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Flood damage corrodes relationship between SUV owner and insurance company
Published Wednesday, October 12, 2016 9:48PM MDT
A High River couple says their insurance company refused to write-off their 2010 Chevrolet Traverse after it sat submerged in a parking lot during the historic floods of 2013 and now, is unwilling to cover the costs associated with the vehicle deemed ‘unfit to drive’.
According to Andrea and Freddy Vasquez, their SUV fits the bill of a ‘flood car’, the term the province coined when warning Albertans to avoid purchasing vehicles that may experience problems down the road due to corrosion as a result of the floods.
In 2013, the family had their SUV returned to them by their insurance company, The Co-operators, after it was assessed for possible flood damage. Since its return, the couple has had issues with the vehicle’s electrical and braking systems and, recently, the SUV experienced serious engine trouble.
The family’s mechanic, who has been repairing vehicles in the High River area for more than 45 years, says the SUV’s not worth fixing and dealerships are refusing to accept the vehicle in a trade.
“I just started bawling,” recalls Andrea Vasquez. “How can this be? We had just got to a point in our lives after the flood that we could finally move on.”
According to Allister Henderson, the owner of Allister’s Auto, it’s easy to pinpoint when the Vasquez’s Chevrolet Traverse began its downward spiral.
“It seems that where all the trouble started was the flood,” explained Henderson. “First the electrical problems and now the engine.”
CTV Calgary Consumer Watch reporter Lea Williams-Doherty contact The Co-operators on behalf of Andrea and Freddy Vasquez.
The insurance company reaffirmed its stance as its adjustor noted the vehicle’s interior was dry during inspection, a dealership’s inspection found the door’s seals had not been breached water and all minor mechanical damage had been repaired.
Despite the passing of the two-year limitation period, a spokesperson for The Co-operators said the company would be willing to enter into mediation with the couple over the claim.
Williams-Doherty says potential buyers of secondhand vehicles may be oblivious to the fact a vehicle was in a flood even if a thorough record search is conducted as the ‘salvage’ notation would only appear on a registration if an insurance company writes the vehicle off.