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  #1  
Old 07-15-2019, 11:40 AM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Flooded! And off to the Car Hospital

Last Wednesday I parked near my work on a street which rarely floods, or so I thought. Buckets of rain came down, and my campus closed. I waited another hour to be sure the water levels were down. But when I got to my car, I found to my horror that the 328i was sitting in some water, mostly on the passenger side, the level about an inch below the doors. And the front AND rear passenger footwells were sloshing with water! I mean 2-3 inches in both.

The car started without trouble. I drove away from the worst of the water and bailed out what I could, then drove 12 miles home, the water still sloshing back and forth. No more deep water, though. Halfway home the windshield wipers froze in place with a warning on the iDrive. Fortunately it was only drizzling.

I got home, turned off the car and switched it on again, as you're supposed to do when you change the wiper blades, and was able to close the wipers. But the headlights were still on even after the ignition was off . . . and 10 minutes later the front passenger window opened all the way. I was taping plastic bags over it when the driver's window did the same thing.

I did the only thing I could: disconnected the negative post of the battery. At least, if it then rained, no more windows, or the sunroof, would open. NB to all of you: If you do this and then close the trunk, you won't be able to open it again from outside. You have to go in from the back seat, crawl into the trunk, and yank that mechanical handle.

My insurance company (Flo's people, if it matters) opened a claim for me and arranged for a tow on Thursday to the dealer, who have the car and all the details. I'm driving very basic transportation now, a rental Hyundai Accent, and I keep reaching for the ignition button it doesn't have and trying to lock the car with Comfort Access.

So, since the F30 continued to run without issue, I suppose the engine may be all right, and the transmission, etc. Probably several electronic modules got wet and will need replacing, as will the carpet and padding. It ain't gonna be pretty, but the car is not ruined (I hope; I've come to love it in the last 4 months).

Anybody else gone through this sort of thing? Any idea how long my car may be in Intensive Care?
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:53 PM
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Salt or fresh water? ..... obviously salt would be much worse ..... you may want to hope it's totaled depending on the value of the car ...... CarFax is gonna say "Flood Car" ...... diminished value if not totaled ...... imo .....
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Old 07-16-2019, 04:12 AM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Salt or fresh water? ..... obviously salt would be much worse ..... you may want to hope it's totaled depending on the value of the car ...... CarFax is gonna say "Flood Car" ...... diminished value if not totaled ...... imo .....
It could hardly be called "fresh," since floodwaters here are compounded of water plus grease, oil, dead roaches, sweat, skunk juice, and other chemicals I don't want to think about. But not salt, at least. (God, I hate this city, climate, state, and region.)

Is there any way I can insist on the car being totaled, if the insurance company doesn't want to do that? They are supposed to inspect the car tomorrow, Wednesday. The dealer rep sounded cheery when he called me on Monday, saying they think it was some particular module and the subwoofers that were affected. I said, "What about the passenger seat? That's full of electrics/electronics, and water was sloshing around under it for quite a while. And then there's the carpet and padding, too." He hesitated and said, "We'll have to check."

I've driven through water almost this deep with Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Fords, and never had a problem like this. If BMWs are this delicate, it's time I went back to Buick.
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Old 07-16-2019, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Wolfus Aurelius View Post
I've driven through water almost this deep with Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Fords, and never had a problem like this. If BMWs are this delicate, it's time I went back to Buick.
Key word being almost, of course. From your narrative it sounds as though the waters had receded somewhat by the time you had returned to your car, after having been above the door sills for quite some time. That's the most likely reason the interior flooded--if you'd had a problem with any of the upper drains or seals, you'd have noticed water inside the car before now, whenever it rained. Any relatively low-slung car will be more vulnerable to floodwaters than one that sits higher, regardless of the marque. So, don't give up on BMW just yet...a Buick (or any modern, electronics-laden car) would have been no happier if you took it for a swim.

