Flooding in the Charleston, SC, area is nothing new. High tides – especially when mixed with heavy rains – can result in significant flooding in certain areas of the city. A tropical storm, hurricane or even a historic rainfall can leave plenty of vehicles underwater.
Flood water is a nasty mix of dirt and water that can significantly damage your car’s exterior and interior as well as the inner workings. If you live in an area prone to flooding, move your vehicle to higher ground if possible.
Also avoid driving through standing water, which is not only dangerous but can significantly damage your vehicle if water gets into the engine.
Sometimes, though, a flooded vehicle is unavoidable. So what should you do if your car gets flooded?
Contact the insurance company as soon as possible. Especially if a catastrophe has hit your community and many people have flooded vehicles, you’ll want to get in touch with your insurance company quickly. This way you’re one of the first in the claims processing line.
If you have comprehensive insurance, the cost should be covered by your Charleston, SC, car insurance company. If you only carry liability insurance coverage, though, you’ll be paying for the repairs (or a new car) out of pocket.
In situations like these, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of have full coverage versus liability insurance. The liability coverage – which takes care of any damage you cause in an accident – may cost you less when it comes to premiums. But when something like a flood hits, you could be faced with the cost of paying for a whole new vehicle or a high repair bill.
Try to avoid further damage. If the windows are broken, cover them with plastic or cardboard. Don’t start your vehicle as that can cause more damage. Also get the car dried out as quickly as you can. This may help you avoid a total loss as well as developing mold. Be sure to contact a professional for assistance; don’t try to dry your car on your own.
Take photos of your vehicle. Be sure to capture photographs of your car inside and out, the flood waters and any surrounding damage. If insurance companies are processing a lot of calls after a hurricane, for example, it may be a few days before they get to you so it’s a good idea to document the incident as soon as it’s safe to go outdoors.
Use your insurance company’s preferred auto repair or body shop. Even if a flood-damaged car has been repaired, it’s at a greater risk for problems that develop down the road. By using your Charleston, SC, car insurance company’s preferred provider, then the work is probably guaranteed. Be sure to confirm that guarantee with both the insurance company and the repair shop and ask how long that guarantee lasts.
An important step is to make sure you have adequate coverage long before you need it. At least once a year, assess your Charleston, SC, car insurance coverage and make certain you understand the policy and what it covers. If you’re not satisfied, don’t hesitate to get additional quotes from other car insurance companies.
If you need to switch or upgrade your policy, don’t wait until a hurricane is on the way. Insurance companies may put restrictions on purchasing insurance is there’s a tropical storm or hurricane in the imminent forecast.
Learn more about Manning Insurance Services’ Car Insurance Policies.