Flooded car or house in the STL zone? What insurance companies want you to know – InsuranceNewsNet

ST. LOUIS – Historic rainfall hit the Saint Louis area Tuesday morning. The flash floods ravaged cars, homes and businesses in the city, county and beyond.

The FOX2 weather team tracked up to 11 inches of rain on Tuesday in St. Charles County and almost 10.5 inches Claytonthe highest reported total in St. Louis County. Heavy rains also hit Metro East communities in Illinois.

Flooded Car Considerations

If your car got submerged in water due to a flash flood on Tuesday morning, insurance companies want you to keep a few things in mind to avoid a costly situation or more damage to your vehicle.

In some cases, floodwaters contain raw or untreated sewage and other contaminants that can pose serious health risks during cleanup. Unless every part is thoroughly cleaned and dried, inside and out, cars could see corrosion or other problems crop up weeks or even months after flooding.

state farm recommends the following tips for flooded cars:

*DO NOT start a flooded vehicle until it has been thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic.

* Record the highest level of water exposure on your flooded vehicle.

* Check for signs of rust, discoloration, mold, stains, electrical or direct system problems and sand and areas that are not normally cleaned. Record any observable damage.

* Contact your agent or insurance company and let them know your vehicle has been flooded. The sooner the vehicle can be assessed and dried, the less damage the vehicle will suffer.

* Contact a professional for cleaning.

AAA recommends the following tips for flooded cars:

* The first step should be to contact your insurance company to help you determine the best course of action.

* Never attempt to start a flood damaged car until a qualified technician has performed a thorough inspection of the vehicle.

* Ensure the technician inspects mechanical components and systems that contain fluids for water contamination.

* Ensure technician drains flood water from contaminated components and systems, flush with clean water or appropriate solvent, then refill systems with appropriate new fluids.

* Clean and dry electrical system components and connections.

Flooded Home Considerations

When it comes to flooding in your home, flood damage is not covered by traditional home insurance. Flood insurance is provided by the federal government and managed by FEMA.

state farm recommends the following tips for flooded homes:

* If your home is flooded, do not wade through the water until the electricity and gas have been turned off. Contact an electrician if the circuit breaker and gas line are located.

* Take photos once the water has receded from all damaged items, drywall and any other flood damaged items.

* Do not throw away damaged items. Allow the claims professional to come in and assess first.

* Do not turn on wet appliances.

* Discard spoiled food. Throw away perishables and any food that has come into contact with flooding or stormwater.

* Avoid tap water. Public water can be contaminated after a severe storm. Use bottled water for drinking, washing hands and dishes, brushing teeth, and making ice.

* Use generators safely. If you have a portable generator, only operate it outdoors with adequate ventilation. Never use a generator indoors or in attached garages. Exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, which can be fatal if inhaled.

* When it’s safe to do so, have a contractor help you with temporary repairs to prevent further damage to your home or property.

* Keep receipts if you purchase items (such as tarps, plywood, or other supplies) to make repairs.

* Take photos/videos of damage for claim documentation.

* To initiate the claims process, you can file your claim with your insurance company.

You can also check insurance and flood coverage via the Missouri Department of Insurance Consumer Helpline at 800-726-7390. Click here for more information.

Any damage caused by the storm in the city of Saint Louis should be reported to the non-emergency number 314-622-4800. If you are out of town, check with your local county non-emergency line to report flood damage. Downed power lines should be reported to American online or call them at 800-552-7583.

Kristan F. Talley