Flooded car or home in the STL area? What insurance companies want you to know

ST. LOUIS – The old rain fell St. Louis area Tuesday morning. Flooding has damaged cars, homes and businesses within the city, county and beyond.

The FOX2 weather team tracked up to 11 inches of rain Tuesday in The district of St. Charles and about 10.5 inches Claytonthe highest total reported in The district of St. Louis. Heavy rains have also affected parts of the Metro East Illinois.

The concept of a flooded car

If your car was submerged in the floodwaters on Tuesday morning, insurance companies want you to keep a few things in mind to avoid problems or damage to your car.

In some cases, flood water contains raw or unused sewage and other contaminants that can pose a health hazard during cleaning. Unless every part is thoroughly cleaned and dried, inside and out, cars can show rust or other problems weeks or months after a flood.

State Farm recommends the following tips for flooded vehicles:

*DO NOT start a vehicle full of water until it has been thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic.

* Capture the highest quality water features on your flooded vehicle.

* Check for rust, discoloration, mold, stains, electrical problems or direct sanding and poorly cleaned surfaces. Document any visible damage.

* Contact your agent or insurance company and tell them that your car has been flooded. The sooner the car is inspected and stopped, the more damage the car will suffer.

* Contact a professional for cleaning.

AAA recommends the following tips for flooded vehicles:

* The first step should be to contact your insurance company to help you determine the best course of action.

* Do not attempt to start a flood-damaged vehicle until the vehicle has been properly inspected by a qualified technician.

* Make sure the technician inspects the mechanical equipment and machinery that contains the water for contamination.

* Make sure the technician drains the overflow water from the contaminated material, wash it with clean water or a suitable solvent, and then refill the machine with fresh, suitable water.

* Cleans and dries electrical appliances and connectors.

A flood of thoughtful buildings

In the case of flooding in your home, flood damage is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Flood insurance is issued by the federal government and is sponsored by The cost of FEMA.

State Farm recommends the following guidelines for flooded homes:

* If your home is flooded, do not enter the water until the electricity and gas are turned off. Contact an electrician if the circuit breaker and gas line are on.

* Take pictures when the water recedes of all damaged, dry, and anything else that has been damaged by the flood.

* Do not throw away damaged items. Let the claims experts come and do the first inspection.

* Do not ignite wet equipment.

* Throw away spoiled food. Dispose of spoilage and any food that has come into contact with flood or storm water.

* Avoid tap water. Public water can be contaminated after a major storm. Use bottled water for drinking, washing hands and dishes, brushing teeth and making ice.

* Use generators carefully. If you have a portable generator, only run it outdoors with adequate ventilation. Do not use generators indoors or in enclosed spaces. The smoke contains carbon monoxide, which can be fatal if inhaled.

* If necessary, ask a contractor to help you make temporary repairs to prevent damage to your home or property.

* Keep receipts when you purchase items (such as tarps, plywood or other items) for repairs.

* Take photos/videos of damaged documents.

* To start a claim, you can register with your insurance company.

You can also look at flood insurance through Missouri Department of Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390. Click here for more information.

Hurricane damage in the city of St. Louis should be reported to the non-emergency number 314-622-4800. If outside the city, check with your local emergency line to report flood damage. Low power cables should be reported Americans online or call them at 800-552-7583.