We have all seen the heartbreaking scenes from Texas after Harvey refused to leave. These people are now going to be facing another problem. When returning to survey the damages to their homes and property, they will most likely be without their vehicle due to the flooding. There are close to one million flooded vehicles emerging from the waters awaiting their fate. So how exactly will these vehicles be dealt with? The logical first move for auto owners is to file a claim with their insurance company, but what then?
Can I have it repaired?
This is a really bad idea. Years ago, before the addition of computerized components, the vehicle could have all the essential fluids drained and the vehicle restored. With today’s vehicles, lingering moisture could cause an electrical fire even when left to dry. Extra gadgets on board like press-button ignitions and blue-tooth GPS systems make attempting the restoration of a vehicle more expensive than a new one.
Who disposes of the vehicle?
Once your vehicle has been deemed “totaled”, there is the question of what to do with it. Some insurance companies will take possession of both the vehicle and title, then sell it to a salvage yard. Others will allow you to retain the vehicle and dispose of it yourself. Either way, it is clear that Houston will be seeing many towing and recovery companies rolling into town over the coming weeks.
What happens to the vehicles?
Ideally, once the vehicles are towed away, they are taken to a salvage yard to be destroyed and the metal recycled. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous souls out there that will try to turn a profit from others misfortune. Some of these flood damaged vehicles will be taken to garages, stripped down and rebuilt with components from other similar vehicles. They will then be sold as used vehicles and offered to unsuspecting auto-dealers, who then pass them along to you.
Never buy a flood damaged vehicle. Don’t forget, it’s not just ocean water in the streets, it’s also the sewage and septic systems that are flushing out with that water. This is just one nasty aspect of the water that is becoming one with all absorbent and porous areas of the car. Inspect thoroughly for any signs of water damage before purchasing a used vehicle, especially after disasters like Hurricane Harvey.