I don't believe you can have a car voluntarily totaled; the repair cost is either above the total-loss threshold or it isn't. However, if you'd like to drive that cost as high as possible--legitimately, fairly, and ethically--lean hard on your dealership to do the job right. That means:
  • Remove the seats and strip out all carpet and padding
  • Wet-vacuum same to remove as much water as possible; dry thoroughly ("thoroughly" means with forced air (blowers), ideally heated forced air--not just sitting out in the service bay for several days)
  • While interior is stripped, all wiring harness connections that were submerged should be disconnected, inspected/dried, and reconnected with a shot of WD-40* (including all connectors on the seats)
  • Same goes for exterior (under-car) connectors that were immersed--although all exterior harness connectors have internal seals, they are still not designed to resist immersion
  • Transmission electronics were likely high & dry above the flood line, but have them check & confirm; if not, proceed as with other electronics/connections
  • Any interior electronic components that were fully or partially immersed should be replaced (modules, speakers, seat motors and switch units, ...)
  • Any/all immersed upholstery should be cleaned & conditioned; if any visible water marks remain, insist on replacement
  • If the passenger seat was immersed as far as the upholstery, I would press for a replacement seat
  • If there is evidence that the high-water line was above the bottom of the door card(s), the door(s) should be opened up, cleaned/dried, checked for immersed connectors/components (to be reconditioned as above), and re-sealed
  • Seat tracks and adjustment mechanisms should be inspected, cleaned and re-lubricated upon re-installation
  • Edit: Oh yeah, and all soft materials (carpet, etc.) should of course be cleaned and treated with appropriate fungicides before reassembly
At dealer labor rates, that should be enough to wipe the smile off Flo's face.

Good luck.

*That's what the stuff was actually created for: Water Displacement formula #40.
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Last edited by Zeichen311; 07-16-2019 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:17 AM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Zeichen311, I'll copy your list and add it to my requirements. The trouble with doing all that right is that the car may be in their shop for weeks, and I am paying for my rental car -- at the insurance rate, but with damage waiver, so I'm shelling out $45/day. Insurance rates here in Lousy-ana are the highest in the country, so with their rate for a BMW, my hair was turning white. I upped my deductible and dropped rental car, and now I'm wishing I hadn't. With a Buick Regal or LaCrosse, say, the rates might be a little better, and I could make those changes without feeling as if my wallet is being forcibly extracted from my body.

Yes, I'd like another F30. But right now there are no 2015-up CPO 328s at the dealer with light-colored interiors, and I'm not going with a black interior in one of the nastiest climates in America.

If they will do all those things, maybe I can borrow a car from somebody at work.
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Old 07-16-2019, 08:43 AM
John MS John MS is offline
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It could hardly be called "fresh," since floodwaters here are compounded of water plus grease, oil, dead roaches, sweat, skunk juice, and other chemicals I don't want to think about. But not salt, at least. (God, I hate this city, climate, state, and region.)
Quote:
Is there any way I can insist on the car being totaled, if the insurance company doesn't want to do that. They are supposed to inspect the car tomorrow, Wednesday.
You can try insisting that it be totaled but it is their call. If that is your goal be sure to play up the negatives and ask that all interior materials that could have gotten wet be replaced. Stress your concern about mold buildup. It will help to have cordial one on one interaction with the claims adjuster.
Quote:
The dealer rep sounded cheery when he called me on Monday, saying they think it was some particular module and the subwoofers that were affected. I said, "What about the passenger seat? That's full of electrics/electronics, and water was sloshing around under it for quite a while.
In a flood the water usually does not slosh but rises slowly. So if it was as you said under the seat then there may be no water contact and no seat damage.
Quote:
And then there's the carpet and padding, too." He hesitated and said, "We'll have to check."
Insist that carpet and pad be replaced out of mold concerns.

Quote:
I've driven through water almost this deep with Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Fords, and never had a problem like this. If BMWs are this delicate, it's time I went back to Buick.[
No more delicate than any other modern low riding car laden with electronics.

How old is the car and how many miles. Is there a lender?

