the process the automotive repair shop will have a chance to inspect the many side air bags sensors and modules, which are located on the vehicle floorboard. Just because you are not experiencing any problems today does not mean you may not experience anything in six months.
Flooding is not meant to be taken lightly, but if even if there is no official warning of severe flooding—the risk is just not worth it. Not because you could damage your vehicle as listed above, but for you and your passengers’ safety. In Texas 76% of all flooding fatalities are vehicle related according to Storm-Related Mortality report by the CDC.
This is an image from a vehicle driven through water and it stopped.