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When Car Insurance Meets Hurricane Season

Hurricanes don’t hit Florida every year, but they show up often enough that both the people and the buildings that sit on the coast have to keep them in mind. Structures need to be ready for flooding, high winds, and flying debris, and people need to have a plan ready so they’re prepared for when a hurricane decides to visit. However, car companies don’t make their vehicles with hurricanes in mind, and so often they’ll end up totaled by the storm. So what kind of insurance pays out when that happens?

Flooding



Flooding is a major concern when a hurricane comes along, both along the coast thanks to storm surges and thanks to flash-flooding further inland. All it takes is one to two feet of water to carry off a vehicle, even a big truck, and you’ll be lucky if it’s drivable afterwards. This is especially true if the flood is seawater, because the combination of salt and water can cause a lot of corrosion is a short amount of time. If your vehicle isn’t a complete write-off from the water damage and debris collisions, it could still be too corroded to safely drive.

The type of insurance that covers flood damage is called “comprehensive.” Comprehensive car insurance covers acts of nature like hurricanes, hail, and flooding, and it can also cover other kinds of damage taken while your car is sitting parked. Your comprehensive car insurance coverage pays for towing, repair bills, or the current (depreciated) cost of your vehicle if the insurance adjuster decides it’s totaled and no longer drivable.

Wind And Debris



Automakers design cars to be stable and keep their grip even at high speeds, so even if a hurricane with over 100 mile-per-hour winds swings past, most vehicles should be able to keep all four wheels planted on the ground so long as you put the vehicle in park and pulled the emergency brake.

However, not everything outside in a hurricane is as good at staying grounded. Chairs, awnings, even trees can snap out of the ground and fly through the air thanks to the heavy wind. When these things land, they can cause a lot of damage, and that’s certainly true if they land on your vehicle. Fortunately, comprehensive coverage also includes damage from flying debris.

On the other hand, there are other ways a hurricane-force wind can damage your vehicle. If you don’t properly secure your vehicle, it can roll away and damage someone else’s property. If you’re driving for some reason during the hurricane, the high winds can make the vehicle unstable and cause you to drive off the road and into someone else’s property.

In both these cases, you may have to rely on collision insurance and liability insurance to pay for damages to whoever’s property you hit. You won’t have to pay for personal injuries in Florida, though, because Florida requires motorists to get no-fault personal injury protection insurance.

Important Filing Information



If your vehicle suffers damage thanks to a hurricane, you should file your claim as fast as you safely can. There’s no doubt your insurer will have a big backlog thanks to all the other hurricane victims, but if you decide to wait a while then your claim will also end up waiting longer. If you can’t file from home, consider going to the nearest community with working internet, assuming it’s safe to travel there.

When you file, you should try to include as many details as possible. Pictures, video, a timeline, and details about your vehicle beyond your policy number. Stressed adjusters are under a lot of pressure to get through each claim as fast as possible, so it helps them out if you send all the information they need to process your claim without looking anything up or having to call you back for more details.

On the other hand, a hurried adjuster can end up making a mistake, and at that point you may want to contact a law firm that has experience with auto insurance companies. If that’s the case and the vehicle damage took place in southwest Florida, consider contacting All Injuries Law Firm. We offer free initial consultations, and we regularly help people like you get the full compensation you deserve.