Helpful Tips from Kars4Kids
Post-Hurricane Sandy Flood Damaged Car Tips
Hurricane Sandy has left a tremendous amount of devastated cars in it’s wake. From flood damaged cars, to cars suffering from tree damage, or cars suffering any kind of damage at all. Cars suffering from flood damage have been the most common kind of damage we at Kars4Kids have been seeing, although there are way too many of the others as well.
We’ve created this resource for those of you unfortunate to be dealing with a flood damaged car or the like.
List of insurance companies phone numbers for filing claims
Allstate Insurance: 800-547-8676 or online at www.allstate.com
GEICO: 800-841-3000 or online at www.geico.com
Liberty Mutual Group: 800-225-2467 or online at www.libertymutual.com
Nationwide Insurance: 800-421-3535 or online at www.nationwide.com
Progressive Insurance Group: 800-274-4499 or online at www.progressive.com
State Farm Insurance: 800-732-5246 or online at www.statefarm.com
If you don’t know your insurance company call 888-379-9531 or visit www.floodsmart.gov and they can pull it up with your name and zipcode
In heavily damaged areas, contact www.fema.gov, (800) 621-3362 for government assistance.
Check your insurance policy or credit card benefits, as many will offer free roadside assistance
- Don’t try to start the car. If there’s water in the engine, transmission or fuel system, you’ll just compound the damage.
- Disconnect the battery ground strap first
- You need to clean out as much liquid and mud as you can and dry out your car as soon as possible
- Assess the damage ; if water got into the interior and mechanical systems that can be dried out or cleaned with a lot of labor, but the electrical systems usually cannot.
- For the seats and carpet -Use a carpet cleaner or a wet-dry vacuum to bring up the water, then use a towel to dry as much as possible. Put down baking soda after the carpet is dry to remove odors.
Ways to Tell a Car has been Flood Damaged
If recent history is any indication, a number of seriously flood-damaged vehicles will wind up on used car lots and sold to unsuspecting consumers.
- To protect yourself from buying a flood victim, rebuilt wreck, rebuilt stolen vehicle, or a salvage vehicle make sure you have a pre-purchase vehicle inspection done by a trusted repair shop and conduct a title history report through a reputable company such as CARFAX. Flood damage information is reported to CARFAX from all 50 state DMVs and, as a service to consumers everywhere, is available for free at www.carfax.com/flood. Following these guidelines should help steer you away from a potential flood victim or any other vehicle fraud.
- Water or condensation in the headlights or taillights could be a tip-off to flood-related problems.
- A musty odor in the vehicle, which may be from moldy carpeting or padding. If possible, pull up the carpeting to see how far water may have risen in the vehicle, and also if any moisture remains.
- Mud in the seat belt tracks or seat belt tensions.
- Water in the spare tire well in a vehicle’s trunk.
- A sagging headliner, particularly on a late-model vehicle.
- Corrosion in the vehicle’s undercarriage, such as on brake lines or around the fuel tank.
And remember, possessions are replaceable, the most important thing is that you and your family stay safe.