If your car is flooded, start with photos.
Step one: Take a breath, Fix recommends. Then grab a camera: “Always take pictures to see the water levels,” Fix says. If you can safely take pictures without entering the flood waters, take photos only from the exterior of the car, Fix advises. Don't open the door if the water is above the sill at the bottom of the car door. Otherwise, water will flood in, causing more damage, Fix says.
If you aren’t with your vehicle or you can’t access it safely, wait until the waters have receded and flood danger has passed before taking pictures of the high-water marks on the vehicle. This documentation will be helpful as you file a claim with your insurance company.
Once the water recedes completely, you can open the doors and air out the car.
Next, call your insurance company—or a mechanic.
If you have comprehensive coverage, your car will be covered for flood damage. A very likely next step, Fix says, is that the insurance company will total the car, take the vehicle, and flag it as having gone through a flood so it won’t go back on the market.
These actions point to just how damaging water is to the car’s engine, computer parts, and electrical system.
“Water is an enemy of electrical systems,” Fix says. And in a modern car, this system controls everything from your ability to unlock the car to rolling down the window to the automatic braking system. Some of the water-caused concerns throughout the car might not be visible to the naked eye. It could, for instance, damage safety features such as airbags or collision-avoidance systems, Fix says.