Flood damage can damage or total out your car. Driving down a flooded street after a huge downpour in Tampa can cause major damage to your car’s engine. Remember, a car uses air to burn the fuel inside the engine. If the car’s air filter or air plenum is submerged in water while the engine is running, it will suck the water into the engine like a straw. Once the water is in the engine, it does not compress. This basically means that something will bend or break inside the engine causing engine failure. Engine failure is a number one failure when driving into a flooded situation.
If the flood water is deep enough, the water can enter the transmission, front / rear axle, differentials and even the cabin area. Water ruins the automatic transmission clutches by dissolving the glue holding the clutch material to the metal plates. If the water gets into the cabin, it can cause major damage on certain cars that put computers under the carpet. Any flood water getting into an automotive computer will ruin that computer. Leaving flood water inside a cabin will ruin the electrical wiring, seats, carpet and computers.
Sometimes body damage can occur underwater when driving down a flooded street. People can hit things under the water, get stranded and even another vehicle or floating object can strike your car. When body damage occurs after engine damage, this can actually be considered a couple of claims by insurance. For example, you drive down a flooded street and engine failure occurs leaving you stuck in the flood. Soon after, another larger vehicle drives by and hits your car. This would be considered 2 claims by insurance.
In most cases your auto insurance will cover flood damage if you carry collision. When insurance is involved, tow your broken car to your auto repair shop of choice and call your insurance company to start a claim. Most auto repair shops can then deal directly with the insurance company till an agreement is made for the repairs or the car is totaled out. The key here is you can take the car to the auto repair shop of your choice. Do not let the insurance company bully you into taking your car to a storage facility or an auto shop you do not feel comfortable with. Many insurance companies make you feel obligated to do either, but you do have a choice on what shop to repair your car at.