Auto Insurance Claims/Auto in flood


Am in TN. My car was parked in the lot at my apartment when a major rain occurred and waters rose. @4 inches of water was in my car. My insurance company referred me to a detail shop for drying out.
I have a friend who works in the emergency services industry dealing with fire, flood and other issues. He says the water is contaminated with at least tar, oil from the roadways, biologicals from the parking lot as well as the wooded areas around the complex- and who knows if the sewers were backing up.
His recommendation is that the carpets be replaced as there is no way to sanitize them to a clean condition. Possibly the seats need to go also if they were in contact with the category 3 water and definitely the steel floorpans of the car need to be dried and treated for contaminates.
tell me how I can address this with the Insurance company since they don't seem to feel anything more than fans and vaccuming is needed- they only want to dry it out.


Your friend that is arguing about the quality of the water needs to provide you proof of his claims, and if your policy says that the insurance company will pay to repair the vehicle, then they need to do that.  

Ask them to sign a form that says they are repairing the vehicle, and then let them try to repair it (LET THEM, don't agree to take it and sign for the repair yourself).  Once they advise you that the repair is done, have your friend test the repair and see if it is proper, if it is not, do not accept the vehicle back and advise the insurance company to remedy whatever issues still remain.

That is the only way to handle it without invoking the appraisal clause and/or suing.  You must let them attempt to repair and prove to them it is not repaired if that is your argument.  It is a tough situation to have to argue with a bullheaded and ignorant adjuster about value, and I do it daily.  If your carrier and you cannot agree on the amount of loss, then your policy almost certainly contains an appraisal clause.  As a last resort, invoke the appraisal clause and hire an independent appraiser to determine the value of the loss, and the appraisal clause says the insurance company should do the same (hire an independent).  Normally two independent appraisers can settle the matter, but if not, they will name an umpire who will address the differences.

I hope this helps.  

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Justin Petty


Challenge me! I promise that I will provide you with the most honest answer I can muster, and I will base it on nearly 20 years of complex claims experience. My strength is shooting it straight and seeing through BS. I do not bluff and I can tell when somebody is. I've handled claims in almost every State in the U.S. and adjusted claims and consulted attorneys and CEO's on recovery and special claims tactics for over a decade. I am the founder and President of Petty Details, LLC. We provide the highest quality claim services to insurance companies, attorneys and individuals all exactly in the same way, by paying attention to the details and doing the right thing.


Nearly 20 years of combined claim company management, litigation, all lines adjusting, claim auditing, damage assessment, subrogation, small claims, tort recovery, collection, skip-tracing, tactical investigations, and contribution claim recovery experience across the United States of America.

NASP (National Association of Subrogation Professionals) (Auto Insurance Expert) Diminished Value Appraisers Group (LinkedIn)

10 years experience in writing and developing technical claims correspondence for litigation and unique scenarios at insurance companies and as a consultant to attorneys assisting with legal briefs and research. 42 published articles relating to auto insurance and claims. Self Published e-books entitled "How Much is My Injury Worth" and "Diminished Value - How Do I Get Paid?".

School of hard knocks, 3 years college, NO DEGREE, years of real world experience running a claims service company and adjusting claims for carriers. Speaks English and Spanish, Limited Portuguese & Italian.

Awards and Honors
Platinum Author ( All Lines Adjuster (TX, 1998 - 2008) TX Public Adjuster (2009 - 2011)

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State Farm Insurance, Endeavor GA, MileMeter Ins., American Recreational Markets, Gainsco Ins. Co., Safeway Ins., Home State County Mutual Insurance, Old American County Mutual Insurance, FCCI, Farm Bureau, Liberty Mutual, and Pronto General Agency, LTD just to name a few! On top of insurance companies and attorneys, I have personally helped thousands of accident victims with the difficult and stressful process of navigating their claim to a successful resolution.

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