What Should I Do If a Hurricane Damaged My Car

Hurricane Ian recently swept through Florida, causing catastrophic damage across the state. Homes, businesses, and motor vehicles were common casualties of the storm. It will take many weeks to assess the full damage and years to recover from it.

Many people will look to insurance companies to cover damage to their property during Ian. Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers addresses what you need to know if you are considering filing a property damage claim with your auto insurance. 

Does My Auto Insurance Cover Damage From the Hurricane?

It depends. Florida law requires all drivers to purchase minimum amounts ($10,000) of Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance. However, this coverage applies to property damage you cause during a car accident. Collision insurance, which is not required by law, would cover damage to your car if an accident is your fault

These policies typically do not cover “acts of God,” like hurricane damage. For that, you will have to have comprehensive insurance.

Comprehensive insurance covers many types of non-collision damage to your car, including damage due to:

  • Tropical storms
  • Wind
  • Flooding
  • Falling objects
  • Debris
  • Hail

You will have to examine your insurance policy to determine whether you (1) have comprehensive insurance and (2) whether that insurance covers the damage to your car.

What Happens If I Don’t Have Auto Insurance?

If you do not have auto insurance, you will have to pay for repairs and/or a new car out of pocket. You may be able to apply for disaster relief aid from the state or federal government if the hurricane damaged your property.

Be sure to check for available aid through FEMA and Florida Disaster.

What Do I Do If My Car is Insured?

This one is simple. If your insurance policy covers hurricane damage, you will submit a claim with your insurance company to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Insurance companies will be experiencing a heavy claim volume, so you should expect delays.

The insurance adjuster will likely follow up with you for information about the damage. They may request photos of your car and estimates for repairs.

What If My Insurer Denies My Claim?

Auto insurance companies are flooded with claims after a major hurricane. They can make mistakes while investigating or processing your claim that result in a denial. Moreover, these weather events often affect their profits. Therefore, insurance companies may try to deny and/or devalue claims to help their bottom line. 

If your insurance company denies your claim, ask the adjuster to list the specific reasons for the decision. Make sure the adjuster sends you an explanation of the reasons. If you feel the insurance company is operating in bad faith, you have options. You should contact an experienced attorney for help understanding your rights.

How To Protect Your Vehicle During a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

The best way to “protect” your car before a storm is to make sure it’s properly insured. By purchasing adequate comprehensive insurance, you can have peace of mind that your policy will cover damage caused by a hurricane or storm.

Regardless of whether you have comprehensive insurance, you can take a few steps to protect your car from a storm:

  • Park in an elevated, covered structure before the storm (e.g., an upper level in a parking garage).
  • Tape your windows to minimize the impact if your windows shatter
  • Cover your car with a car cover or tarp
  • Remove valuable items
  • Remove important documents

These safety measures will help you minimize the risk of car damage during a hurricane. Contact a skilled Florida attorney if you have any questions about filing an auto insurance claim after an accident.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in South Florida

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Boca Raton car accident lawyers at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers at the location nearest you for a free consultation:

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Boca Raton Law Office
7000 W Palmetto Park Rd #500
Boca Raton, FL 33433
(561) 347-7770

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – Fort Lauderdale Law Office
200 S.E. 6th Street #203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 287-0566

Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers – West Palm Beach Law Office
319 Clematis St #203
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 556-7873