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Flood-Damaged Car Tips

Flood damaged car

Hurricane Ida has left a tremendous number of devastated cars in its wake, from flood-damaged cars to cars suffering from tree damage.

Take a look through the following resource, packed with the info, tips, and tricks you need to get back on the road.


Call your auto insurance provider right away to file a claim:

Allstate Insurance: 800-547-8676 or online at
GEICO: 800-841-3000 or online at
Liberty Mutual Group: 800-225-2467 or online at
Nationwide Insurance: 800-421-3535 or online at
Progressive Insurance Group: 800-274-4499 or online at
State Farm Insurance: 800-732-5246 or online at

If you don’t know your insurance company, call 888-379-9531 or visit and they’ll access it, using your zip code.

In heavily damaged areas, contact, (800) 621-3362 for government assistance.


How to treat a flooded car:

  • 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. However, 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.


Here’s how you can tell if a car has been damaged in a flood:

If past hurricanes are 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 CARFAXFlood damage information is reported to CARFAX from all 50 state DMVs and, as a service to consumers everywhere, is available for free at 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 may be from moldy carpeting or padding. If possible, pull up the carpeting to see how far water may have risen in the vehicle.
  • 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!