By on October 6, 2015

carolinesonic

“I’m fine. Annabelle’s fine. Tails might be a goner.”

Those of you who have been around this site for more than a calendar year or so no doubt remember our former contributor, Caroline Ellis. Caroline has the good fortune of living in the Palmetto State of South Carolina, which is normally a good thing. This week, however, she isn’t so fortunate. When I saw the news images of floods throughout the State, I texted Caroline to see if all was okay. You can see the text I got back at the top of this post. Annabelle is Caroline’s black lab. Tails is her 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ hatchback.

From what I could gather, Caroline woke up Sunday morning to water that was already up to her knees. She ran outside and tried to start her car, but it wouldn’t start due to the flooding, so she put the car in neutral and asked a few neighbors to help her push it to higher ground. I don’t think she’s been able to get it started since. I haven’t bugged her since I’m sure that she has much more important things to do than answer texts right now.

That being said, if you have a moment to send her good wishes/thoughts/anti-rain dances, send her a message on Twitter and let her know we’re thinking of her. In irony worthy of Alanis Morissette, today’s also her birthday.

Let’s hope she’s able to come back here and update us on her status soon, as well as on her new car search.

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57 Comments on “Thoughts and Prayers Needed For One of Our Own...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Nice to hear/read that she and her dog are safe. As for th car, this is why we have insurance; they made plenty.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      And hopefully the foresight to get gap insurance if the sown payment wasn’t big enough.

      I had a buddy just go through this (oddly enough he lives in SC but was returning from Georgia and was hit and run off the road by another driver. Unfortunately the value of the vehicle was less than the amount left on the loan.

      He has since got a new vehicle but I imagine he had to roll the money owed onto the new vehicle.

  • avatar
    jdowmiller

    I hope she posts a write-up of her replacement vehicle. I’m seeing a Bronco in her future.

  • avatar
    BDT

    She and her dog are okay, and that’s all that matters. Stay safe out there, and worry about the car later.

  • avatar
    threeer

    We are originally from Charleston and were there the weekend BEFORE this all happened. It was hard seeing pictures from our friends of the neighborhood. Cars can be replaced. Glad she is okay (and Annabelle!).

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Glad she and her pup are ok.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    My thoughts won’t help Cameron, but her insurance company might.

    I thought this post was about something serious related to her very life.

    • 0 avatar

      It could easily have been related to her very life. The pics I’ve seen from the area are jawdropping.

      Caroline, you’re in my prayers. May you find favor with your insurance company and a new ride in your driveway soon.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      That would be Caroline, not Cameron, SCE to AUX.

      And speaking of ironic (which Alanis Morrisette’s examples, strictly speaking, are not), it seems ironic to me that the dog has a personified name, while the car has a name more likely to be found attached to a dog (in more ways than one).

      Or, you could say “Tails, you lose!”.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Whew ;

    I’ll never understand folks living in flood plains .

    I’m glad she’s O.K. , cars , they can be replaced .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      That was a thousand year flood. Some spots received 24 inches in about a day.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Lots of folks who didn’t think they were in flood zones got flooded. An event like this one goes way beyond the normal flood condition.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I am one of those folks. It came up through the sewer though.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          A year ago, correct? (Or has it already been two–2013?)

          We had a mini version of that happen @ the end of June in Toledo (8 inches max.), but whole stretches of our freeways weren’t under water (since we don’t have “trenches”).

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Oh my ~

            I looked at the news last night and was horrified , glad no one was hurt this time , quite a few drownings though .

            Where I grew up was Farming country and some it was low lands so you simply never built structures there .

            This is awful .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Good to hear her and the dog is ok. As for the car. Hopefully the insurance companies do not close up shop like they did in Florida many years ago. Does anyone know how water damage works when it comes to auto insurance and fixing vs. totalling a vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      If history is any guide thousands of these flooded cars are going to wind their way through the auto auctions and miraculously go from flood damaged/salvage to merely used. Since South Carolina cars don’t get salt damage at all, and very little sun damage, even older cars from the area look a lot better than their northern counterparts, especially if you can hid the fact that they spent a couple of days underwater.

