Lynchburg, VA- By now you've probably heard about all the cars damaged by the recent flood waters, now the insurance claim process begins for their owners.
If you don't have the right kind of insurance, you could be paying for everything out of pocket. Flood damage can be a real headache for not only owners, but buyers as well.
After a big flood, some damaged cars will end up on car lots. Then, it's up to the buyer to decide whether a car like this is safe, or soggy.
Even though the flood waters have receded, some car owners may still be struggling to stay afloat. Insurance Agent Kim Keyes says a small difference in policy equals a big difference in payout.
"Flooding insurance on your car is actually covered under comprehensive, which also covers fire, theft, vandalism, glass breakage or if you hit an animal," said Keyes.
"If you don't have comprehensive coverage on your auto policy then you don't have flood coverage for your vehicle."
That is a fact some disappointed drivers are finding out too late. But even a good insurance policy can't completely protect you from losing a car.
"If the vehicle has been in a flood like up in Roanoke, nine times out of ten the insurance company is going to total it out and it's going to be sold to a salvage yard somewhere," said Mark Smith, Sales Manager for Apple Ford.
Smith says the months following a flood can be either delightful or disastrous for consumers. You can find pretty good deals on slightly damaged cars that just need some touch-ups. But, be wary, because "slightly damaged" may be loosely defined.
"Sometimes things will fall through the cracks and you won't find out until after the purchase. But just be cautious and have it checked, and make sure you pull an Auto Check or a CarFax on it before you purchase if possible," said Smith.