Protecting your biggest investments, like your home and cars, is a top priority for most people when the threat of dangerous storms and floods approaches.
Even homes that are not specifically located in flood zones can be damaged by storms. If you want to mitigate flood damage to your home and property, there are several ways to protect them, including wet and dry water defenses and building flood barriers around your property.
But do these measures also protect your car from the dangers of a big storm such as rising water, wind and salt damage? Sometimes yes, but there are many additional ways to ensure that your car successfully weathers the storm ahead. Nobody wants a flooded car.
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cars against water
Houses aside, a car can be many people’s greatest asset, and it pays to protect your investment.
A flood can damage a car beyond repair, starting with electrical problems. Water in the engine can cause corrosion and short out the electrical system. When water mixes with things like oil, gear oil, or lubricants, other internal damage can also occur.
If the flooding is the result of a rise in salt water rather than fresh water, this damage and corrosion will increase exponentially.
For safety reasons, if your car gets stuck in flood water, it goes without saying that you should do it never try to drive through it. If you find yourself heading for rising or stagnant water, turn around if possible and seek higher ground. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most common flood-related deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into dangerous flood water.
On most passenger cars, it only takes about six inches of water to reach the bottom and affect the car’s delicate components, which can consistently cause extensive and expensive damage.
So how can you avoid a total loss and protect your vehicle in the event of a flood and prevent a flooded car?
1. Get the right kind of auto insurance coverage
Before worrying about hurricane season, it’s important to have flood insurance that covers your car.
Greg Howes, CEO of Howes Insurance Group explains: “Auto insurance covers flood damage as long as you take out the collision damage waiver portion, subject to the deductible.”
Comprehensive coverage covers damage from most things not covered by collision, including theft or vandalism, and acts of nature, including storms and floods. This is important in case you need to make an insurance claim.
If you own boats, RVs, or other recreational vehicles, Howes adds, “As long as you choose property damage coverage, there are no exclusions for flood and/or hurricanes,” although he notes that not every policy offers the same coverage, and suggests checking your policies with an insurance professional before you may need to make a claim, as policies and insurance companies are different.
It’s also important to note that if your car is parked in a garage or elsewhere on your property and suffers flood damage, it won’t be covered by your home insurance.
2. Move your car to higher level
Howes explains, “To mitigate flood damage to your vehicles, the only real option is to move your vehicle out of the flooded area and to higher elevations.”
This means that if your home is in a flood plain and your home is not surrounded by flood protection barriers, you should park your car in a higher, safer place. During a flood there is simply no way to remove water from your vehicle.
3. Make your garage flood-proof
Dry waterproofing your home is an effective way to keep water out, and it’s an equally effective measure for your garage.
Dry flood protection involves sealing the garage to keep flood water out. This means that all areas below the flood protection level of the structure are made watertight with sheets of plastic or rubber or special sealing compounds.
In addition, exterior walls and/or floors are sealed with compounds applied directly to the surface of the structure to help the building resist water infiltration.
Dry flood defenses are a great option for non-residential buildings such as garages and sheds where vehicles can be stored, and it’s a relatively inexpensive option compared to wet flood defenses.
Dry flood protection can’t really guarantee that water won’t get into your car, but there are a few other products you can use to protect your vehicle from flood damage.
4. Create a barrier between your car and flood water
A protective car cover is a relatively inexpensive short-term solution to protecting your car from the elements.
Made of weatherproof materials, this type of car cover is portable and can be used inside or outside a garage. It can also be used to protect other types of vehicles or valuables from water damage.
While flooding can be a temporary problem, salty sea spray and humid air in coastal communities can also contribute to internal corrosion and external rust, as well as damage to car door panels or the hood.
This type of car cover can also slow down the corrosion damage caused by prolonged exposure to saline spray and air. The lower the damage, the less it costs to repair the vehicle.
$399 at Amazon
Temporary flood barriers like water-filled, expandable dams or sandbags that can be stacked and placed around the perimeter of your car are also a worthwhile – but temporary – investment.
$39.98 at The Home Depot
Water dams and sandbags can provide short-term protection and protect your car from potential flooding, although they only provide protection to a maximum of two feet. When building a sandbag wall, the use of a waterproof tarpaulin as an additional barrier is also recommended.
$13.28 at The Home Depot
$19.88 at Amazon
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Prices were correct at the time this article was published, but may change over time.