Who Pays for Damaged Cars After UCLA Water Main Break?

Owners of vehicles damaged by flooding near UCLA after a water main broke can file claims with the LADWP

Students, staff and visitors to UCLA's campus are wondering who's going to pay for the damages to their vehicles caused by a water main that burst and flooded the streets near the university.

Some 700 cars were damaged after a broken water main Tuesday sent a geyser of water some 30 feet into the air, trapping people in underground parking garages and covering some of the best-known parts of campus in water, including the school's famed basketball arena.

Officials with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power have set up a claims process as the agency knows the bills for any damaged vehicles are coming their way.

But the process can take a while and should start with your own insurance company.

Insurance experts say the quick rule of thumb for vehicles damaged by flooding is to determine whether or not the car or truck took on water inside.

If that's the case, the vehicle will likely be considered a total loss, according to Allstate Insurance agent Eva Chong.

Chong says water can easily damage a car’s electronics causing problems that will be realized over time.

The first thing you do is contact your insurance agent or provider and find out what kind of coverage you have.

Comprehensive coverage means, you can rest easy the damage to your car is taken care of in any non-collision event or disaster.

Anything less than comprehensive coverage and Tuesdays water main break could turn into water torture, with months of claims and paperwork ahead for you.

"Unfortunately if you don't have comprehensive coverage, it would not be covered in this kind of disaster," Chong said.

So you're looking at straight out-of-pocket costs, she confirmed.

And in this case maybe a total loss of your vehicle, she said. Typically when there is a flood it's a total loss. It's not salvageable.

There could be lots of students in that situation but again ladwp has set up a claims process which is accessible online at www.Ladwp.Com/claims

  • DWP still recommends you contact your insurance provider first.
  • Be specific about the time, date and location of what happened.
  • You will have to provide proof for the loss of items you may have left in your car, so be practical.
  • Keep accurate records, receipts or cancelled checks documenting your loss.

On the LADWP site there is a claim form, you also want to fill that out and submit it, and in a case like this with hundreds of potential claims, the sooner the better.

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