The 2012 Hurricane season officially began June 1 and will end November 30. In between now and then, NOAA is forecasting 9 to 15 named storms, 4 to 8 hurricanes and 1 to 3 major hurricanes in the Atlantic. The damage big storms and hurricanes cause homes is well-documented. But did you know that We typically pay a lot of attention to the damage these storms can cause to homes, but hurricanes and heavy storms can also damage your vehicle.To prevent storm-caused vehicle damage and to make sure you’re covered if it happens, here’s what you need to know about car insurance and hurricanes .
- Your basic auto liability policy does not cover damage to your car caused by wind, hail, flood, hurricane or any similar natural disaster. You need comprehensive automobile coverage for that. If you live in a part of the country that is prone to hurricanes or storms and you want to protect your vehicle, act soon. Some insurers will not sell comprehensive coverage in those areas during hurricane season. Even if you can get a policy, federal law mandates a 30-day waiting period between the time you sign a comprehensive policy and the time it goes into effect.
- If you already have comprehensive coverage, read your policy carefully to see if hurricane damage is covered or excluded. Typically, comprehensive protects against damage from natural disasters, but check with your agent to make certain. You can also purchase gap insurance and car rental reimbursement coverage to help with hurricane-related damage. Gap insurance will cover the difference between what you owe on your car loan and what your car is actually worth in the event it is totaled by a storm. If it just needs repair, the rental reimbursement will pay for temporary transportation while your car is in the shop.
Lessen Damage. Prepare Ahead.
- During hurricane season, keep you battery fully charged and your fuel tank full in case you need to evacuate or need your car radio for information.
- If a storm is imminent and you’re in its path, park your car in the garage or car port if possible. Back it in so that you can easily recharge the battery if necessary. If you don’t have a garage, park your car as close as possible to the side of your home facing away from the wind. However, don’t park between two closely spaced buildings where your vehicle might be damaged by wind-tunnel effect. Or move your car to higher ground away from utility poles and trees.
- After the storm passes, do not attempt to start your car if floodwaters have reached the engine level. If you can safely start your car, take it to a mechanic as soon as practical and have all fluids replaced and systems checked. Your electronics and air bag may have been damaged.