What to do with flood-damaged vehicles
Editor's note: This is a condensed version of an ABS-CBNnews.com article which was originally published in 2009, following the onslaught of tropical storm Ondoy in Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces.
MANILA -- It is every car-owner's nightmare: vehicles floating around in muddy floodwaters and later, stacked on top of each other in odd angles in a storm's aftermath.
Here are some tips from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. and the Asian Carmakers Corporation (the official importer and distributor of BMW vehicles in the Philippines) on what to do in case car owners or passengers encounter floods on the road, and how to respond when their vehicle is damaged in a flood.
1. Park it somewhere safe. Park your car on high ground or places where floods are not likely to hit. Even if you don't know what will happen when a storm of flood hits, this is your best bet.
2. Avoid flood waters. If you are in traffic and floods are rising, turn off the engine, get out, and lock the car. Do not try to wade into the floods.
Go to a safe area while keeping an eye out for your car. It is not safe to stay inside a car while flood waters are raging, as this will also require you to struggle out of a car and climb on top of your vehicle. It is not safe to stay on top of a car.
3. Document what is happening. If you have a camera and are in a sheltered area, take pictures of what is happening to your car amid the floods. This is for insurance purposes and shows that your car was damaged in a flood.
4. Don't touch the car. After your car has been submerged in flood waters or damaged in a storm, wait for the water to subside.
Do not start the car or open the hood to check the engine. Do not open the engine or doors since this sometimes triggers a locking mechanism.
Do not act as if you know it all. Resist the urge to salvage your investments by doing things to your car without professional advice, since this might lead to more problems.
Call an authorized or reputable repair shop or serviceman to have it towed or put in a car carrier. Leave it to professionals, they know what they are doing.
5. Engine trouble. Those who left their cars in the garage are relatively better off than those whose cars were left in traffic conditions, because it is logistically easier to call an authorized service person to have it towed to a nearby workshop.
Have your car checked for engine breakdowns or block damage, which means you have to replace the engine.
6. Depreciated value. Flood damage or water damage will affect a vehicle's value substantially. It will naturally depreciate in value, depending on the extent of the damage.
Normal depreciation for vehicles is 10% per year. Supposing the car owner has the car repaired, the value would still go down to about 20% per year, off the car's original value.
7. Trade up. A good option is to trade-in your flood-damaged car with a reputable dealer. You can sell the car, and disclose that the car was damaged in a flood, or trade it in with your car manufacturer to get a good deal.
Car manufacturers like BMW, Honda and some auto-exchange establishments usually have a trade-in program. The company will then re-sell the flood-damaged car as a pre-owned vehicle.