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To total or salvage?

Old 09-25-2018, 03:41 AM
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Tradingabird
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Default To total or salvage?

Hey guys. Iíve just been through Florence. My vette didnít fare so well and Iím looking for advice before I make a final decision. Itís an Ď81, 75k miles, with blue t-tops. The seals leaked during the storm which I expected, and my passenger side floor is very wet. The seats are leather and donít seem to be bad. I donít think they got wet. There is some mildew on the vinyl of the door. Just for knowledgeís sake, itís usually covered, but the storm took the cover off.

USAA, the insurance company, came out yesterday and looked at it and is calling it a total loss because of the water damage and mainly the potential electrical damage. Because it was ďocean rain waterĒ and had a higher salt content (I live near the beach, all our rain is higher salt content and this isnít the first time Iíve had water in it) they are saying itís not fixable and the best thing to do is total it out. We owe about $7500 on it, so basically weíd just get out of the loan and have nothing left. Weíve got too much damage from the storm to our house to be able to then buy it back from them for the $3000, and NC wouldnít let us put any insurance on it if we did. Apparently NC wonít insure a previously totaled vehicle. I really love this car. I donít want to lose it if I donít have to. Itís my dream car, thereís a lot of sentimental value, and Iíve had it just over a year. But I also want to be realistic.

So, Iím looking for honest advice, suggestions, thoughts. Can I salvage this? Am I crazy to try? Or should I just walk away while I can? Iím happy to take pictures if anyone needs/wants.
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:58 AM
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Your car cover came off.
Your T top leaked.
Your carpet is wet.

I can't believe your insurance company would write the car off for this.
Many cars all across America have this same problem every day and don't get written off.
I say drop the claim, remove the soaked carpet and dry it or replace it. Fix the worn out T top seals and you still have your nice Corvette.
Sounds like a write off wouldn't help anybody in this situation.
Good Luck
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Old 09-25-2018, 05:54 AM
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While a storm is different to what damaged my 69 my cars worse in many ways than yours,
since i bought this 69 in 09 its had the most misfortune of every car i have owned combined,
However, i really like this car and ive owned many vettes,
I have about 10k in at this point and it needs a engine rebuild, rust repairs etc ad nauseam,
No way would i give it up for 10 k, i plan to drudge on and get her up to par.
It really just depends on what your car means to you.
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Old 09-25-2018, 06:09 AM
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They are going to total it just because water got into it? How much water? Was it just in the floor boards or was the car totally or partially submerged? That's a crock of ****. Take the seats and carpet out and dry it out. Electrical is a nothing burger if you let it dry out. Once you get it back up and running find a new insurance company.
Glad you are OK.

My brother and Mom live in Emerald Isle two block from the beach. The ground floor apartment at the house had 8 inches of water and will need to be gutted. After all the hurricanes that have hit them (they have lived there over 25 years) this is the first time water has gotten into the house. It didn't help that the dumb-**** neighbor put in a pool and filled in a natural drainage ditch that has been keeping the water a bay all these years.
Good luck
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Old 09-25-2018, 06:33 AM
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trading bird. did storm surge fill the car, or rain water? how much is it insured for? you say 7500 is all you will get. if the car runs and didn't fail the float test in salt, go get a vette place to write you an estimate for 4 or 5k in water remediation. pm DUB. he is in Charlotte. buy new rugs. put 3k on the car loan and buy something for the wifey. the ins co is saving money. you keep the car. title doesn't get branded. if they are telling you 3k is their buyback price, they know the car is not in truth totaled and they expect to make a profit on copart with it. the insurance buyback is usually about 10% of the payout. theandies. tell your mom to sue her neighbor. more than likely something with pool location is not up to code.

Last edited by derekderek; 09-25-2018 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:30 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Tradingabird View Post
Hey guys. Iíve just been through Florence. My vette didnít fare so well and Iím looking for advice before I make a final decision. Itís an Ď81, 75k miles, with blue t-tops. The seals leaked during the storm which I expected, and my passenger side floor is very wet. The seats are leather and donít seem to be bad. I donít think they got wet. There is some mildew on the vinyl of the door. Just for knowledgeís sake, itís usually covered, but the storm took the cover off.

