The National Automobile Dealers Association recently issued a report offering advice to car owners who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, urging them to use caution before moving vehicles that have been soaked or flooded by rain.
"The amount of damage depends on how long a vehicle has been submerged and how deep," said NADA Chairman Bill Underriner. "A good rule of thumb is to take caution if a vehicle's carpets have been wet for an extended period."
The best course of action is to contact an auto insurance company before moving the damaged vehicle.
"Do not try to start a vehicle that has been severely damaged by water," Underriner warns. "Starting a vehicle even in a damp condition could cause harm to the driver and the vehicle's onboard computers and wiring. A short in the electrical system can cause a shock, or worse, a fire."
NADA warns that rain soaked vehicles can become severely damaged when rain enters the air intake and other internal systems like lighting & electrical. These parts can begin to rust just hours after being soaked, compromising their performance. Another issue to consider is fuel. If a gas cap was not properly sealed, water could infiltrate the system and problems may not persist for months down the road. Rust in a gas tank can ruin a car over time.
Car owners affected by the recent storm should head to local auto body shops for repairs, as rates tend to be cheaper when compared to a dealership.
Myths about life insurance
A separate survey, conducted on drivers in Washington and Oregon, looked to lay to rest some auto insurance myths. PEMCO Insurance issued the survey and showed that there are many misconceptions when it comes to auto insurance.
For instance, nearly one-in-three drivers in the two states believe that driving a red car will cost them more in insurance premiums. PEMCO Insurance, the largest locally based insurance company, says that is not true. PEMCO spokesperson Jon Osterberg said that the insurance company does not even ask for the color of a vehicle when writing a new policy, adding that red cars having higher premiums is an urban legend.
Furthermore, nearly half of respondents said men that are the same age and have the same driving experience as women will pay more. PEMCO says that this is not entirely true. Gender does not affect rates across all ages but teenage males do in fact have statistically higher rates when compared to teenage females.
The survey also showed that nearly 66 percent of Washington drivers believed that personal items inside the car were covered by auto insurance when, in fact they were not covered. Although coverage, through homeowners or renters insurance tends to cover items stolen or damage to them, a person will likely be subject to pay a deductible.
Lastly, NADA said many believed a neighbor would pay for the damages if a tree from their yard fell onto a neighbor's car. The fact of the matter is that, unless the neighbor was negligent, the car owners insurance will have to pay for the repairs.
"About half of those polled in Washington and Oregon weren't aware that if a tree falls on their property, it's most likely their own responsibility," Osterberg said. "Homeowners can protect themselves from negligence by paying close attention to the health of their trees. Obviously, don't ignore leaning or dead trees."
After laying many myths to rest, car owners should know that comparing rates of many insurance providers will often bring down the cost of insurance.