What to Do If Your Car Was Damaged by a Hurricane in Florida
Bill Allen | September 26, 2022 | Car Accidents
Hurricane Ian recently ripped through Florida, causing untold damage to homes, businesses, and other property. It will take many weeks to assess the damage from the hurricane, and many months and years to fully recover.
What is certain is that the hurricane damaged thousands of motor vehicles in the state. Allen Law Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers answers common questions about what to do after a hurricane damages your car and whether the damage is covered by insurance.
Does My Car Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?
It depends on what type of coverage you have. Florida law requires drivers to purchase $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. However, this insurance covers property damage that you cause in a car accident. It does not cover tropical storm damage.
Many drivers get collision insurance to cover damage for accident where they are at fault. Comprehensive coverage, which is not required under state law, would generally be the policy to cover hurricane-related damage.
Comprehensive insurance typically covers damage due to:
- Falling objects/debris
You will have to examine the terms and conditions of your comprehensive coverage to determine whether it will cover damage to your car after a hurricane.
What Happens if My Car is Not Insured?
If you do not have comprehensive coverage, you will typically have to pay for repairs out of pocket. The federal government and/or the State of Florida often set up disaster relief funds to help individuals and families whose property was destroyed in a hurricane.
You can check the FEMA website and the Florida Disaster website for updates on aid that may be available to help with a damaged car.
What to Do If Your Car is Insured?
If your insurance policy covers hurricane damage, you will need to initiate the claims process with your insurer. You can usually do this online or via telephone.
The insurance adjuster might ask you to submit certain information related to your claim, including pictures of the damage and estimates for the repairs. The adjuster will likely want to have your vehicle assessed to determine the extent of the damage to your car and whether it can be repaired.
What if My Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
Auto insurance companies are inundated with claims after a hurricane. These companies take a big hit after big storms. Insurers often try to deny or devalue claims to minimize their losses. Alternatively, they may make processing mistakes that result in denials or devaluations due to the high volume of claims they receive after a hurricane.
If your insurer denies a claim that should be covered, ask the adjuster for the specific reasons for the denial. If you believe the insurer is acting in bad faith, you should contact an experienced attorney for help with your claim. Your attorney can challenge the claim denial and bring your case to court if the insurer refuses to settle your case.
How to Avoid Hurricane Damage to Your Vehicle
The best way to avoid hurricane damage to your vehicle is to have a plan when a hurricane approaches.
Most importantly, you should purchase a sufficient amount of comprehensive insurance coverage. You may have to pay a few extra dollars a month for the coverage. However, you’ll feel the investment was more than worth it if a storm damages your vehicle. You can speak to your insurance company about different options available for comp insurance.
You can protect your car from damage by:
- Parking in a safe structure as a storm approaches (e.g., an enclosed garage in an elevated area)
- Covering your car with a tarp or car cover if you don’t have a safe place to park it
- Removing important items and documents to prevent them from being damaged
- Taping your windows to contain the glass if the windows shatter
By taking these safety precautions, you can minimize the risk of damage to your car due to a hurricane. Contact an experienced lawyer in Florida if you need help filing an insurance claim after an accident.
Contact Our Gainesville Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville car accident lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida:
Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Gainesville office
2550 SW 76th St #150
Gainesville, FL 32608
Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Downtown Gainesville
621 W University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Ocala Office
112 S Pine Ave
Ocala, FL 34471