Flooding Damages Hundreds of Cars

Much of the water from this week's flooding in Shreveport may be gone, or going.  But for those whose cars suffered water damage the ordeal is really just beginning.

First they have to find their car.  Then, they have to have their insurance adjuster check it out.  But that could take awhile.  That's because one towing company estimates that 300-cars suffered water damage in Shreveport.

It's the kind of sight a car owner never wants to see:  A fork-lift delivering your water-logged car to you.  Marcus Douglas found his car at Shreveport Central storage along Greenwood Road, typically where all cars towed by the city end-up.  Before Douglas could even check out the damage to his Crown Victoria, he had to fork over 136-bucks for towing fees to the City of Shreveport.

As he paid his bill, Douglas recalled how it all happened.  "Down by Hearne (Ave.) and Midway; wasn't really paying no attention.  By the time I got up under it my car had stopped," recalled Douglas.  For him, the car is a complete loss, compounded by the fact his insurance won't cover it.

Despite that fact, he also reflected how it was no guarantee he'd even make it out of his car.  "I almost drowned.  If it wasn't for a man out there, you know, that was watching me.  He saved me, 'cause I told him I couldn't swim.  He got me up out of there."

In all, more than a hundred cars were delivered to Shreveport Central Storage.  And one towing company says just as with Douglas' case, they often hear the very same story.  "They went in the water, felt like they could drive through, it got too deep, they end-up stopping, water gets into the car, it kills the engine and then it's over with," described John Norris with Bar-N-Towing, next door to central storage.

We're told that every car is a bit different in terms of what it can survive from flooding.  But at least one insurance adjuster tells us that there's at least one factor that instantly tells him the car is a complete loss.  Bob Machal, a Geico Insurance adjuster explained, "water hits the dash it's automatically a total because of all the electronics."

So, what's on the dash is the very first thing Machal checks for, before wasting time on less reliable factors, especially because of how swamped he is right now.

REPORTER:  "You got fifty of these (cars) to go to?"

BOB MACHAL:  "Myself!"

He said another local Geico adjuster faces the very same daunting work load.  Multiply that figure by the amount of car insurance companies, and you begin to understand the full scope of this ordeal for car owners.

In fact, they are urged to take their vehicle to a fully licensed and reputable garage or mechanic, so they don't get scammed out of any money, especially if it's not fixable.