Auto insurance

Driving on a flooded road can total your car

Wednesday, February 8, 2017by  Jon Osterberg

road closed signForecasters predict Western Washington could face urban flooding Wednesday and Thursday as 3 inches of rain and melting snow combine to make a soggy mess.

Threatened areas include communities near the Puyallup, Snoqualmie, Skokomish, and White rivers.

If you see a ROAD CLOSED barricade, don’t be tempted to drive past it. Water over a roadway can be deceptive – it might look shallow and you’ll think, “Heck, I can drive through that,” only to drown your motor and stall.

And with today’s computerized cars, that can be very bad. How bad? Bad enough to total your vehicle.

Once a car has been even partially submerged in water, damage can be severe. Water compromises the car’s computer systems (think about dunking your laptop in the bathtub, then expecting it to work properly), corrodes air-bag controllers and electronics, contaminates lubricants, and threatens mechanical systems.

A car might look perfectly fine, yet be declared a total loss because of water damage.

flooded street And there’s no law against selling a water-damaged car, even if an insurer has declared it totaled. That’s why shoppers should learn how to spot a flooded car that might look as good as new. Check out our consumer tip, “Don’t get soaked buying a flood-damaged car.”

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