      Steve Lang will know a lot more about how these titles get “washed” and how to avoid them; it would make for interesting reading.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Remnants of circa 2004 Hurricane Ivan caused severe flooding in some area’s here and many cars were totaled. However what I noticed in 2006 where the number of “flood cars” which whose titles were *not branded* as a result. One in particular I remember was a 2003 Merc Sable <20K offered at retail which had a brand new interior and a *rubber* headliner instead of a cloth one. I didn’t make the connection at first but it was later pointed out to me by a sage mechanic. How its title stayed clean I do no know (maybe it was flooded by not totaled by the insurance company and simply traded or repo’d?)

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          Every time there’s flooding in the gulf , a few months later we get the flood cars and trucks here in Sunny So. Cal. where no one is suspicious of cars that have been steam cleaned within an inch of their lives and have Texas titles but no license tags….

          They go to the low end used car lots in the Barrio and Ghetto .

          After a year or so , they simply explode in rust from the inside out .

          -Nate

  • avatar
    jmo

    It will be totaled – no question about that. But, GM will be more than happy to build her a new one.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Now on to the replacement car!

    The answer is always MIATA.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Possessions can be replaced. Lives can’t. I’m glad Caroline is okay.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    Plenty of room on my prayer list. Done.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Well that just sucks. My thoughts and prayers.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    In the end, it’s just a car. I’m grateful to know you and Annabelle are alright.

    And having seen a friend lose his car to the 19th St River recently, “might be” can be safely replaced with “is” for Tails. Hopefully the replacement will be just as much fun.

  • avatar
    Wscott97

    I’m sorry for Caroline Ellis’s Loss. But at least they are OK. I remember reading and enjoying her piece on buying the Tails, the Sonic LTZ.
    On that note, I hope she writes and keep us posted on her Insurance progress and her adventures in buying a new car.

    Word of advise. When my car was totaled last year, I had to really negotiate to get the price I wanted for my car. Show them all the pictures, maintenance receipts and amount owed on the car. Don’t accept the first offer. If you have time, In some states; the insurance company is required to settle your claim by a certain date. If you can hold out, they will offer you more to close the case. I was able to get almost double the first offer.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I wish her all the best. As a kid I lived at the confluence of 2 rivers. We had to evacuate once and the other time it came close. My black lab liked the swimming pool at our front door. As kids so did we. At the time I never noticed how stressed my dad looked.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I spent a couple of weeks in the Low Country a few years ago. The highest elevation I ever encountered was when I went over the bridge to Shem’s Diner. It speaks to the low incidence of this sort of hurricane that Charleston has survived since the seventeenth century.

    I’m glad Caroline and the pup are okay!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I hope and pray she has flood insurance. I bet a lot of folks there didn’t think they needed it until they got a 1,000 year storm.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You know when he’s got the time, the President with his phone and pen could simply rewrite U-ACA a bit more to force the insurance companies to accept flood damage in conventional homeowner’s policies. Its almost as if gov’t officials are looking out for the insurance company’s interests over the citizen’s ones, but that’s just crazy talk right?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Insurance companies don’t even cover sewer back ups unless you have a specific rider. That’s some BS.

        • 0 avatar
          Chi-One

          Had the rider….after two back-ups w/damage……………..State Farm cancelled us.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I took a jab but seriously though any politician who for one day a year wasn’t a self serving jag off traitor would address something like flood insurance being part of homeowners (even if the value was capped a X and people had to buy more to cover the whole house etc). This isn’t hard. Don’t transform the industry just tell those c*cksuckers you’re covering this and that’s final.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            True, 28, but what about those folks who live in places that basically never flood? It doesn’t make sense to have to buy that type of insurance if you’re at basically no risk (which is my case – if catastrophic flooding happened here, then an ark would be under construction somewhere).

            Most times, people who buy flood insurance have to in order to get a mortgage loan, assuming they’re in a flood zone, but you can always buy it ala carte if you want it. That strikes me as a better idea.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Sewage back ups and flash floods can occur to most people and I suppose depending on the riders of the insurance may not be covered.

            In my view, such cost spread across all homeowners (especially if it had a fixed max payout) offers more benefit than detriment. Its all about pools of risk, the flood pool being a la carte will be much smaller than the pool of all homeowners.

            Per the below source, the average cost is $700/year. I realize policies vary but I think my mother’s homeowners is a grand or so a year. So now I have to buy separate insurance which will cost 1/2 to 2/3 of what my homeowners will cover?
            Quite a scam they’ve got going on, what happens when that $700 cost is spread out over all homeowners, how low would it actually go? $20/yr? $50/yr? I grew up on a steep hill so the chance of outside flooding is near zero, however the chance of sewage backups/inside flooding is high because it actually did happen once as a water pipe broke and put two inches of water in the basement before my father stopped it. My mother had some kind of Water Co insurance I think for $9.99/mo which covered us from when their pipes break or when the pipe linkage from our house to their pipes broke (the latter of which happened). If homeowners would cover such things even if it was $100 more a year that’s still a net savings in this case.

