What Will You Do If Your Car Is Caught in a Flood?

In a recent incident at The Twins condominium in Bukit Timah, Singapore, vehicles were left submerged in knee-deep water due to a faulty valve in a sprinkler storage tank. 

This unexpected event has raised significant concerns among car owners about what to do when faced with a flooded car park. 

Here’s a guide on how to handle such a situation and protect both your vehicle and personal safety.

Understanding the Risks of Flooded Car Parks

When a car is caught in a flooded area, the immediate risk is to the vehicle’s mechanical and electronic systems. 

According to the Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS), driving through water deeper than 15cm can cause the car to stall and potentially damage the engine and electronic components.

At about 30 cm of water, a typical car might even begin to float, leading to a loss of traction and steering control.

Immediate Steps to Take

 (Photo: Straits Times)

    1. Do Not Start Your Car:
      If you find your vehicle in a flooded car park, resist the temptation to start the engine. Starting a car with a submerged exhaust can draw water into the engine, causing catastrophic damage.
    2. Prioritise Safety:
      Your safety is paramount. If the water level is high, do not attempt to retrieve your vehicle until it subsides. Contact professional tow services or emergency services if necessary.

    3. Assess the Situation: 
      Once the water has receded, assess the extent of the flooding and contact your insurance provider for advice on the next steps. Taking photos and documenting the incident can be helpful for insurance claims.

Post-Flood Vehicle Recovery
After ensuring the vehicle is no longer submerged, it’s advisable to tow it to a professional workshop rather than attempting to drive it. 

We recommend thoroughly checking and flushing the car’s fluids and replacing filters before attempting to restart the engine.

Dealing with Insurance and Repairs

The responsibility for damages might fall on different parties.

In cases like the flooding at The Twins, the condominium’s management might be liable, and they typically have insurance that covers such incidents.

Car owners should also check their own motor insurance policies as some cover flood damage under certain conditions.

Insurance claims can be complex, and vehicle owners may need to advocate for themselves to ensure they are not unfairly penalised in terms of future insurance premiums, especially if the claim is due to circumstances beyond their control.


Long-Term Considerations

  • Repair Costs:
    Be prepared for potentially high repair costs, especially if electronic components or the car’s control units are affected. Some workshops might offer reconditioned parts to help reduce these costs.
  • Buying Second-Hand Cars:
    Post-flood, cars deemed beyond economic repair might still re-enter the market.

    Prospective buyers should be vigilant for signs of flood damage, such as unusual rust spots or a damp smell inside the vehicle, when purchasing a used car.

While encountering a flooded car park can be a daunting experience, understanding the proper steps to take can mitigate the risks and potential costs involved.

Prioritising personal safety, avoiding quick fixes, and navigating insurance claims with diligence are key to handling such incidents effectively.


Have a story to share? 

Accidents occur frequently, but as responsible road users, we can collectively contribute to reducing their frequency. 

If you or someone you know has a video or story to share, please do not hesitate to email us at writer@roads.sg 

Together, we can all contribute to creating safer roads for everyone. 


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