USAA, the insurance company, came out yesterday and looked at it and is calling it a total loss because of the water damage and mainly the potential electrical damage. Because it was ďocean rain waterĒ and had a higher salt content (I live near the beach, all our rain is higher salt content and this isnít the first time Iíve had water in it) they are saying itís not fixable and the best thing to do is total it out. We owe about $7500 on it, so basically weíd just get out of the loan and have nothing left. Weíve got too much damage from the storm to our house to be able to then buy it back from them for the $3000, and NC wouldnít let us put any insurance on it if we did. Apparently NC wonít insure a previously totaled vehicle. I really love this car. I donít want to lose it if I donít have to. Itís my dream car, thereís a lot of sentimental value, and Iíve had it just over a year. But I also want to be realistic.

So, Iím looking for honest advice, suggestions, thoughts. Can I salvage this? Am I crazy to try? Or should I just walk away while I can? Iím happy to take pictures if anyone needs/wants.
Many things here don't make any sense. First, they're totaling your car because the carpet is wet?

Second, rain water will not contain any salt. I don't care where you live. When water evaporates, salts and minerals are left behind.

And third, if you keep the car, they will subtract the $3000 from the $7500 value that they're putting on the car, leaving you with $4500, which will easily pay for new carpet and you keep the rest. The title will never change hands so it will not be a totaled vehicle.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:38 AM
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Was your car submerged ? If not then drop the claim, pull the carpet and seats put fans on and dry out the interior. dry out the carpet and seats If you are not able to save the carpet or seats, then put the vette aside till you have the money to replace them. I will bet that 75% of the members on this site have leaky t-tops.at one point or another. My t-tops leak and I have put new weatherstripping. I keep my vette covered all the time if I am not driving it.
P.S. Sometimes even if your car has been submerged, you can still save it, if dry it out asap.

Last edited by scrappy76; 09-25-2018 at 07:39 AM.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:40 AM
  #8  
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If I read your post correctly, to your knowledge the car wasn't sitting in water, the only damage was as a result of rain water leaking into the car. Was the adjuster aware of this, or did they assume that the car was sitting in flood water?

I had a number of customers that had cars damaged when Sandy came through NJ. Generally, any car that even appeared that it might have been sitting in flood water, was automatically totaled by the insurance companies. In their opinion, it's just not worth the potential long term issues of dealing with a car with possible exposure to salt water. Having recently looked at a 68 that was in about a foot of water during Sandy, I can understand why insurance companies are quick to total flood cars.

How much water was actually in the car? Other than the optional power seat, most of the interior wiring is at least 6 or 8 inches up from the floor, it's all on top of the trans tunnel, and in the dash. If you had that much water in the car, then I would say that it probably should be totaled, but that's a lot of water to have leaked in through the tops.

Something else to consider is the floors. 81 Corvettes have metal floors, and are known to have issues with rusted floors. You state that this "isn't the first time" the interior's had water in it, so it's quite possible the floors already have rust issues. Even if they didn't have rust before, they likely will now.

One last thing to think about, is how the water got in. It sounds like you think it was from the t-top's weatherstrip. The t-tops can leak, but often the source of interior water leaks is actually from the windshield frame, and/or the cowl. The factory didn't do a real good job of sealing the windshields, and as a result, many old Corvettes have suffered from rusted windshield frames, a-pillars, cowls, hinge pillars and floors. There are also drains in the windshield wiper well, that get clogged and cause water to get into the interior.

