Vehicle Repair & Replacement Guide

HURRICANE DAMAGE

VEHICLE REPAIR & REPLACEMENT GUIDE

 

 

On August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey hit the coast of Texas. Families were displaced, homes damaged, and businesses shut down. The hurricane may have passed but, in many ways, the trouble is all just beginning as you learn to rebuild your life and city.

 

If your vehicle was damaged in the flooding, you are left to figure out what to do. And purchasing a vehicle after devastation can also be a daunting process, as those cars may have also been damaged.

 

We are here to help! Let's discuss what you can do in the wake of the hurricane and what to look out for when purchasing a new vehicle.

 

 

 

Assess the Damage

 

Salt water is extremely corrosive to your vehicle, so acting quickly after the water recedes is imperative! Start drying the interior of your car vehicle because mold will grow quickly.

 

§  Brakes/Clutch/Power Steering/Coolant: Check reservoirs for contamination.

§  Engine: Do not start your vehicle! Starting a flood damaged engine could cause even more problems.

§  Engine cylinders: Check for corrosion and any water. These will need to be replaced if there is any damage.

§  Electronics: Test automatic windows, headlights, turn signals, power locks, radio, and any other electronics in the vehicle. Please use caution!

§  Exterior: Check the exterior of the vehicle for any damage from debris.

§  Fuel tank: If any water is left in the tank, it will need to be emptied. To check, siphon a small amount of gas from the tank. Any water should naturally separate from the fuel.

§  Interior: Check for any damage to the upholstery inside the vehicle.

§  Oil dipstick: If the engine was flooded, you will likely find water droplets here or the level of oil could be high.

§  Transmission fluid: The color of the transmission fluid is a good indicator. Dirty fluid will be a deeper brown color. Regardless, it is recommended that you change the fluid out immediately.

§  Wheels: Check for debris that could be lodged around the wheels and underbody of the vehicle.

 

*It is recommended that you enlist the help of a trusted mechanic if you are unfamiliar with any of the above.

 

As you complete your inspection, take photos of any damage you find. This will help with your insurance claim.

 

After your assessment is complete, you should have a good idea of whether your vehicle can be repaired or if you'll need to replace your vehicle. You'll have a couple options:

1.     File an insurance claim: File claims for any repairs or replacement.

2.     Sell your car: Some local salvage yards may be interested in purchases your vehicle.  

 

 

Insurance Coverage and Claims

 

Your insurance coverage will fall into two categories: comprehensive and baseline liability. Comprehensive insurance is the only policy that covers damage due to a flood. Your insurance company will only accept claims if you had comprehensive insurance in place before the hurricane hit. If you did not, you still have a few options that we will outline below.

 

Comprehensive:

§  Contact your insurance provider: They will collect all necessary information and photos needed for your claim.

*We recommend doing this as soon as possible since they will be dealing with thousands of other claims.

 

Baseline Liability:

§  Government Assistance: If you live in an area that has been declared a disaster zone, you may be eligible for help from FEMA. You may be eligible for help with the losses not covered by insurance. Visit DisasterAssistance.gov or call (800) 621-3362 for more information.

§  Loans: You may be eligible for financial aid through the US Small Business Administration (SBA). They offer low-interest loans to both homeowners and renters who sustained property damage as the result of a natural disaster. Consult with FEMA before beginning the application process. The number for the SBA is (800) 659-2955

§  Homeowners Insurance: Depending on your plan, damage to your vehicle may be covered under your policy if your vehicle was parked on your property at the time of the disaster.

 

 

Finding a New Vehicle - Buyer Beware!

 

Unfortunately, shopping for a new vehicle in the wake of a disaster can be difficult. Dealerships in your area were also hit and may have sustained similar damage to their vehicles. Aside from that, you will find that some sellers will use tactics to hide the vehicle's history and flood damage from the buyer. Your best bet is to avoid purchasing used vehicles from recently flooded areas. But if not, we have some tips to help with your purchase.

