Mark Roman | October 3, 2022 | Car Accidents
Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles due to flooding and high winds. These storms cost Americans billions of dollars each year, and Hurricane Ian is predicted to be one of the most expensive storms in U.S. history.
Continue reading to learn what you should do with a damaged car after a hurricane in Florida, including tips on how to protect your property in the event of a future storm.
Is Hurricane Damage Covered By Insurance in Florida?
Whether your vehicle damage is covered by insurance depends on the insurance coverage you have purchased. Florida requires all drivers to carry at least $10,000 in both personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance.
PIP covers reasonable medical expenses and lost wages if you get into an accident, even if you were at fault. PDL covers damage to another driver’s property that you cause while driving. So, neither of these required policies will cover damage caused by a hurricane.
Therefore, you need to purchase optional coverage if you want financial protection for your vehicle in a storm. Comprehensive insurance pays for losses that aren’t the result of a collision, including damage caused by hail, flooding, wind, fallen tree branches, and other hurricane-related incidents.
Collision insurance covers damages to your vehicle caused while you’re driving. For example, collision insurance will cover your property damage if you’re driving in a storm and you collide with another car or object.
My Car Was Damaged in a Hurricane – What Should I Do?
Your first step is to contact your insurance company and inform them that the storm has damaged your vehicle. They will review your insurance coverage and notify you of whether you have a policy that covers the damage.
You Have Auto Insurance That Covers Hurricane Damage
If you have a policy that covers the damage, you’ll begin the claims process. The insurance adjuster may ask you to submit pictures and videos of the damage.
If your engine was submerged underwater, the adjuster might request that you have the vehicle towed to a certified mechanic. The mechanic will assess whether your vehicle is damaged beyond repair or if it can be restored.
You Don’t Have Auto Insurance That Covers Hurricane Damage
If you don’t have insurance that covers hurricane-related damage, you will probably have to pay for expenses out of pocket. If you have the minimum required PIP and PDL coverage, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other nonprofit organizations may provide financial assistance.
The Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
If your claim is denied but should cover the damage, ask your adjuster for specific reasons why they’re refusing to pay the claim. If you think it was an error and they won’t work with you in good faith, reach out to a personal injury lawyer for assistance.
How Can I Minimize Hurricane Damage To My Vehicle in Florida?
You can take many steps to prepare for a hurricane in Florida.
First and foremost, you should ensure that you have comprehensive insurance coverage. This will ensure that you receive compensation to pay for damages to your vehicle caused by a hurricane. Speak to your insurance company about options that will cover your car in a tropical storm.
In terms of protecting your vehicle from damage, you can do the following:
- Park in safe structures, such as an enclosed or sheltered garage, and ideally in an elevated area
- If you don’t have a safe place to park your car, cover it with a tarp, blanket, or car cover to protect it from debris
- Remove valuable items from your car to prevent them from being damaged
- Keep important documents inside the vehicle safe from possible flooding by placing them in airtight containers or bags
- Tape your windows to contain the glass in case the windows shatter during the storm
These steps may not completely eliminate the risks of damage, but they can reduce the chances. Contact a personal injury attorney in Florida if you have questions or need assistance filing an insurance claim.
Contact the Clearwater Car Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have five convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655