I would take a good look at the floors, both under the carpet and from under the car, as well as the windshield frame and a-pillars. If you've had leaking in the past, chances are good that you may already have rust issues, especially on a car stored outside. If it needs a-pillars, the cost to properly repair them is around $1500+.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:41 AM
  #9  
David Howard
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If it really was just rain that came in through the tops of the car and not salt water rising from under the car then the electrical is only dangerous because of its age and not, in my opinion, because of getting wet. The carpet is not an expensive replacement and not a bad job. You may want to remove your seats and clean up the tracks so any salt or fresh water that sat there doesn't start a rust issue for you later. Once you have it dried out you can install the carpeting; reinstall the seats; and then maybe install some new T-top weather stripping for future rain events. Then enjoy your dream car, you obviously love it and losing it makes no sense to me.
Good luck with your decision and glad you are safe.
Best regards,
David Howard
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:08 AM
  #10  
Bikespace
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Fix it yourself for $1000. As stated, take it to a Corvette shop (DUB?) for a fair appraisal. Moldy carpet and electrical gremlins? Please. Even "perfect" C3s can have these issues. Deionized water can be used to rinse stuff, then dry it. Use contact cleaner sparingly if needed, as it can damage paint.

Did water get behind the dash? Corrosion on contacts is an issue, but this is not a modern car with hundreds of systems.

The only big concern is the lein. You may be taking on risk if you DIY stuff, and it doesn't work. You could end up upside down on the car.
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Old 09-25-2018, 08:39 AM
  #11  
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In the meantime, don't let the problem get worse. Total or not, payout or not, go get a dehumidifier and place it in there. If you have mold growing on the door panels, you can bet that it is inside things as well. Wipe down what you can get to. Plan on taking this car apart if you want to keep it. It's not a lot of money for what you need to replace (take the seats out now), but it is time and elbow grease.
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Old 09-25-2018, 09:04 AM
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stingr69
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You said you cant pay them $3000, so you cant buy it back.

Even If you buy it back, they might not insure it. Ask USAA before making any decision. This is all in their hands.

The lien holder requires insurance, so where are you now? Insurance will not be optional for the bank. If you can't get insurance or pay it off in full, you cant keep it.

Unfortunately I do not see how you can do much except hand it over and walk away. What other choice do you have?
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Old 09-25-2018, 10:07 AM
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you said you need to spend money to repair the house.

if you keep the car, your only option would be to fix it yourself, which still requires money. if you have no money to spend on the car, because you need to fix the house, then let the insurance pay it off and take it.
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:40 PM
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Tradingabird
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Iím going to try to answer all the questions, I didnít expect so many replies so quickly! Thanks to all of yíall!

There was definitely only rain water in it. It was not submerged at any point. The adjuster says because itís from this hurricane and ďbrackish waterĒ that itís higher salt content water, and they pretty much always total them in these situations. I made sure he knew it was strictly from leakage and not flooded.

The passenger side floorboard was the worst area, the drivers side isnít bad at all. The passenger side floor was definitely wet, but there wasnít water standing higher than the carpet. The carpet is just totally saturated.

@derekderek If they total it, basically we just get out of the loan, I wonít get anything out of it. Iím not sure offhand what itís insured for, but thatís the bottom line if I go forward with the claim.

@gbvette62 I donít have power seats, so the electrical things should be above the level of anything that got wet, aside from the dome light. Which does occasionally get wet I believe. (My ex thinks itís shorting out and draining my brand new battery. Iíve had the alternator checked and itís perfect.) Iíll definitely check all the places you mentioned and see what the situation is already regarding rust.

@David I really do love this car, itís my dream car and I donít want to lose it if I donít have to. Iím not going to be able to replace it if I do lose it.

@Bikespace I donít believe that water got behind the dash. It wasnít wet there. I canít be 100% sure, but I really donít think so. Iím not opposed to elbow grease and time put into it. Especially if itíll save my car.

Does anyone have any idea how much new weatherstripping might run, and is that something I can do myself or do I need to have it installed by someone? Iím sure I can do carpet myself.