            “The average flood insurance policy costs about $700 per year.”

            https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/residential_coverage/policy_rates.jsp

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            28,

            I sure hope you are in favor of single-payer health insurance coverage too, as effectively that is what you want here.

            Ultimately, I am mostly fine with homeowner’s insurance being the way it is in regards to general flooding (not sewer backups though), with the government at the state and federal levels stepping in to help people who are subject to these unusual events. This is one of those areas where a private company simply cannot realistically have the resources to deal with the disaster. Nobody would be able to afford coverage.

            Sewer backups should be the responsibility of whatever entity is responsible for the sewers, with sewer rates adjusted so as to cover that. I have a rider for it though, as my local sewer district takes no responsibility for anything.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            I hate that it isn’t possible to reply to all posts on this site. What ever happened to the new and improved, giant economy size blogging software upgrade we were promised with the changing of the guard?

            But to 28-Cars, IIRC, one of the selling points when the unified standalone flood insurance scam, er, program was instituted, one of the arguments in favor of it was that that way flood insurance could be provided cheaply and affordably. About 25 years ago, plus or minus, it was instituted, with an annual premium of around $100, as I recall.

            Obviously, like condo maintenance fees, prior rates are no guarantee of future rates, except that they are likely to be higher, much higher. 600% increase in a quarter of a century. Too lazy to program the compounding formula on my cheapo home calculator, but that is probably somewhere around 20%+ per annum.

            Try to name one other thing that grew that much every year for a quarter of a century.

            Nice work, if you can get it. Certainly, that must have been the thought running through the authors of that program.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        This reply is also for krhodes1 as well as 28 Cars.

        Krhodes said that a private company couldn’t handle flood insurance. I don’t know if the status quo is the same as it was when I had a contract with another branch of the company that actually was the exclusive vendor for national flood insurance.

        The “head knocker” for both the division I worked in and the one that did the flood insurance, as well as a third division, was a retired FBI agent reputed to have lots of friends inside the Beltway. Congress had passed legislation deeming that flood insurance was such that it needed a single company, without rate competition, in order to work. At least that was their rationale…hence circa 1990 +/- there was only a single private company that underwrote ALL flood insurance in the US, protected from competition by federal legislation.

        While the position krhodes1 took would seem, on the surface, to be a reasonable assumption, things are often not as they would seem to be, especially when dealing with the complex force fields at work inside the Beltway.

        And muchas gracias, bball40dtw, for that info about sewer backups needing a special rider. I am going to be calling my agent in the morning, as we live in a part of NJ which suffers from a legacy stormwater disposal agreement with another town uphill from us, dating back to the Twenties or Thirties.

        So we are definitely on the bubble, and indeed, in the past were in the soup, during some flooding about a decade ago that caused several south Jersey dams to burst. That time FEMA picked up the slack, but it is quite possible that if we had a repeat, minus FEMA, we might have been up (no, actually, down) the creek, minus a paddle and plus some sewage water but no insurance.

        Like I said, I am going to change that in the am, and thanks again for the tip, bball.

        PS, does bball stand for basketball, baseball, or boccie ball? Just curious.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I am not at all surprised that there is only one underwriter for flood insurance. I suspect they are also in large part indemnified by the Feds from really huge 10000 year events. I also suspect their rates are Federally controlled, but please correct me if I am wrong.

          I am also not surprised rates are going up. The population is going up, more and more building is happening in flood prone areas (and there are more of them), people are building bigger and more elaborate houses so the individual losses are bigger, but only people in official “flood zones” are required to buy flood insurance as a condition of their mortgages. I bet PLENTY of people in SC who were not in flood zones have very soggy living rooms at the moment… And the majority of them probably have no insurance.

          So you have the current situation where most people who are not required to do not have flood insurance. The relatively few people who do require it probably don’t pay enough for it even at current rates, because the risk pool is relatively small. but having only ONE ultimate insurer for the country ensures that the risk pool is large enough to be manageable, as flooding is usually a relatively localized event. Split that up into a bunch of smaller companies, and as soon as there is a big disaster, into bankruptcy they go. It’s not possible for an insurance company to have anywhere near 100% reserves for any worst case scenario, it just doesn’t work that way.

