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Car flood damage - Insurance company dragging feet- Help!


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Hi All

 

3 weeks ago my car ended up in a flooded road, submerged upto the top of the tyre level for over an hour - engine cut out, anyway had to be towed back home.

 

It was a Sunday night so I was towed back to my home and the AA asked me to contact them the next morning to arrange for it to be towed to a garage (they suggested a BMW garage) on Monday morning (while I was trying to do an operating list at the hospital - nightmare!)

 

I wanted to ensure it was all done by the book so I contacted the insurance company first, before it was towed anywhere, who asked me for the details of the garage; they didn't mention anything about having their own authorised repairers. So it was towed to the BMW garage.

 

I then spent 2 weeks ringing to and fro (I got a courtesy car from insurance for 2 weeks) getting BMW to contact the insurance assessor, and for the assessor to report back and then BMW to provide quote. It was telephone ping pong.

 

When the courtesy car was due to expire, I contacted the insurance company to extend the period because there had been delays in getting the quote and authorising the works, but they said it wasn't their responsibility to chase it up because 'I had asked to be towed to a garage of my preference'!! - which I hotly argued to the contrary.

 

BMW luckily provided a courtesy car, and nearly 3 weeks on, the car is about to have a new reconditioned engine put in, which has been authorised. However, in the process of stripping it, BMW found other issues, that the insurance company won't pay for because they have denied that it could have been caused by flood damage - without re-assessing it themselves (seized clutch, front suspension wishbone bushes leaking). So I have agreed to pay for those 'extras'.

 

Now, this week when I was about to get the car back, the garage did a test drive with the new engine and found a rattly noise (which definitely wasn't there before) and say the wheel ball bearings have gone and would need replacing, at a cool £550! Initially they said it could have been caused by the flooded water, but after they phoned the insurance company to authorise works, the assessor again has denied that flooded water could have caused it because they believe it is a 'sealed unit'. Again, they have not re-inspected the car.

 

I am kind of at the end of my tether, and don't really know who to talk to to get this verified. The car was working fine, no noises, clutch working etc. - what can I do?? The company's handling of this claim has been shambolic from the start.

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The main problem you will have is putting an argument to your insurers that disputes what their motor vehicle assessor is saying.

 

I'd suggest getting an independent motor vehicle engineer to have a look at the vehicle and provide you with a written report regarding the damage and the possible causes.

 

Please note that if an engineer says 'it could have been caused by flood' it is not the same as saying it was definately caused by the flood, but it will strengthen your argument if he does confirm that the flood was a possible cause.

 

If they then dispute the findings of an independent engineer, get a final response from them and then decide if you want to take the matter to FOS or if you want to sue them directly.

 

Mossy

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Thanks, I guess I better start looking for a reputable independent assessor....no idea how much that will cost! :(

What I don't understand is that if BMW can't say that 'the sealed unit' would protect the ball bearings from immersion in flooded water for an hour, how can the Insurer's expert challenge that? Surely the onus is on the insurer to say why they believe it isn't possible for the flooded water to cause that, because if the BMW engineer is saying it is possible, and the car was fine before, on what grounds can they say it is impossible?

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Good luck with that!

 

May I ask, did you get your insurers to accept this as a 'no fault' claim? I got caught in a very similar situation last week when I took an exit from a dual carriageway and found there was a very deep pool of water on the exit road. My car is also out of action but the insurers are trying to make it a 'fault' claim since they don't believe there is another party to recover the money from.

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you have not said if your car is a bmw or not. i can see were your insurance company is comming from. bad clutch/ bad wishboans/ flooded engineer.

 

nothing here is related to a flood upto the car wheels. because if it was that high you have forgotten carpets / seats and on a bmw the electronics are under the drivers seat. alone this is £1200. so your car upto the wheels no flood damage inside after submurged in water for over 1hr if the gearbox if full then the inside of the car is. so if you are going to fight your insurance company have a think

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Good luck with that!

 

May I ask, did you get your insurers to accept this as a 'no fault' claim? I got caught in a very similar situation last week when I took an exit from a dual carriageway and found there was a very deep pool of water on the exit road. My car is also out of action but the insurers are trying to make it a 'fault' claim since they don't believe there is another party to recover the money from.

 

I'd agree with your insurers, it is a 'fault' claim. You were in charge of the vehicle when you drove it into the water on the exit road.

 

Mossy

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Thanks Mossy, I see why you would say that from the information I provided. I should have mentioned that the situation was basically unavoidable. It was dark and there was no way to tell that the water would become deep. In fact, the exit road was uphill so it was very surprising - the water must have accumulated in a dip. The police closed the road, declaring it impassable. I have read that the council have been planning (but haven't yet completed) flood prevention works in the area so I wonder if there is a possibility that the insurers could claim from them.

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Thanks Mossy, I see why you would say that from the information I provided. I should have mentioned that the situation was basically unavoidable. It was dark and there was no way to tell that the water would become deep. In fact, the exit road was uphill so it was very surprising - the water must have accumulated in a dip. The police closed the road, declaring it impassable. I have read that the council have been planning (but haven't yet completed) flood prevention works in the area so I wonder if there is a possibility that the insurers could claim from them.

 

Please don't take this as criticism of your driving (it isn't and to be honest I would probably have driven through what I would have assumed was a puddle and not thought for one minute it could be so deep).

 

Your insurers will view it like this......

 

When you are in charge of a car it is your responsibility to ensure it is safe to proceed, if you have any doubt then the onus is on you to stop and check it is safe to proceed. The body of water was on the road, you either failed to see it or you decided to drive through it, either way it was your responsibility and theerfore the only person at fault is you.

 

Your one 'get out of jail free card' may possibly be the Council, you say the road was closed by the Police, was that before or after you used it? If it was before then you would need to show the Council was aware of the problem and had failed in their duty to either provide adequate drainage or repair the road, if it was after then you have no argument.

 

I totally appreciate in the real world it isn't feasible to get out and check the depth of every puddle in the road etc, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and I know what your insurers will try and argue

 

Mossy

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Thanks again Mossy - no worries I didn't take your post as criticism, just useful advice.

 

Someone else broke down a few minutes before me and the police were apparently on their way to close the road when I used it.

 

plastics, sorry for hijacking your thread!

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