TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As Daniel McMullen hunkered down in his South Tampa home Wednesday, he said he watched the water rise to levels he’s never seen before.

“At that time, it was too late to leave,” he said. “I don’t think the cars would have even started.”

He shared photos with News Channel 8 showing both his Chevy Tahoe and his wife’s Nissan Rogue partially submerged in the flooding.

McMullen said fortunately his SUV still works.

“I had to replace the started and I had to drain the oil,” he said. “There was water in the engine, in the oil pan.”

His wife’s car, however, may be a total loss.

“We’re waiting on insurance to come to look at it, but what everybody’s telling me mechanic wise, the sea water has destroyed all the electronics,” McMullen said. “We can’t even get in the car because the key won’t work and the fob won’t work.”

The store manager at Olin Mott Auto Repair Shop on Kennedy Boulevard, Dusty Cox, said he cringes every time he sees a car attempt to drive through flooded roads.

“I was going to my mom’s and I see three people and I’m just shaking my head going, ‘you see the water, why’d you drive through it?'” Cox said.

Owners of cars with water damage from Idalia should file claims sooner rather than later with their auto insurance company, Cox said.

“Everything is repairable,” he said. “It just depends on what the insurance company is willing to pay. They usually go by basically, as long as the repair bills don’t exceed 80% of the value of the car, they’ll repair it.”

Despite the damage to his family’s cars, McMullen is keeping everything in perspective.

“It could have been worse,” he said. “We’re lucky to have our health, our life, our house still.”

Authorities also said owners of hybrid or electric cars that sustained water damage shouldn’t park them inside because saltwater exposure could cause combustion in the batteries.

Two Teslas in the Tampa Bay area caught fire after the hurricane.