If your vehicle has been damaged by flooding, it must not be used again under any circumstances because it is no longer safe.
For safety reasons, you must never try to start a road vehicle that has been immersed in water or any other liquid as a result of flooding, an accident, heavy rains, a sewer system overflow or any other incident or natural disaster, because it may no longer function properly. To move the vehicle, you must have it towed or transported.
Given all the electronic components in a vehicle, flooding causes damage that can lead to such components malfunctioning, which constitutes a risk to road safety. If a flood-damaged vehicle is put back into operation, it may not function properly and the vehicle’s occupants may develop health problems caused by the growth of mould and bacteria in the vehicle’s absorbent materials (fabric, foam, etc.).
Flood-damaged road vehicles—including motorcycles and recreational vehicles (such as motor homes and camping trailers)—must never be put back into operation so as to ensure that unsafe vehicles do not end up on the road network.
A flood-damaged road vehicle must be declared “unrebuildable” by the insurer. An unrebuildable vehicle can never be put back into operation and only some of its parts can be used again.
This prohibition from being put back into operation applies to all flood-damaged road vehicles, including motorcycles and recreational vehicles (such as motor homes and camping trailers). The only vehicles that are exempt from this prohibition are tool vehicles, farm tractors, snowblowers, and trailers and semi-trailers other than those that have been designed, in whole or in part, to serve as a dwelling or office.
A flood-damaged vehicle is declared “unrebuildable” when at least one of the following criteria is met:
A flood-damaged vehicle that meets any of the above criteria is “unrebuildable”, even if the vehicle is not covered by an insurance contract. It therefore must not be put back into operation.
The major components of a vehicle’s electrical system are:
A flood-damaged vehicle may benefit from an exception if all of the following conditions are met:
A flood-damaged vehicle from another province cannot be brought into Québec for the purposes of being rebuilt, regardless of:
Most parts of a flood-damaged vehicle can be recycled, except for the major components of its electrical system and any parts that could pose a health risk, such as those made up in whole or in part of absorbent material (fabric, foam, etc.), because they could harbour bacteria or mould.
Although flood-damaged vehicles are usually declared “unrebuildable” and dismantled for certain parts to be recycled, some flood-damaged vehicles may slip through the cracks and end up on the market.
It is important to be aware of the fact that flood damage to a vehicle voids the manufacturer's warranty.
Have the vehicle inspected by a professional.
Ask the seller for written confirmation on the purchase contract that the vehicle has not been damaged in a flood or other disaster.
Check for signs of flood damage:
For a small fee, check the vehicle's complete history on websites such as carproof.com, carfax.com, and autocheck.com. Exercise caution, however, as these websites are not infallible.
Make sure that all controls and accessories work properly.
Last update: June 3, 2022