What to do if your vehicle flooded during Hurricane Harvey

By Bill Spencer - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - It’s bad news. Your car needs repairs and it's no small job, either, because your ride is just one of thousands of cars damaged in the Houston area by Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters.

At Gillman Honda in Houston, employees are working furiously to handle the work load.

“We’ve got well over 100 cars in here, and taking in more every single day,” said Kelly Goldsberry, service director at Gillman Honda.

So what do you do first?

Number one, don’t start that car, because doing so could destroy it.

“Starting that car is the worst thing you can do, that and driving it, because you don’t know what part of the engine or the drive train the water got into. You could be doing thousands of dollars in damages right there,” shop foreman Danny Cheng said.

So what should you do immediately?

  • Remove all personal items.
  • Roll down the windows to help dry the vehicle.
  • Remove the floor mats.
  • Remove the spare tire in the trunk and the trunk cargo cover.

Let the repair shop remove all the car seats, because they act like giant sponges and are hard to handle if you don’t know what you are doing.

The shop will also remove all the carpeting without damaging it.

Mechanics will overhaul the vehicle and determine what repairs need to be made.

So what is the easiest way to get the insurance company pay for your repairs?

Have the dealership do it for you. After all, they are the experts in this field.

"File a claim immediately, have the car taken to an authorized facility so we can estimate the repairs, and contact the insurance provider for the customer. We do this all the time, we know the language and understand how to deal with insurance,” Goldsberry said.

Finally, if the insurance company decides to total your car out, ask your dealership to look at the vehicle and give you an accurate estimate of what that car's true market value should be.

That way, you know what you should get from your insurance provider to cover your car’s replacement.

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