Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 28, 2011

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Insurance Question from Arlington Heights, IL

Asked on 07/28/2011

New car was flooded 95% of wheels and insurance estimates $1400 in damage, Need this car totalled due to health risks but insurance wants to fix. My car was parked in lot when it flooded. Water was still slushing aroung when insurance person came out and estimated $1400 in repairs to clean out and deodorize car. I could not believe it. All cars parked around ours have been taken straight to salvage yard. I still owe $32K on loan which is about what the car is worth right now. I know there will be other problems down the road if they fix it besides health risks and I have a baby that this car drives around. Flood will be on the title if fixed so car is worth nothing. Deciding if we should just stop making payments and mess up credit.

Answer given on July 28, 2011

Flood damage to cars is well known to cause serious problems down the road even if cleaned and deodorized. If the engine was affected, that is a big problem. The adjuster is not doing the right thing if the damage is as you say.Talk to your insurance agent to see if they can help you. You should also speak to a supervisor at the insurance claims department to see if they will work with you. The repair facility should also be able to support your concerns as to future damage or loss.If the title is going to say flood, the insurance company needs to be advised of this, since it obviously has an affect on the car. While the after value is not really their problem, anymore than a car that has been repaired, thus value reduced, they should have some responsibility. Again, maybe a supervisor or your agent can help you work this out. The loan company is not responsible, so I don’t recommend stopping payments.


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