@theandies Iím glad your family is okay. The damage around here is so bad. I have a tree on my roof. Thereís definitely structural damage. My doors inside donít open and shut properly. Iíve got a soggy kitchen floor from where water came in at the sliding glass doors. I lost the barn, a bunch of trees fell on the chain link fence and busted that up. Not to mention everything out of my fridge and two freezers was trashed. The home owners insurance deductible is $1500 and the house has to be the priority. I wonít get but $500 for the food I lost, which doesnít begin to cover all the meat I had. My ex-husbandís house isnít livable. He lost a bunch of furniture. Heís got three new skylights and his house flooded as well. He lived on Cherry Point. We still have roads that arenít passable and people without power. Iím so glad this thing didnít hit us at any higher cat. Just driving through the area and seeing the devastation is horrible. Weíre all hurting out here. I wish your family the best.


Last edited by Tradingabird; 09-25-2018 at 01:42 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:45 PM
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USAA, the insurance company, came out yesterday and looked at it and is calling it a total loss because of the water damage and mainly the potential electrical damage.
This is how insurance adjustors work post Hurricane events, if they put their hand on the floorboard and its wet its a total.
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Old 09-25-2018, 03:09 PM
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You are screwed with the insurance company. They say itís a total loss. That will be reported whether they pay anything or not. Dropping the claim wonít change it because they have seen it and written it up. They wonít insure the car and neither will any other NC insurer.

Donít EVER get regular insurance on your Corvette or you will find yourself in this position. Get collector insurance where you have an agreed value that pays you what you agree the car is worth.

Last edited by maj75; 09-25-2018 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 09-25-2018, 04:39 PM
  #17  
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First of all sorry that you are going through this. I have in laws in NC and they luckily have not been badly affected as you have.

I don't understand some of the statements however. Why are you buying the car back? why is the title being changed? how can NC say you cant buy insurance?

My DD was involved in an accident. I was rear ended and pushed into the car in front of me. My insurance is USAA. I brought the car (just purchased 3 months earlier) to the body shop and he said the car is totaled and that is what he wrote to the insurance company. I wanted to keep the car because the car could still be driven, and I put money for new parts into the car when I first bought it. The insurance company sent out an appraiser to look over what could be salvage ie. doors, etc. and a few days later heard from the insurance company with a deduction for me to keep the car. I accepted. They sent me a check for the difference. No title change and USAA continued to insure me and the same car for years.

I think if you accept the $7000 then the title changes hands and would mean you would need to buy it back. Someone else might want to pay more than $3000 so there is no guarantee it will go to you. An office employee or friend of someone who knows it is available might be willing to pay more.
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Old 09-25-2018, 05:00 PM
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The OP probably has regular auto insurance on his C3....and that will only pay 'Black Book' value upon total loss. So, as $10K+ vehicle will be scrapped for a $3000 event. That's why everyone with these old vehicles NEEDS collector car insurance AND "Agreed Value' insurance coverage. The OP's story is very common when the car is not insured properly.

Your best bet is to IMMEDIATELY go to work cleaning the car up. Remove the seats and carpeting; wash-down the rest of the interior with mild bleach water to kill any fungus growth; dry the carpet and then CLEAN is well with anti-fungal cleaner/Oxy-Clean; let interior dry out completely...it would be best in a air conditioned garage that limits moisture in the air.

As far as the insurance is concerned, buy the car back from them for the Black Book value...before they sell it off to a rebuilder and THEY make a profit off of YOUR loss.
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Old 09-25-2018, 05:03 PM
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I think if you go to them with a 2000 estimate and a letter from DUB or another reputable shop stating the car is NOT totalled, they will pay that estimate and be happy they aren't paying more. Title stays yours and unbranded. Hell get new seats and rugs. The seats are what 46-47 years old? Weatherstripping is cheap but a pain to do.
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Old 09-25-2018, 06:28 PM
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Living in florida all my life and being on the coast during bad storms, while i agree rain doesnt have salt in it, but when things are blowing and seas are surging there is a salt water mist getting mixed in,
It might be a small percent but over near the beaches there is salt mist even in the air.
So sure the op said is has some salt in the water, i can believe that with the storm they just had,
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