Call your insurance agent and check your policies now to make sure you have the right coverage during a hurricane
- Don’t forget about potential damage to your vehicles during hurricane season.
- Getting the right insurance coverage is the first step to protecting your vehicles because once a storm is on its way, it’s often too late.
- Tips to protect your vehicle include parking in a sheltered area and filling up the gas tank. Two types of insurance – comprehensive and collision – are needed to protect against hurricane damage as they each offer different protection.
- If your vehicle suffers damage during a storm, notify your insurance company right away, document the damage, and keep a claims log.
It’s hurricane season and while protecting your home may be your first concern, don’t forget about your vehicles. All of the usual hazards – high winds, heavy rains, flooding, flying debris – can damage or destroy your car, truck, RV, or motorcycle in a matter of minutes.
The first step to take before any storm strikes is to protect your vehicles with the right insurance coverage. You should review your policy with your agent annually. Make sure you know exactly what is covered and how to file a claim should disaster strike.
Here are some tips on how to protect your vehicles from storm hazards with the right preparation and insurance.
How to prep and protect your vehicle from hurricane damage
Leaving your vehicle exposed to the elements in a parking lot or on the street isn’t a good idea when a hurricane is barreling toward Florida. While complete protection is not guaranteed, here are some ways to prevent your vehicle from being damaged.
Park your vehicle in your garage if it’s not flood-prone. A carport is not the safest option since it is mostly open. If all you have is a carport, it’s better than the street and offers some protection but it should be far away from trees and power lines.
If you don’t have a garage or carport, find covered parking in an elevated area. Parking garages within malls, multi-level parking garages, and buildings with their own attached garages are best.
No matter where you park, there are some things you should keep in mind. The first one is to remove any important documents and personal belongings, including anything stored in the trunk.
When it comes to the car itself, prepare for the worst:
- Close and lock all doors and windows
- Fill up the gas tank and keep it full
- Set your hand brake to brace the vehicle; with a motorcycle, be sure it’s on its stand
- Seal edges with weather stripping tape made for cars for added protection
- Buy a roll of sheet foam and cover headlights, taillights, and windows
- Use a car/motorcycle or RV cover – two, if possible
If you have a motorcycle, prevent water from entering the engine by covering the exhaust and air cleaners. Either lower your windscreen or remove it.
Take photos of your vehicle and make sure they have a date stamp so you have before and after shots for insurance purposes. It’s also important to keep your insurance cards with you (not in your vehicle) and make sure you know what is and what is not covered. This brings us to possibly the most important part of prepping for a hurricane: checking that you have the right insurance coverage.
The right insurance coverage
An important thing to note: When a hurricane becomes a known risk, you will not be able to add insurance coverage. Once a watch or warning is issued, many insurance companies place a temporary hold on issuing new policies or increasing coverage on existing policies. Plan ahead and visit your insurance agent to make sure you are covered long before a storm is expected.
Two types of vehicle insurance help cover the cost of repairs if you suffer hurricane damage: collision and comprehensive. Collision pays for damage to your vehicle if you’re in an accident with another vehicle or a stationary object.
Comprehensive covers damage caused by something other than an accident, such as flying debris or falling trees, but covered perils vary, so ask your insurance agent for specifics.
You should be sure your policy includes coverage for:
- Falling debris damage
- Wind damage
- Water damage
- Damage when you’re driving if a storm causes an accident
If the worst happens, you’ll want to file a claim with your insurance company right away.
Filing a claim after your vehicle is damaged by a hurricane
When your vehicle has been damaged by a hurricane, the very first step is to call your insurance company and let them know you need to file a claim. This will set the wheels in motion. Ask how long it will take to see an adjuster. The next steps include:
- If you need urgent repairs, tell your insurer. This would include removing flood water, having your car towed to a safe place if it was lifted and moved by high winds, or if it is near downed electrical wires. If you pay for any water remediation, towing, or other services, keep your receipts for reimbursement by the insurance company.
- Document damage. You should have your “before” photos. It’s time to take some after the damage, now. Take still photos or videos. If you left personal belongings inside your car and those were damaged, inventory them and take photos. If you have receipts for these items, find them and do not throw anything away until they’ve been documented by an adjuster.
- Keep a claim log. Save copies of claim forms and receipts. Be sure to log the dates, names, and contact information each time you discuss the claim with someone, and be sure to write down what was discussed. This keeps things organized so that if something comes up later, you can find what you need right away.
Hurricanes can cause a lot of damage if you live in Florida. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an above-normal hurricane season this year. Are your vehicles protected?
Don’t let a hurricane hurt your vehicles or pockets
When a hurricane is on the horizon, it’s too late to make sure your vehicles are covered, so now is the time to make sure that you have the coverage you need.
At Avante, we’ll make sure your vehicle is covered for whatever Mother Nature throws its way. We are a family-owned and operated insurance agency in South Florida that has your best interests in mind. Reach out today.
This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.