car stranded in flood

Car insurance isn’t your go-to fix just for collisions. You can turn to the comprehensive coverage part of your car insurance policy to help you with weather damage to your vehicle.

And there’s plenty of damage in Texas and North Carolina, where vehicles were submerged by water from heavy rains in recent weeks. Here is helpful advice for drivers who need to deal with water damage to their vehicles.

What Your Insurer Can Do

First thing’s first when you want to fix up your car: contact your car insurance company. They’ll start the claims process.

More than 3 out of every 4 drivers in the U.S. buy comprehensive coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. It is an optional form of protection that addresses weather-related damage to a vehicle, including flooding.

A claims adjuster will come out to look at the damage to your vehicle. Insurance companies will declare a vehicle totaled if the repair costs are high. And since flood damage can cost a pretty penny to fix, be prepared that your vehicle could be declared a total loss.

What You Can Do

The insurance adjuster might not be able to get to you right away to survey your vehicle damage. Until then, there are some things that you can do to dry out your vehicle:

  • The “high water mark,” or how high the water got when it flooded your vehicle, is a good sign of whether or not you should declare your vehicle a total loss. According to Popular Mechanics, water as high as your dashboard is a sign that your car is totaled. You can tell how high the water got by taking note of the debris (leaves, rubble, etc.) in your car’s interior.
  • Don’t start your engine. Doing so could worsen what’s damaged in your engine, transmission and fuel system. Just to be safe, you can also disconnect your battery.
  • If your car was flooded by saltwater, it’s likely totaled. Saltwater is especially damaging to engines when they’re submerged.
  • If your vehicle is declared totaled, you’ll want to research your vehicle’s value so that you can negotiate the amount you get for the total-loss claim.

Recent Summer Rains Fell in North Carolina, Texas

Matthews was one of the communities in North Carolina hit by flash flooding last week. The mayor there called it “the hardest and longest rain” he had seen in 25 years, according to The Courier Tribune.

Vehicles at a collision center parking lot in Matthews were reportedly submerged in several feet of water, according to the publication.

Rains fell in northern Texas last week and flooded Cooke County, where local news outlets reported dozens of vehicles flooded by nearly a foot of rain.

North Carolina was also hit by Hurricane Arthur this month.