As we’re noting the horrifying aspects of the
natural disaster, Hurricane Ian, some of the victims are forced to wonder what will happen to their flooded or utterly destroyed vehicles. Car ownership is an imperative aspect of many people’s lives in Florida.
To have a new or used car utterly destroyed, especially when
car prices are starting to lower, is devastating to many. Jerry is here to tell you what you can do if your car was flooded by Hurricane Ian and how car insurance companies are affected by it.
Hurricane Ian leaves owners with wrecked cars
If you have photos of how your car was affected, it’s helpful but not necessary to file a damage claim.
Next, you want to make sure you have both your homeowners and auto policy numbers because if your car was parked then it might be covered by homeowners insurance.
Finally, you’ll want to try to get a hold of FEMA, the federal disaster agency, which may be able to help recoup your losses.
Unfortunately, the next steps are to hear what your insurance company says because depending on the type of damage your whole car might need to be rebuilt, especially in the case of saltwater flooding because it can lead quickly to your car rusting up.
Naples Daily News interviewed Mike Boudreau who owns T&D Automotive Services which is a repair business in North Naples regarding what Hurricane Ian owners should know about their cars.
He states, "They’re probably not going to want to fix it. Damage like that could be thousands of dollars in components and parts. There can be mold on the upholstery. You’ll have to replace all that upholstery."
He also notes that all the parts in the car, even computers and wiring can get rusted and that if your car had three feet of water in it or around it, it probably can’t be
repaired from a flood.
Mike Boudreau says, "Even if the car starts, that rust doesn't stop. Two to three months from now you start having all these problems. The computers are failing, the fans are not working. Things start happening."
Thankfully, if your car has only been affected by freshwater flooding there’s more to salvage. Mike Boudreau says that the first thing you’ll want to do is dry the car.
Then you’ll want to disconnect the battery so none of the circuits can start, you’ll want to keep in mind that almost everything in your car has a circuit, even something as simple and small as your ignition, radio, and door locks just to name a few.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_7aHZco5LI&ab_channel=NBCNewsBoudreau does say that while the car might not catch fire it could most certainly short-circuit. Following this, you’ll want to open the doors and windows to get air circulation and make sure to use fans to do so. It is absolutely imperative to make sure your car is dry before driving it.
Many repair shops will only be open on a limited basis starting Monday, so if you’re able to take in your ca it might be worth it to see if the damages can be repaired.
Another repair shop notes that owners should make sure that their oil and transmission dipsticks to ensure their vehicle’s fluids don’t have any water in them, and that if they do they have to be drained and refilled with fresh fluids.
The repair shop owner also notes that filters that have any dirt, water, or debris in them will also need to be replaced.
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What are car companies doing about Hurricane Ian?
While many automakers have yet to offer assistance to those affected by the hurricane there is one company that has stepped up to the plate. According to
GM Authority, GM has started the “GM Disaster Relief Bonus Cash Program” which will be open until November 30th.
This program offers $1,000 to people who own cars or trucks from the 2022 to 2023 model years including brands like Buick, Chevy, GMC, and Cadillac to name a few. However, one of the few models that’s not included in the program is the C8 Chevy Corvette.
For those who have leased a new GM vehicle, the company is giving $500. While it might not seem like much, it can definitely be helpful for those in need.
GM’s Disaster Relief Bonus Cash Program includes buyers from DeSoto, Hardee, Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Manatee, Lee, Sarasota, and Pinellas.
If you believe you qualify for this program you’ll need to have a copy of your insurance claim showing that your car was affected and damaged by Hurricane Ian as well as contact your local dealership for further information.
On top of this, GM is offering OnStar Crisis Assist to newer eligible owners who were affected by the hurricane. By pressing the blue button in the vehicle, OnStar Crisis assist allows someone to reach out to an advisor.
While this might not seem useful, in reality, it can provide great assistance as an advisor can help you get in touch with emergency rescue and evacuation services, reach out to those you care for, and help route the user away from dangerous areas.
The advisor can also show users where to find hotel rooms, fuel, shelter, food, and water while the vehicle itself can give you data for in-vehicle Wi-Fi for up to 30 days.