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Old 06-29-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1968 26' Overlander
Duluth , Minnesota
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 93
Flood damage and please!

Ok, I bought the 68 Overlander International just a few weeks ago. If you watch the weather channel you know that Duluth, MN had 10" of rain in a day or so and there was lots of flooding. We awoke to a river running down our driveway and under and all around the O'lander. The water was below the belly of the trailer at that time but running over the wheels.

When the flood waters receded, it was clear to me that water had gone into the back end (service center as my manual calls it) of the trailer as the bumper hatch cover was wet and covered with debris. It does not appear that large quantities of water entered the trailer above the floor (the floor was not saturated), but I believe the belly pan was wet or under water (lots of drips from there post flood). There is water in the area under the black tank (the styrofoam liner under there is wet). Its hard to tell much beyond that without really ripping into things.

The trailer came to me with some leaks from above and there was some water on the floor in the usual places behind the wheel wells after all the rain. My floor has some pre-existing rot/damage. The area at the back end that usually rots already did. That part was all wet also.

My Univolt trips my ground fault circuit when I plug it in. I admittedly did not try it prior to this, so I don't know if it ever worked. The previous owner claimed it did. (This was kind of an as-is sale which I was fine with).

I also assume my wheels, axles and brakes were partially under water for some time.

My wife spoke to our insurance guy for advice and he said to put in a claim.

Any experience or information out there would be very helpful as to the likely status of the areas under my floor/belly pan, etc. Also, experiences or advice on dealing with insurance adjusters with respect to the uniqueness of Airstreams.

BTW, this model has the spray foam in the floor from the factory.

I suppose I'm lucky she didn't get washed away!



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Old 06-29-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
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2006 22' International CCD
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Some of this will depend on your coverage as far as what 'new' damage is under your current policy, but I think your biggest issue is going to be convincing an adjuster that there actually is 'new' damage without lying about the previous condition.

Old wood damage is going to be very easy to spot, and no insurance will cover the old damage. If the old damage was significant enough to require repair, they would figure out what the new damage costs, subtract the old damage, and you'd either take the cash or pay the difference to get it repaired.

Personally, I think you are going to have a hard time getting any adjuster to look at water damage to a 45-year-old trailer as anything other than wear & tear and neglected maintenance. It would be much different if a tree fell on it, or someone ran into it, but most RV insurance specifically excludes water damage unless it is subsequent to some other action that pokes a hole in the thing.

An insurance guy will always tell you to put in a claim, and it is your right to do so. My insurance company sent an adjuster that had Airstream experience, and they looked at it right at the Airstream dealer with an Airstream tech to get their 2nd opinion.

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Old 06-29-2012, 10:14 PM   #3
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1968 26' Overlander
Duluth , Minnesota
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 93
Thank you. I have no intention of concealing the pre-existing condition of the trailer. I don't even really know the condition of the frame etc yet.

My insurance guy did verify that I have flood coverage on it. That was the first question we asked.
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Old 06-30-2012, 02:24 AM   #4
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Flood damage and please!

Greetings Mark!

Sorry to hear about your coach's flood damage.

I don't have direct experience with insurance claims for flood damage to Airstreams, but I did have to deal with damage to two of my collector cars from the flood of 1993. What I learned was as follows:
  • The insurance covered professional cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces exposed to the flood waters.
  • With a little coaxing, the adjuster was convinced to replace foam and upholstery wherever it had been in contact with flood waters.
  • With some coaxing, the adjuster was convinced to allow for the servicing of the wheel bearings.
  • The adjuster approved repainting the exterior surfaces that had been exposed to the flood waters . . . . this was in part a result of the oil field chemicals that were in the flood waters that inundated my property. I suspect that the case could be made for re-plasticoating any areas that were damaged by the flood.
If your experience with your Vintage Airstream parallels mine with my collector cars, you will need to be prepared for the areas where cleaning, disenfecting, and repair will be necessary. Once you have identified the flood damage that needs to be repaired, you may find that you need to make the case with the adjuster for needed repairs. Also, you will need to be prepared to establish the actual cash value of your coach pre-flood . . . . my experience with adjusters and Vintage cars was that I had to do the research and documentation of actual cash values in order to get a satisfactory settlement from the insurance company. I was very fortunate that my regular mechanic filed an affidavit with my adjuster stating the condition of the vehicles prior to the flood. In the case of my collector car that I had owned for less than two years, the dealer from whom I purchased the care filed an affidavit with the adjuster verifying the price that I paid for the car as well as the price that he would ask for the car in its pre-flood condition if it were again on his lot.

Good luck with navigating the rough waters of filing an insurance claim for flood damages.

Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 06-30-2012, 09:57 AM   #5
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2012 30' International
Walkerton , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 2,556
If there is a bright spot (hard to find as it is) it is that the flooding occurred before you had begun your restoration efforts. For example, you likely would have replaced your univolt in order for it to properly maintain your new batteries.

Good luck and here's hoping for lesser floods in the future.

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

AIR 3987
WBCCI 4596
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:17 PM   #6
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1968 26' Overlander
Duluth , Minnesota
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 93
Thanks for the input. Anyone else have words of wisdom? Should I worry about the brakes if they were under water for an hour or two?
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:59 PM   #7
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St. Paul , Minnesota
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Wheel bearing grease is about all you need to worry about on the axles.. .


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