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Does your car insurance cover hurricane damage?

Here's what you need to know...
  • Your car insurance may provide coverage for hurricane damage, but you may need to have coverage in place before the hurricane starts
  • In order to have coverage, you may need both comprehensive and collision insurance on your auto policy
  • Collision coverage provides protection if you are in a collision due to rain on the road
  • Comprehensive coverage provides protection from the other damages that might be caused by a hurricane

Hurricane damage is just one of many different that can damage your car.

Hurricanes can contribute to dangerous driving conditions as well as high winds and heavy rainfall. It’s important to understand how your insurance policy may provide coverage to your car before a hurricane starts; after may be too late.

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Collision Coverage

If a hurricane affects your area, it’s possible that it can be responsible for a collision. Hurricanes often contribute to heavy rains, which could cause a vehicle to hydroplane and crash.

While this may not seem like hurricane-related damage, your insurance policy may provide coverage under your collision coverage.

Just like in a traditional accident, your collision coverage will usually have a deductible.

Your deductible is the amount that the policyholder pays before their insurance policy limits taken effect. If you have questions about your collision coverage in the event of a hurricane, it’s important to speak to your insurance company about your options.

Comprehensive Coverage

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While collisions may be a small part of hurricane damage, most of the damage that you will encounter will fall under your comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive coverage is often referred to as other-than-collision coverage, as it normally provides coverage for events that are not considered a collision with another driver or an object.

Under your comprehensive coverage, natural disasters such as flooding, tornados, and hurricanes are often covered. This means that strong winds or heavy rains from a hurricane, the things most likely to cause damage to your car, fall under this coverage.

You will want to confirm with any potential provider, or your current provider, what is covered under comprehensive coverage to make sure there are no surprises.

As mentioned above, your comprehensive coverage is also subject to your deductible amount. This means that you will be required to pay any deductible amount you have listed in your policy terms before your insurance provider will start to cover the loss.

In the event you cannot cover the deductible amount, your insurance provider may reduce your coverage by the amount you are normally required to cover.

Before Coverage Applies

Hurricanes, like any natural disaster, can be very damaging to many people’s personal property all at once. This means that your insurance provider may have stipulations on when they will provide coverage or conditions that may need to be met.

It’s important to remember that your state minimum insurance will often be inadequate to provide hurricane coverage.

Many insurance providers will put temporary changes into place when a hurricane is imminent, or there is potential for a hurricane to affect an area.

For example, an insurance company may not write new policies or make alterations to existing policies once a hurricane warning has been issued by the National Hurricane Center. This restriction may not end until after the hurricane has passed.

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If you live in an area that is affected by hurricanes, it’s important to make sure you renew or purchase your policy before any restrictions take place.

If you are purchasing a new car, however, it may be better to wait until the hurricane has passed before you proceed. You may be able to buy your new car, but if there are restrictions in place regarding new auto policies, then you may find it hard to get coverage.

Things To Remember About Auto Policy Claims

Your auto insurance policy is there to help you recover from losses above and beyond the norm, as well as losses above any deductible. In the event of a hurricane, there are a few things you should do.

First off, it’s important to document any damages to your vehicle once it is safe to do so. This may mean taking pictures of your car to document what was and was not damaged, then sending those pictures to your insurance provider.

This may also help you determine if the damage is worth filing a claim or if the damage is minimal enough that you could cover the cost yourself.

Second, it’s essential that you contact your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Many times, in the event of a natural disaster, insurance providers will put specific catastrophe situation procedures into place. This may include unique claim handling situations or a specific claim office in your area to help with assessing vehicle damage.

Finally, you may need to take reasonable and necessary steps to protect your vehicle from further damage. This may include covering your vehicle with a tarp, covering broken or shattered windows, or moving your vehicle into a covered area if possible.

If you do not, this could result in additional damages that your provider is unaware of, or may be unwilling to cover since they were not caused by the hurricane.

What coverage do you need?

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If you live in an area susceptible to hurricanes or hurricane-related damage, it’s important to determine what coverage your insurance policy provides.

Hurricane damages may fall under collision or comprehensive coverage, and many insurance providers require that you purchase the coverage before the hurricane warning takes effect in your area. If you have questions about the coverage you have, speak to your insurance provider before a hurricane hits.

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