One of the questions many damage car owners and buyers may have, especially after a season of massive tidal floods in southern states, and landslides in the west, is whether flood-damaged car is repairable. While the answer to this is typically yes, there are several questions and facts to consider before spending money to repair a vehicle that may simply be beyond repair. If the car was deeply submerged in water repairs may not always solve long-term damage. The real question then becomes does it make good financial sense to repair the car.
Deciding to repair, sell or salvage a vehicle may depend on several factors, such as what type of water the vehicle was submerged in, how long and how deeply the vehicle was submerged if the water reached the engine, and electrical system, and other factors. Knowing this will help car owners determine if damages exceed the car’s worth. In many cases the car can be repaired, but with excessive costs. In other cases, even with excessive financial expenditures, the long-term damage isn’t worth the price.
Repairing the Vehicle
For owners whose vehicles were only lightly submerged in water, and were not driven through water, repairing the vehicle might be the best option. Drying out the vehicle, reconditioning the interior, and replacing wood and fabric might be enough to repair such vehicles. This is especially true if it was fresh water flooding that occurred, such as in excessive rain, or local lake floods. For those who drove vehicles through water, and may have sucked water into engines, damages may be worse than those who didn’t.
In other cases, if the car was submerged for an extended period of time, especially when the result of tidal saltwater flooding, flooding is usually more severe. If vehicles were submerged in water for an extended period of time, and slat water reached the engine and electrical system repairs will undoubtedly exceed the car’s worth.
Most repairs will also be out of pocket for flooded vehicles, as only comprehensive insurance policies will repair flood-damaged cars. Even those that repair such vehicles will only pay for damage up to the value of the car. That also means the age of the car and any prior mechanical issues should be considered. For those without comprehensive insurance, all repairs will be out of pocket. This means if engines or mechanical components need to be replaced the cost could be thousands of dollars.
Even after spending costly amounts, this is no guarantee problems will not occur or persist in the future. Salt water leaves deposits, not to mention mold, and mineral deposits are common in tidal floods. This means corrosion in the future, both to the mechanics, to the interior, and body of the vehicle.
Reappearing Water Spots
Even after repairing, things such as reappearing water spots, mold growing on engines, engine problems, electrical problems, constant smells from water damage are things that can resurface. These are all things that should be considered when deciding to repair vehicles. Before repairing, having a skilled technician inspect engines, electrical systems, and the overall condition of the vehicle following flooding.
Obtaining estimates of repairs is advisable, and will be required for those lucky enough to have a comprehensive insurance policy that covers costs. Three estimates will be required for an insurance company. They will also want to know is flood damage car repairable, and what the car is worth. If damages exceed worth, the insurance company will pay to have the existing vehicle totaled.
While the vehicle is inspected, having the technician complete an appraisal of what the car is worth is advisable, as this can also be submitted to the insurance company, or be presented to the new buyer, in the case of sales. While many use online resources to determine a car’s value, in the case of flood-damaged cars, which may have mechanical components in need of repair, online resources may not be the best option.
After such an assessment, owners are in a much better position to determine best options. If owners plan to resell, in many cases that need to be done quickly, as corrosion can begin to occur after 90 days. Visible rust starts setting in within this time as well, and can quickly spread throughout. In many cases, the best option is salvaging the vehicle, especially for those lacking comprehensive coverage.