 

Dangers of Flood-Damaged Vehicles

 

Most vehicles that have undergone flood damage will be considered a total loss. However, if refurbished, they will carry with them a salvage title. While purchasing a vehicle with a salvage title isn't always a bad idea, it is when it comes to purchasing a flooded car! While the vehicle may look to be in good condition from the exterior, the inside may be rusting, putting passengers in danger. Safety systems and anti-lock brakes may not work, the car could break down at any time (leading to costly repairs), and there will be zero warranty.

 

Check for Signs of Damage

 

§  Electronics: Test any electrical components in the vehicle to make sure they are functioning properly. Including (but not limited to):

o   A/C

o   Headlights/Tail Lights and Blinkers

o   Power Windows

o   Power Seating

o   Radio

§  Interior: Damage to the interior may still be visible if you know what to look for:

o   Upholstery: Check for any fabrics that are not matching and/or recently updated, watermarks, etc.

o   Seat Belts: Look for any stains or watermarks that may indicate the water level the vehicle sustained.

o   Headlights/Tail Lights: Look for any moisture or condensation that may be trapped.

o   Seats: Peak underneath all the seats to see if there is water that pooled.

o   Rugs: Is there a new rug in an old vehicle? This may be a red flag!

o   Spare Tire: Look for any mud or silt residue that may have gotten caught.

o   Nooks & Crannies: You may be able to find mud and silt left over from the flood. Also, look for rust on any of the metal components. Rust should never be found on the interior of a vehicle with typical usage.

§  Exterior: Most damage on the exterior will be cosmetic and easy to detect. However, you may also want to check:

o   Undercarriage: Look for any sediment build-up or small debris that may have become lodged. Also, inspect for any rust or flaking metal that would not typically be associated with late model vehicles.

§  Smell: Check for a damp or mildewy scent. Turn the A/C and heater on high and put your nose to the vent. This can be a sign that water has been down the vents. Also, if it smells heavily perfumed, they may be covering up the smell.

 

Additional Tips

 

§  CARFAX Vehicle History Report (www.carfax.com): This will provide detailed vehicle history information, including flood damage.

§  National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS): It may be a good idea to check this as well as the state's title history. However, it may take several weeks to display any insurance salvage, non-repairable, or flood damage notations in their records.

§  VINCheck ( www.nicb.org/theft_and_fraud_awareness/vincheck ):This is a free database that allows prospective buyers to check the VIN for flood and accident damage. Around 85% of the insurance companies in the US are part of this organization and will report any vehicle that is a declared a total loss.

 

How The Reagor Dykes Auto Group Can Help

 

At Reagor Dykes Auto Group, the home of Any Car You Want™, we understand the dangers involved and precautions necessary when purchasing replacement vehicles from areas affected by the flood. We can take the headache out of this process and will ensure you are only receiving top quality, heavily-inspected vehicles.

 

Here are a few of the services we are offering:

§  Any Car You Want™: We will help you find any car you want! We have access to a large inventory of vehicles and will work tirelessly to get you exactly what you are looking for - purchase or lease!

o   For more information on leasing, visit: https://www.reagordykesautogroup.com/prime-capital-auto-lease.htm

§  Doorstep Delivery: Not only will we find any car you want, but we will deliver it directly to you!

o   FREE delivery for anyone affected by the hurricane.

o   Fast! Delivered within days of signing.

§  Incentives & Rebates: Many of the franchise dealerships (Ford, Chevy, GM, Toyota, etc.) are offering great incentives and rebates in their hurricane relief efforts. Act fast because some offers expire early October.

§  Complete your entire transaction online and over the phone: We make it easy!

§  Low Pricing: We want to offer you the lowest prices we can. This is a challenging time for you and we want to help!

§  American Red Cross: We are donating $50 to the American Red Cross with each transaction.

 

We Make It Easy

§  Contact us

§  We'll help you find any car you want

§  Apply any incentives and rebates available

§  Complete paperwork digitally and over the phone

§  Have your car delivered within 48hrs of signing

 

 

Texas is our community! Let us help you get back on your feet!

 

Call one of our agents today at (888) 851-0559 and let's start finding your next vehicle!