Thousands of Texans are picking up the pieces after Harvey and its rentless rains flooded widespread areas. Here are answers to some common questions if you car was flooded.
1. Will my insurance cover it?
If you have comprehensive auto coverage, you’re covered for flood damage to your car. You can find coverage information on your policy’s declaration page. If you don’t have your policy, contact your agent or insurer. You can also call the Texas Department of Insurance’s Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-4349 to get a contact number for your insurance company.
2. How do I file a claim?
Call your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. Your policy should have a number to call to report a claim. Take photos of the damage and, if possible, of your car submerged. It might take time for your company to send an adjuster out to look at the damages. Texas law requires companies to pay claims timely, but those deadlines can be extended for disasters.
3. Can I dry it out?
This task is best left to a professional if water got in your car. If it’s not dried out correctly, your car will be at risk of mold, electrical issues, and other problems. Experts recommend that you have a mechanic look at a flooded car before trying to start it to avoid more damage.
4. Will my car be totaled?
The insurance company will look at your car’s actual cash value vs. the cost of repairs. If fixing your car will cost more than what it’s worth, your insurance company will consider it totaled. There was an old rule of thumb that once water reached the dashboard, the car was likely to be a total loss. But today’s cars have more electronics and can cost more to repair so a car may be totaled even if water didn’t get into the engine.
5. What if my car floated away?
Contact the police department’s unclaimed autos department to see if your car has been recovered.
6. What if I owe more than the settlement?
If you have a gap policy, it will pay the difference between what you owe and the settlement amount. If you don’t have a gap policy, you’ll be responsible for paying off the remainder of the loan.
7. What if I think my car was worth more?
If you think your car is worth more than what the insurance company decided, you can try to negotiate. Be prepared to show what the car would sell for in your area.
- Get quotes from used car dealers.
- View prices online and look for local ads for similar vehicles.
- Document any special features or custom parts on your car.
8. How do I get a copy of the title?
If you need a replacement title for your insurance claim, contact the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. You can apply for a replacement title by mail or in person.