          Me? I live at the edge of a hill, nowhere near a flood zone, well above sea level, which is also nearly river level here, in a house with an unfinished basement with absolutely nothing in it but a washer and dryer, oil furnace, and two sump pumps with battery backup. And I still have an insurance rider for sewer and other minor flooding with a capped payout just enough to replace the furnace, washer and dryer, and clean out the basement – $20K. Costs me next to nothing, because the chances of my ever needing to use it are miniscule. If the 100,000 year flood comes along and the Presumpscot river is running through my kitchen, I will hope the Feds are generous.

          I have a decent understanding of how insurance works behind the scenes as I got my professional career start at a health insurance company. Which even as a non-profit instilled in me a *huge* distaste for that industry. Simply offensive.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    Dude, I gotta agree with a few other posters here; Your article’s title was irresponsible. It clearly suggested that Caroline had been grievously injured. Instead, she got her feet wet and her car got a free bath. There’s no hard evidence the car has been flood-totaled, only circumstantial evidence. It may just be a few wet wires.

    I’ve taken issue with Caroline’s articles in the past. Doesn’t mean I was hoping for her to pull a James Dean highway demise with her new Sonic. Cars can be replaced, she can’t. you really scared the hell out of us.

    • 0 avatar

      I apologize for the half second of fear you experienced between reading the title and the first line of the post.

      Fact is, the situation is all around awful.

      • 0 avatar
        Rudolph

        ▼ krhodes1 on 07 October [email protected]:08 to 28 ▼

        “28,

        Much MUCH deleted “I sure hope you are ….
        “ * * * * *
        “Sewer backups should be the responsibility of whatever entity is responsible for the sewers, with sewer rates adjusted so as to cover that. I have a rider for it though,
        ▬► as my local sewer district takes no responsibility for anything.” ◄▬

        Columbus, OH had an antiquated system decades ago and actually investigated claims and paid for damage •

        King Louis XVI, also known as Louis Capet, seemed to have a “no responsibility” attitude for a while (until 21 January 1793).

      • 0 avatar
        Rudolph

        Received 6 Oct 2015 05:59▬►Read 7 Oct 2015 01:05 is considerably longer* than ½ second for those whose email sends a text message with info such as

        “From: The Truth About Cars
        Subject: [New post] Thoughts and Prayers Needed For One of Our Own”
        (by Bark M.)

        With all the unintended and intended trauma events occurring , it is reasonable for a reader to believe that someone close now has a serious health issue •

        Even those who know of Caroline Ellis , Annabelle and “Tails” would not necessarily make the connection •

        Of course it was relieving to read that she and her pet are o.k. ; and of course your apology is accepted •

        We agree that the situation was/is awful •

        * Nearly 137500 – ½ seconds

  • avatar
    jetcal1

    Everyone is pullin’ for ya! Stay dry and safe!

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Do yourself a favor and push it back in the water. Find some that is deeper.

    Glad you and dog are fine.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Hang tough! Glad you and the pup are fine.

    IMO, it is IMPOSSIBLE to beat a good, female black lab.

    Now, you have an excuse to go car shopping. Always cause for joy (no sarcasm intended).

    Here’s hoping the insurance guys treat you fairly. Mine always have.

  • avatar
    Rudolph

    Good to read that she and canine are o.k. and only metals , plastics , etc. involved •

    At first I believed something truly dreadful , e.g., pancreatic or brain CA (both VERY nasty) •

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Many of us stopped praying and instead, became cynical. More stopped praying and became depressed, angry, anxious. More than a few stopped praying for each other and became estranged, lonely, disconnected. And some stopped praying for themselves and became lost, rudderless, selfish and immoral.

    One doesn’t have to be religious or dogmatic about it. Just honest and open. With just a grain of faith. A spark of hope. Put a prayer out there to your God, to deceased loved ones who’ve passed before you, to a creator, or just the mystery of the universe.

    Make it a habit, a “prayer without ceasing” as Paul describes. A state of mind.

    Imagine the power that would lift each other up, spread hope, and allow us to cope. So here’s to you Caroline and Annabelle and all the people of the Carolinas who are suffering, the front line caregivers, the first responders, and to the adjusters, workers, politicians who will dutifully help and serve in the days, weeks and months to come. May you find peace and comfort, strength and fortitude, grace and acceptance. Amen.

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