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October 11, 2013

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Flooded car owners seek payouts

CAR owners are demanding compensation from a management company after their vehicles were stranded in underground car parks during rainstorms this week.

Yesterday, floodwater was cleared out of four car parks beneath a residential complex in Jiading District.

Drivers returned to find their cars covered in duckweed from nearby creeks. It was swept into the garages during the typhoon-spawned storms overnight on Monday and Tuesday.

An official with Jiading firefighting authorities said crews had worked for 26 hours draining the Cheng Shi An Bo housing complex.

By yesterday afternoon, there were only 3 centimeters of water in one garage, and no flooding above ground.

There are 200 parking spaces in the four underground car parks and 85 cars were counted there yesterday — including high-end models worth more than 1 million yuan (US$163,385).

Owners claim their vehicles are now write-offs and some want NGS Wangdu, the property management company for the complex, to compensate them.

Insurance companies have been surveying the scene, though many have not yet indicated what they will pay out.

Some legal experts said motorists should look for payouts from their insurers and leave it to them to wrangle with the property management company.

One car owner, surnamed Lu, said he was not informed by NGS Wangdu after the first garage flooded at 3:40am on Tuesday.

“When I noticed, it was 6:40am,” Lu said, “I rushed to the garage immediately but the water was too high by that time.”

“The water was like a waterfall and I could do nothing but watch my car being overwhelmed by the deluge,” said Lu.

If NGS Wangdu had informed drivers of the flooding, they could have removed their cars, claimed Lu.

Another car owner Cui Shengjun, who sells pumping system, said he alerted the company on several occasions after finding that two pumps in a garage were broken.

“But they never replied,” said Cui.

A manager NGS Wangdu apologized to the car owners yesterday and said compensation was under discussion.

Meanwhile, insurers have visited the scene. Staff from Ping An Insurance, China Pacific Insurance and People’s Insurance Company of China have been collecting evidence for claims.

An executive with the PICC said insured car owners would receive full payouts if water covered the instrument panels of their vehicles.

Insurance companies advised policy holders to inform them without delay.

Some said owners should not try to restart water-damaged cars as this can severely damage the engine. Owners will not receive payouts for such damage, they said.

Although most flooding in Jiading District is gone, work to drain water in Qingpu and Minhang districts is still continuing.



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