Last edited by John MS; 07-16-2019 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 07-16-2019, 09:03 AM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Originally Posted by John MS View Post
You can try insisting that it be totaled but it is their call. If that is your goal be sure to play up the negatives and ask that all interior materials that could have gotten wet be replaced. Stress your concern about mold buildup. It will help to have cordial one on one interaction with the claims adjuster.

In a flood the water usually does not slosh but rises slowly. So if it was as you said under the seat then there may be no water contact and no seat damage.

Insist that carpet and pad be replaced out of mold concerns.

How old is the car and how many miles. Is there a lender?
Oh, the water rose slowly, I'm sure. But I couldn't bail it all out before I got home, and had to drive with an inch or two of water in the footwells as I went. So the seat mechanics were certainly wet. As for mold buildup, mold is endemic here anytime something gets damp -- and everything is damp.

The car is a 2015 with only 29,500 miles. Yes, I owe BMW Financial on it, as I bought it only 4 months ago. My payoff amount is certainly less than the car would bring if it were in "good" condition. So I'm hoping I'll come out either with a whole car, or with some money to turn over as a down payment on another vehicle. Maybe a similar CPO car will turn up.

Question, though: Let us suppose they want to total the car, and offer me a reasonable value (from which my payoff will be made). I'm sure they'll take the cost of the tow off of that. Do they also take off the deductible? It's been quite a few years since I had a car totaled, and I don't recall.

Last edited by Wolfus Aurelius; 07-16-2019 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 07-16-2019, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Wolfus Aurelius View Post
Question, though: Let us suppose they want to total the car, and offer me a reasonable value (from which my payoff will be made). I'm sure they'll take the cost of the tow off of that. Do they also take off the deductible? It's been quite a few years since I had a car totaled, and I don't recall.
They should not deduct the towing charge because that is a separate cost, unrelated to the value of the vehicle, that must be paid whether the vehicle is repairable or not.

Insurance covers all eligible losses up to your coverage limits, less your deductible. Losses include payments to third parties in addition to damage to your vehicle. When the vehicle is totaled, your loss is its fair market value in immediate pre-loss condition. The towing company is a third party. To reduce the vehicle value by the towing charge equates to not reimbursing you for that loss (the towing charge).

They will deduct your deductible because, well, that's why it's called that.
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Old 07-16-2019, 11:14 AM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Originally Posted by Zeichen311 View Post
They should not deduct the towing charge because that is a separate cost, unrelated to the value of the vehicle, that must be paid whether the vehicle is repairable or not.

Insurance covers all eligible losses up to your coverage limits, less your deductible. Losses include payments to third parties in addition to damage to your vehicle. When the vehicle is totaled, your loss is its fair market value in immediate pre-loss condition. The towing company is a third party. To reduce the vehicle value by the towing charge equates to not reimbursing you for that loss (the towing charge).

They will deduct your deductible because, well, that's why it's called that.
"Fair market value in immediate pre-loss condition," hey? That was definitely excellent condition. Take my deductible off the top, and after I pay off the loan, I would be okay.

I asked about the towing charge because nobody has mentioned a bill for it yet. It'd be simpler for me, though probably not for them, if they took it off the top as well.
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Old 07-16-2019, 12:39 PM
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I asked about the towing charge because nobody has mentioned a bill for it yet. It'd be simpler for me, though probably not for them, if they took it off the top as well.
Usually when there is an insurance claim involved, towing companies bill to and are paid directly by the insurance carrier. That might vary by carrier and/or state but if they haven't already asked you to pay the towing charge, that's probably what will happen.

It would not be simpler for you if they "took it off the top", it would be a loss for you! You are entitled to be reimbursed for your car and the towing company is entitled to payment for their work. Separate payments under your overall claim. Taking the towing charge off the value of your car is no different than paying you full value and forcing you to pay the towing charge out-of-pocket.

Don't sweat it or overthink it. Everyone involved should be accustomed to this and--assuming you do have towing coverage--it should not cost you a dime.

