31 March 2005

Floods: Keeping Your Vehicle Safe

Most collectors have been impacted by sudden changes in weather, perhaps a car show rained out or a Sunday drive ruined by hail. But the chance of being hit by a true natural disaster is relatively rare, even if the events make the evening news regularly. Good planning can help minimize the risk of loss, especially against flooding. A flood can happen anywhere as a result of heavy thunderstorms, hurricanes, earthquakes or even a sudden snow thaw, and flood waters can rise suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere. So what should a collector do to protect his or her classic? 

Prevention Is Key 

Here are some steps to help prevent or minimize damage in the event of a flood: 

  • Monitor your situation carefully. If bad weather threatens, or you live in an area often affected by seasonal flooding, pay close attention to weather reports to give yourself time to react.
  • If flooding is predicted to be minimal, consider putting your vehicle up on blocks.
  • Use water-resistant building materials and consider installing vents to allow water to flow through a structure. Consult a contractor or engineer for assistance in flood proofing your property.

Have an Evacuation Plan

If you have advance notice of flood waters heading your way, make sure you have a safe location to take your vehicles to and the time to do it. There are many things to consider for this kind of plan, including: 

  • Where will you bring your vehicles?
  • When will you move your collection? Always consider the safety of the situation — never attempt to drive through flood waters and beware of downed power lines.
  • How will you move your cars? Drive them, trailer them or hire transport?
  • Who will assist you if you have more than one vehicle to move?
  • What will you need to do to make sure your vehicles are ready? Have you started them recently? Do they have enough gas?

A good evacuation plan will include addresses, detailed plans, phone numbers and alternate routes in the event the original route is blocked. And remember: Your classic may be important to you, but your safety is more important. Never put yourself in any situation that may be dangerous or risky in an attempt to rescue your vehicle.  

Minimize the Damage

If you do experience flood damage, take some important steps: 

  • If your car is covered, remove the cover to aid in drying and prevent damage to the paint finish.
  • When attempting to move a vehicle, look out for downed power lines or debris.
  • Beware of displaced animals that may be taking refuge in and around your garage or car.
  • Contact your insurance agent immediately and take some photos to document the damage.
  • Assess damage and proceed with cleanup carefully, utilizing professionals, such as commercial water extraction services, where necessary.

For more detailed tips on protecting your collector car from natural disasters, check out the Hagerty Protection Network’s pamphlet, Weathering the Storm: Protecting Your Collector Car Against the Weather and Nature, available on a PDF file to all Hagerty Protection Network members.


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