With hurricane season underway, it’s important that you have a solid plan in place for worst-case scenarios. While no one hopes that they will experience damage or flooding during a hurricane, chances are there will be some type of damage left after the storm-force winds have ripped through your neighborhood. In the event that your vehicle is damaged during a hurricane, it’s important to follow best practices to ensure that your needs are met. Read on for five important things to do if your car is damaged during a hurricane.
1. Understand Your Insurance Policy
Reviewing your insurance policy is the first order of business after having your car damaged by a hurricane. If you already have an insurance policy that covers natural disasters like tornadoes or floods, it’s likely that your insurance company will cover the hurricane-related damage. However, the only way to know is to review your policy and then speak to an insurance representative to discuss your coverage in detail.
If you’re unsure about your insurance policy or have a complicated situation, it’s best to do everything you can ahead of time to protect your car. For example, many car owners in tropical climates try to park their cars in parking garages during hurricanes to avoid the risk of flooding and falling debris.
2. Take a Picture of Your Car
In a hurricane, everything happens quickly. If you’re already preparing for a terrible storm, it’s a good idea to go ahead and take pictures of your vehicle prior to the hurricane so you can clearly show the damage that was done to your vehicle during the hurricane. As soon as it’s safe to go outside, take photos of the damage to your car and send them to your insurance provider immediately.
At this point, your insurance provider may share certain steps to follow to keep your car from incurring any further damage. Be sure to follow all of your insurance provider’s instructions as failing to do so can give them a reason to deny your claim.
3. “Push” for Totaled Vehicles
Vehicles that are damaged by hurricanes, floods, or similar natural disasters aren’t often fixed by a one-time repair. This type of damage can affect the vehicle for years and often changes the way the car runs forever. Instead of asking that your insurance company simply pay to fix the vehicle, experts suggest that it’s best to have your insurance company consider the vehicle totaled.
If your insurance company considers your vehicle totaled, you will have to replace the car. Though this will likely be a more expensive decision than repairing your car, in the long-run, it is the wisest choice as it is cheaper than having to deal with other issues down the road.
4. Consider Options if You’re Not Insured
Don’t have flood or hurricane damage as part of your car insurance policy? There are other options you can use to help offset your costs. Depending on where you live, you can contact your state government to apply for assistance through grants and similar avenues to help cover the costs to repair or replace your vehicle.
5. Make Plans to Rent a Vehicle
If damage from the hurricane has rendered your car out of commission, it’s time to make alternative plans for transportation. Start looking at rental vehicles in the area to use until your car is fixed or replaced. In many cases, insurance companies will likely cover the cost of rental cars to an extent.
Hurricanes are ruthless when it comes to the destruction of property. Despite the precautions that we take to prevent damage during the hurricanes, sometimes the worst happens. Follow these five tips if your car is damaged by a hurricane to make sure you receive the assistance you need to get back on track.