Oh, and if they do elect to total your car, but you disagree with their payout offer, don't hesitate to dispute it (and contact BMW FS for help/advice in proposing a counter-offer). The initial FMV might not be all that F at all--your carrier wants to make you a satisfied customer but they also want to do that as cheaply as possible.
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:13 PM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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It would not be simpler for you if they "took it off the top", it would be a loss for you! You are entitled to be reimbursed for your car and the towing company is entitled to payment for their work. Separate payments under your overall claim. Taking the towing charge off the value of your car is no different than paying you full value and forcing you to pay the towing charge out-of-pocket.

Don't sweat it or overthink it. Everyone involved should be accustomed to this and--assuming you do have towing coverage--it should not cost you a dime.


Thanks for the point. I'm not at all sure I do have towing coverage, but if I do, that's fine by me.

Oh, and if they do elect to total your car, but you disagree with their payout offer, don't hesitate to dispute it (and contact BMW FS for help/advice in proposing a counter-offer). The initial FMV might not be all that F at all--your carrier wants to make you a satisfied customer but they also want to do that as cheaply as possible.


What is BMW FS?
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:17 PM
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What is BMW FS?
Financial Services, their captive bank.
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:18 PM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Financial Services, their captive bank.
Oh -- the people I owe my loan to!
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:20 PM
John MS John MS is offline
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Originally Posted by Wolfus Aurelius View Post
Oh, the water rose slowly, I'm sure. But I couldn't bail it all out before I got home, and had to drive with an inch or two of water in the footwells as I went. So the seat mechanics were certainly wet. As for mold buildup, mold is endemic here anytime something gets damp -- and everything is damp.

The car is a 2015 with only 29,500 miles. Yes, I owe BMW Financial on it, as I bought it only 4 months ago. My payoff amount is certainly less than the car would bring if it were in "good" condition. So I'm hoping I'll come out either with a whole car, or with some money to turn over as a down payment on another vehicle. Maybe a similar CPO car will turn up.

Question, though: Let us suppose they want to total the car, and offer me a reasonable value (from which my payoff will be made). I'm sure they'll take the cost of the tow off of that. Do they also take off the deductible? It's been quite a few years since I had a car totaled, and I don't recall.
The deductible will reduce any payout. And a payout from being totalled will go to the lender. Payout to repair should be sent to the shop. Really push them to replace as much interior material as possible to minimize mold buildup.
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Old 07-16-2019, 01:34 PM
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Close the vehicle and run a portable room dehumidifier in it continually. The waste heat will raise the absolute humidity and speed the drying process. Mold and mildew require moisture - humidity - to grow.
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Old 07-17-2019, 09:22 AM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Just heard from Flo's people . . .

They say the car isn't totaled, and that $5100 is the estimate. I'd pay my deductible, and the rest would be their responsibility. I asked for an itemized list of what they would do, and I'll post that when I get it. I asked, "What if something else clearly related to the flooding comes up later?" Her answer seemed to assume that if it came up during this repair process it would be added. However, I meant, "What if something related to this goes out in a month or two?" I need an answer to that.

They say the car should be ready early next week. I need to call the service advisor to let him know to go ahead.

ETA: Here are the items they say are needed:

1 101786 BDY REMOVE/REPLACE Floor Carpet ORDER FROM DEALER 755.71 4.0*
Special/Manual Entry
2 900500 BDY REMOVE/REPLACE REAR CARPET * New 719.73 * 4.0*
3 900500 BDY * REMOVE/REPLACE FEM CONTROL UNIT 61358733499 764.92 * 2.0*
4 900500 BDY * REMOVE/REPLACE CENTRAL BASS LFT 65139210149 328.45 * 0.5*
5 900500 BDY * REMOVE/REPLACE CENTRAL BASS RT 651392101150 328.45 *

I am glad to see they are saying *replace* the carpet, rather than *remove and clean*.

ETA (2): And my regular mechanic does not think the car should be totaled; I read him off the list and told him about how much water I had, and he seemed to think the seat and the bearings would be fine. If need be, he can change the transmission fluid, and I was going to have him do an an oil change next week anyway.

