Losses and Lessons: Sinkin’ Lincoln in Rhode Island

VEHICLE COVERED: 1978 Lincoln Mark V

WHAT WENT WRONG: Recent floods in Rhode Island took a heavy toll on an owner of a ’78 Lincoln. He had parked his car in the garage, but a flash flood swept through his neighborhood and inundated the structure – and the car. Water reached the dashboard and completely soaked the vehicle.

DAMAGE: Once the water receded, the owner turned on some heavy fans and took out the carpets to dry out the Lincoln. But it was too late; the water had entered the engine and soaked the electrical systems.

LOSS: The car was a total loss. Hagerty paid the client for the agreed value of the car: $5,000.

LESSON: For most of us, the chance of a flood is pretty rare. But when flood waters do rise, they can come very suddenly. High waters can be triggered by a violent thunderstorm, hurricane, sudden snow thaw, or even just a few days of steady rain. But there are steps you can take to minimize the damage.

Dry-flood proofing your garage will prevent floodwaters from entering a building, but requires consultation with a professional engineer. This method only works for stronger buildings that have no basement or crawl space and are constructed of concrete block, poured concrete or brick veneer on a wood frame.

Wet flood-proofing is the second, and more easily implemented, method for preparing for high water. It allows water to enter the building but minimizes damage. It involves installing flood vents to create permanent openings in the foundation’s walls that allow water to flow through the structure. (For details about flood-proofing your garage, download our pamphlet, “Collector Car Storage and Evacuation Strategies.”)

But if a heavy storm, flood or wild fire is heading your way, it’s often a good idea for your family – as well as your collector car – to vacate the area before the disaster hits. Remember to allow yourself plenty of time, and make sure your car is ready to move at all times.

    Evacuation Plan Checklist

  • Make a list of all the phone numbers you’ll need
  • Figure out how you’re going to move your cars – drive, trailer or hire a transport company?
  • If you plan to drive your cars, make sure the drivers are listed on your insurance policy
  • Keep the address of the safe location and directions on hand.
  • Outline an alternate route in case a disaster blocks your original route.
  • Note how long will it take to move all vehicles to your safe spot
  • Make sure your collector car is in running condition and the gas tank is full.

BOTTOM LINE: Flood-proofing and other steps are important, but one of the best precautions you can take is to make sure your cars are properly insured.

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