BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Antique car owners whose vehicles were damaged by the recent flood can buy them back from their insurance company, according to the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles (OMV).
Quite often, people will find dust on an antique car, that is until they start working on it. In Kevin Dukes' case, the dust on his antique cars is from his home and cars under six feet of water.
"This is a 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo," Dukes said. "I first saw it when I was young and told my father as a kid I would like that particular vehicle."
Dukes has three antique vehicle. Two were parked at his home on Pelham Drive off of Sherwood. The third was at his dad's place that also took on water.
Dukes said State Farm Insurance totaled all three cars, but because they're antiques, Dukes wanted to buy them back and, more importantly, hold on to some very special memories.
"They mean the world to me. It was something my father and me just took our time and we put together each one of those vehicles, changed oil, sparked plugs. It was just that father and son time," Dukes said.
After Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana passed a law that would prevent flooded cars from getting back out on the market, in turn protecting the consumer. They would have to get a certificate of destruction, which is basically a title for any vehicle that took on water and was declared a loss.
Once an insurance company totals a car, the consumer cannot buy it back. However, antique cars are exempt from that.
"A customer can buy back their antique vehicle from their insurance company," said OMV regional manager Ashleigh Bossom.
Dukes said State Farm told him he had to have the state-issued antique vehicle license plate in order for it to officially be classified as an antique, but OMV said otherwise.
"That's incorrect. Our definition of an antique vehicle is that the vehicle is 25 years and older. It does not have to have an antique plate on the vehicle to be considered an antique vehicle," Bossom said.
Buying the cars back allows Dukes to restore priceless moments with his dad.
"I lost memories and I want to bring those same memories back that I had in doing those vehicles with my father," Dukes said.
Anyone who feels their insurance company is breaking the law can file a complaint with the State Department of Insurance by calling 800-259-5300 or completing the form online.