Car insurance is a necessary service that you need to cover a wide variety of situations. If you live in a coastal town or close to the ocean, you may wonder if your insurance will cover damage from a tropical storm or hurricane.
Many people have lost their vehicles due to a hurricane coming in close to their home on the coast.
Hurricanes are the most violent winds on earth but they start in the ocean. Fueled by warming currents and an atmospheric disturbance, hurricanes are powerful and devastate coastal towns to some degree every year.
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Flooding can occur in a relatively short period, leaving devastation and danger in its wake. Avoid flooded areas at all costs and seek higher ground if you are in an area that floods easily. Be aware of other areas as well that are not as prone to flooding in the event of a hurricane.
Since hurricanes, flooding, and storms are a real threat for coastal dwellers (as well as other types of storm events outside coastal areas), it’s important to know how you can get insurance to cover this situation if it happens to you.
What type of insurance covers hurricane damage?
Car insurance will not cover the damage that hurricanes do to your home, obviously. But with the right type of coverage, it will cover damage to your car that results from hurricanes, as well as floods, tornadoes, and other weather occurrences.
The type of insurance that you have to have in order to know that your car will be covered in these situations is comprehensive insurance.
Comprehensive coverage is designed to cover non-accident damage resulting from any of the following scenarios:
- Theft – Comprehensive insurance covers theft of your automobile if your car is stolen. You should immediately report the car theft as soon as you know it happened so authorities can pursue the perpetrator.
- Vandalism – Vandalism is destruction or property and other criminal mischief behaviors that carry stiff penalties if they are caught. Report any vandalism to your automobile to the authorities immediately and then contact your insurance company to file a claim.
- Acts of nature (weather events) – Acts of nature (sometimes called “Acts of God,”) fall under the category of comprehensive coverage as well. As discussed, hurricane, flood, and storm damage all fall under this category.
- Falling objects – If your car is parked in a garage or other location and you have an object fall on your car and damage it, comprehensive insurance will cover this, as well.
- Collision with objects in non-moving vehicle – Collision insurance covers any collision with other cars or objects when you are moving. But it does not cover situations where you are parked or sitting still. That’s where comprehensive insurance comes into play.
What about a total loss?
Many people who live near or close to hurricane zones ask what will happen if their car is a total loss due to a hurricane or similar weather event. That’s a good question because many times, the flood damage from hurricanes is so great, that the car cannot be repaired.
Professional mechanics will tell you that a car’s internal mechanisms can become so damaged that it is impossible to revive the vehicle to high enough standards to where it can be drivable again.
Car insurance will pay for a complete replacement of your vehicle if it is determined that is is beyond repair. Report your claim early for the best and fastest results after a hurricane.
A Warning from Carfax
CarFax warns people who are looking for a new vehicle that they should avoid getting a car that is flood damaged. While most car dealerships are honest, sometimes they will only answer the questions they are asked.
If you are shopping for a new or used car, you should always ask if there has been any flood or hail damage before purchasing. Both of these types of damage lower the value of a car and they can even rust or become completely incapacitated due to the flood damage.
How to File a Hurricane Claim
You should insist that the insurance company send an adjuster if they do not volunteer to do so. This is because you need a record of an examiner looking at the complete damage situation of the hurricane to your vehicle.
Your car is likely to be more damaged that you can properly illustrate on the phone.
Taking photographs of the damage will help but only when you show the damage to an insurance claims adjuster will you be able to document the extent of the damage.
These photographs may improve your chances of the insurer issuing you another vehicle if your damage is too extensive to fix.
Shop Around Before Buying
When it comes to insurance, you should treat it like any other important service. Shop around thoroughly and compare different companies and policies before you buy. Ask questions when you get a free quote.
Be assertive and find out if you are eligible for any discounts such as:
- low mileage
- safe driving
There are plenty of ways to save money on your car insurance. The most important thing is that you think about your individual type of risks that you have to property damage or bodily injury and make your choice based on that.
Hurricane damage is devastating. But if you have comprehensive coverage you will know that your car will be repaired or replaced if you are hit with an act of nature.
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