2015 Dodge Challenger drove through deep water - now what?

Big rainfall one day, following all other cars, went through 10-12" water in road, car was out of the puddle when it stalled. Dealer says the intake is in front left panel, near bottom and very low water level can cause water to suck up into intake and cause rods to bend. They said only way to correct is a new engine. Progressive insurance wants to put a used engine from salvaged wreck into the car. This is a 2015 car!

Now the no dealer will take it on trade because they say its not worth value anymore since this incident, only worth 1/2 value.
Progressive covers water damages and car has FULL coverage. NOW progressive , after a month goes by and they said it was covered , even had master technician document damage and disassembly to access total engine damage for repair cost evaluation, they are attempting to reverse their stand on coverage and are denying a first approved claim.i am 2nd owner & car only has 35,254 miles on vehicleher. just made my 2nd payment on it
any advise on what to do.? OR WHO TO SUE?

You bought the car with a used engine,
so what’s the problem with progressive putting another used one in?

The reason the are talking about denying the claim, is that you intentionally drove through the deep water, it was not an accident, it was intentional, you could have easily prevented it.

1 Like

Keep in mind we are CarTalk and not LegalTalk. Your beef is clearly with Progressive. If you can’t resolve it, hire a lawyer that specializes in these type of cases.

1 Like

Did I miss where he said it was bought with a used engine?

He said he was the 2nd owner and the car has 35k miles on it so technically, the engine is indeed “used”.

1 Like

The OP is the second owner so yes they bought a used vehicle therefore also a used engine .
It seems that all these weather people who say ( Don’t drive through water ) are wasting their time.

Even if OP were the first owner, he had 35k on the 4-year-old engine before he dunked it. Insurance is there to make you whole, not to give you presents. You had a used engine, you’re owed a used engine. If the used engine they put in there doesn’t work right, you can reject the work and send it back until it’s right, but expecting a brand new engine is not reasonable.

As far as denying the claim, we’d need a lot more information, starting with what “water damage” coverage means and also their reasons for rejecting the claim.

There’s a difference between covering a car that was parked when a hurricane hit and caused a flood which submerged the car, and covering a car where the owner made a less-than-smart decision to drive through a flood that could have been avoided if he’d turned around and gone another way.


To the original poster: You came here for some ideas and help after you made a decision that you now know to be an error in judgement. Allow us to now tell you repeatedly that it was your fault and not give you any ideas…

Any words of advice I can give would be to check the internet for legal precedent, then go from there. Worst case scenario is you having to round up some $$ for an installation of used engine. I would say you might need to take insurance to court depending on legal precedent. However, it might not be worth attorney costs. You could go to small claims court and rep yourself. But now we’re talking time. Progressive might have some appeals procedure, but it may be a farce.

Were there other people in front of you making it through?

Very well. Allow me to give you some solid advice:

You need to know what’s going on before you tell people what they should do. We don’t know what the policy says. All we know is that OP is on here looking for a bunch of people who work on cars to give him free legal advice about who to sue to get himself out of the financial predicament that he put himself in to.

So, 1) we aren’t lawyers. 2) Even if we were, we don’t know what the contract says and therefore can’t dispense relevant advice. 3) Even if we were lawyers and had the contract in front of us, OP should be paying us in the neighborhood of $1,000 per hour for said advice and the fact that he isn’t suggests that perhaps he has gotten exactly what he paid for given the information he’s given, and withheld, from us.

At any rate, while I’m sure someone, somewhere, will appreciate free legal advice from a non-lawyer who did not read the contract, “check the internet for legal precedent” isn’t really any more useful than anything the rest of us has said. He’s here. This is the internet. He’s already doing what you’re telling him to do.

1 Like

Yeah right , as if that would be of any use .

Does this mean you have comprehensive coverage and have you read the policy?

There’s a difference between a car that got flooded by a hurricane, heavy rain pooling, etc as compared to a car that was intentionally driven into deep water. Maybe they are denying it based on the latter.
It’s also possible that when Progressive first signed onto this they may not have been aware this damage was caused by a deliberate act. Maybe it just took a month for word to work through the bureaucratic channels.

I have read of cases where insurance denied coverage for cars driven into deep water vs those parked and flooded.

1 Like

Good advice. I assume the engine is actually toast. If you can find a used engine w/ similar miles, it’s your option. (Even if you have to pay for it.) If the insurance fixes it, they (or the dealer) will probably flag it with Carfax. Yes, flood damaged cars are worth half the price, so maybe find an independent shop. Don’t forget to drain all other fluids. It’s possible they contain water, also.

You may find a lawyer, but none would touch it when I was fighting Progressive. They wanted an injury case, not underpayment. In a similar case, my friend was upset when he took his truck 4 wheeling, and the company was reluctant to pay after he rolled it.

Because unless he has a specific off-roading policy, car insurance usually doesn’t cover non-street-driving situations. When you go off-roading or racing, you’re driving uninsured.

As the owner and/or operator of the car, it’s your responsibility to know the limitations of your vehicle.

If water was ingested by the engine and it made it’s way into the cylinders, severe damage is likely, water does not compress, and you will end up with bent rods at the least.

Well yeah, they aren’t going to give you new engine. Their job is to make you whole again, to put you in the same situation you were before the incident. This means replacing the engine with a similar one of equal or somewhat lesser mileage. Look at it this way, if you totaled a 2015 Challenger. Insurance isn’t going to payout for the cost of a 2019 Challenger. Same principle applies to the engine in this situation,

Without a working engine it’s going to be worth much, with a replacement engine, it’s value shouldn’t be effected much vs, a similar car with the original engine that’s also been in accident. Is this the same dealer that did the engine replacement? They might just be trying to low-ball you.

If the work has already be done, then I don’t see how they can change their decision. More detail is required.

Without being privy to all the details, it’s hard to say. We’re only getting one side of the story here.