Does auto insurance cover hurricane damage? These are the covers you need
Do you know if your auto insurance would cover damage when a hurricane hits your area?
While every claim is different, the key is having the right coverage on your policy, according to Matt Christopher, vice president of claims and shared services at Clearcover Insurance.
“It’s important that you speak to your insurance company or independent agent,” he said. “You want to make sure you have the right coverage to cover these events.”
Multiple coverages may apply for weather-related damage such as hurricanes; the rock star of them is full coverage.
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“Things that come with hurricanes, like the wind,” Christopher said. “The wind will knock over branches and damage your vehicle. That’s when your complete will come into play.”
Christopher adds that the cover also applies to damage caused by floods, hail and heavy rain.
You’ll likely pay a deductible – an amount you’ll owe in conjunction with comprehensive coverage.
“It’s basically sharing the risk with the insurance company,” Christopher said.
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The other coverage that can really come into play with hurricanes is collision.
“Think of hurricanes, there’s a lot of rain, and that could cause slippery roads, and you could lose control,” Christopher said. “You could hit another vehicle, a tree or a rock. And that’s where the collision can come in.”
And just like comprehensive coverage, there is a deductible associated with the collision, and you would be responsible to pay for your coverage to kick in.
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But not all water damage is covered, and every claim will be different, Christopher said. Although most insurance policies do not cover intentional acts, it is best to speak with your insurance company or professional.
“Make sure you have the right cover in place because preparation is absolutely key,” Christopher said. “You must have this cover before a storm.”
Christopher said insurance companies can’t provide retroactive coverage after a storm, so you need to be prepared before hurricanes make landfall.
Driving in hurricanes
It can be difficult and dangerous to drive during strong winds and storms with heavy rain and flooding.
A key tip is to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, especially tall vehicles such as trucks that can be pushed around or blown over by strong winds. If you’re pulling off a highway to wait for a thunderstorm, park away from trees, power lines, and anything that could fall on your car.
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Rain can cause hydroplaning when your vehicle slides on the road, leaving you less in control. According Acceptablean online educational platform and resource for drivers, it only takes six inches of water on a road to cause your tires to lose grip and slide out of control.
A foot of standing water causes most vehicles to float, preventing you from steering or braking. And two feet of water can wash away large cars, like pickup trucks and SUVs, and even damage your engine, known as hydrolock.
So always avoid crossing standing water and get out of your vehicle immediately if you get in trouble.
Auto insurance helps pay for repairs, but it won’t save your life.