Local mechanic and insurance agent weigh in on auto damage after flash floods

Local News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Recent flash floods across the Borderland have caused massive damage to roofs, roads and vehicles.

KTSM 9 News spoke with a mechanic who said that he’s seeing a wave of work pursuant to the flash flooding.

“I have a lot of different vehicles — from Honda to Ford to Chevy — that they’re locking up the engines and messing up transmissions just because of the water,” said Sam Gomez, a mechanic at Westside Pros Automotive Repair.

He said he’s been working on vehicles coming in with fried computer systems and engine damage after water is sucked through the tailpipe, causing an engine to lock or stall.

“Once you hit that bumper, that’s it,” Gomez said. “You’ve locked up the engine and water goes through the motor.”

The flash floods are having a ripple effect in El Paso, with local insurance agents being inundated with claims.

The wait, they say, can be bypassed.

“About the only thing that an agent’s office can do is just route them to the corporate claims department,” says Karim Ley, a licensed insurance representative for State Farm Insurance in El Paso.

Ley advised policyholders to call the 800 number on their auto insurance card to make the insurance claim directly to the corporate entity as soon as a claim needs to be filed.

Mechanics, insurance agents and meteorologists emphasize the “turn around, don’t drown,” philosophy but say to pull over and wait it out if you happen to be driving during a flash flood.

“In El Paso, we really usually have to wait 40 minutes to an hour and a half for the weather to kind of stop,” Ley said. “But of course with this situation — with the accumulation of water — it’s just best to avoid the streets altogether.”

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