Last edited by Wolfus Aurelius; 07-17-2019 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:16 PM
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is this going to show up on Carfax as flood damage?
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:34 PM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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is this going to show up on Carfax as flood damage?
I suppose it will. I've asked to be sure.

If I sell the car in the next few years to a private individual, I'll give him all the records of what was done, so he'll know it wasn't immersed in flood water up to the engine. As a trade, well, that won't go as well, but these cars depreciate fairly fast anyway; I wasn't expecting it to hold its value like a Lexus or similar appliance car.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:39 PM
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I suppose it will. I've asked to be sure.

If I sell the car in the next few years to a private individual, I'll give him all the records of what was done, so he'll know it wasn't immersed in flood water up to the engine. As a trade, well, that won't go as well, but these cars depreciate fairly fast anyway; I wasn't expecting it to hold its value like a Lexus or similar appliance car.
Look into a diminished value claim, 99% of buyers will run away as soon as you mention flood, they won't care how deep the water was, and i will completely agree with them
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:56 PM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Look into a diminished value claim, 99% of buyers will run away as soon as you mention flood, they won't care how deep the water was, and i will completely agree with them
What would a diminished value claim do for me?
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:58 PM
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What would a diminished value claim do for me?
Pay you cash now for the potential reduced value in the future due to flood damage
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Old 07-17-2019, 02:38 PM
John MS John MS is offline
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Originally Posted by Wolfus Aurelius View Post
I suppose it will. I've asked to be sure.

If I sell the car in the next few years to a private individual, I'll give him all the records of what was done, so he'll know it wasn't immersed in flood water up to the engine. As a trade, well, that won't go as well, but these cars depreciate fairly fast anyway; I wasn't expecting it to hold its value like a Lexus or similar appliance car.
There are plenty of cars for sale with no indicated flood damage. Most folks will move on or look for a big discount.
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Old 07-18-2019, 04:40 AM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Pay you cash now for the potential reduced value in the future due to flood damage
Does my policy have to state specifically that such a claim is possible? And would I just request it of the company?

As far as the issue of selling the car to a private person, my plan would not be to put an ad on line. I'd let my mechanic know to tell his customers that a high-quality car which has been cared for by his shop is for sale. He'll vouch for my car and its condition, and his customers will know it's a good buy. (With two of my previous cars, he had customers ask him if he knew of a good used car, and he recommended mine.) A buyer like that will look at the records.

Besides: I don't buy cars with one eye always cocked to future resale value, in fact I usually don't worry about that much. I buy a car because it suits me, because I like how it looks, rides, drives, and keeps me cool in summer, and it's reasonably priced (to me). My Buicks were not strong in the resale department, but I enjoyed driving them, and that was the crucial thing.
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Wolfus Aurelius View Post
Does my policy have to state specifically that such a claim is possible? And would I just request it of the company?

As far as the issue of selling the car to a private person, my plan would not be to put an ad on line. I'd let my mechanic know to tell his customers that a high-quality car which has been cared for by his shop is for sale. He'll vouch for my car and its condition, and his customers will know it's a good buy. (With two of my previous cars, he had customers ask him if he knew of a good used car, and he recommended mine.) A buyer like that will look at the records.

Besides: I don't buy cars with one eye always cocked to future resale value, in fact I usually don't worry about that much. I buy a car because it suits me, because I like how it looks, rides, drives, and keeps me cool in summer, and it's reasonably priced (to me). My Buicks were not strong in the resale department, but I enjoyed driving them, and that was the crucial thing.
Call your insurance company and find out how to start that process.
Your plans regarding future sale strategies are irrelevant
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  #25  
Old 07-18-2019, 06:32 AM
Wolfus Aurelius Wolfus Aurelius is offline
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Mein Auto:
Quote:
Originally Posted by PK2348 View Post
Call your insurance company and find out how to start that process.
Your plans regarding future sale strategies are irrelevant
Why are they irrelevant?
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