What To Do With a Damaged Car After a Hurricane in Florida
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers | Car Accident
Hurricanes and tropical storms can cause catastrophic damage to homes, businesses, and property – including vehicles. These extreme weather events often cause high winds, heavy rains, and flooding, creating a heightened risk of property damage.
If you live in Florida or any other hurricane-prone area, you may wonder what to do with a damaged car after a hurricane, such as Hurricane Ian. Below, we explain the steps you can take and how to prepare for a storm in the future.
Does My Auto Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage in Florida?
The answer to this question depends on the type of auto insurance coverage you currently have. Florida requires all drivers to purchase a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance coverage. Unfortunately, neither of these policies will cover hurricane damage.
PIP insurance pays for a portion of medical costs and lost wages if you’re involved in a car accident with another driver. PDL insurance covers damage to another person’s property that you cause while you’re driving.
However, there is optional insurance coverage you can purchase to cover hurricane damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance is your best option, as it covers damage to your car that doesn’t occur in a collision, such as damage caused by debris falling on your vehicle, hail, water damage, and other storm-related incidents.
Collision insurance may cover your vehicular damage if you drive in a storm and crash into another vehicle or object.
What Should I Do If My Car Was Damaged in a Hurricane in Florida?
The steps you take will depend on whether you have an insurance policy that covers the damage. Even if you don’t think you have applicable coverage, you should call your insurance company and make sure. An insurance adjuster will review your policies and inform you of whether you have any options.
Your Car Insurance Covers Hurricane Damage
The insurance adjuster may require pictures and videos of your vehicular damage. They will likely want to have your car assessed by a verified mechanic to determine whether it can be repaired.
Your Car Insurance Doesn’t Cover Hurricane Damage
If you don’t have insurance to cover hurricane damage, you will likely have to pay your property damage expenses out of pocket. If the engine was underwater at any time, contact a mechanic and ask for their suggestion on whether you should drive it or have it towed.
You may be entitled to disaster relief aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a nonprofit organization, or the State of Florida. Check their websites to determine if you’re eligible for financial assistance.
Your Insurance Company Denies Your Claim
Insurance companies are busy after hurricanes and other major storms. Accordingly, they may make mistakes or overlook things during the claims process. Alternatively, insurance companies are known for undervaluing and denying claims, hoping that the insured won’t fight back.
If your claim should be covered but the insurance company is refusing to pay it, ask the adjuster for specific reasons for the denial of payment. There could have been a miscommunication or error, so it’s best to clarify.
If they continue to deny your claim, contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer for help. An attorney will know how to negotiate and advocate for your rights.
How Can I Protect My Car from Hurricane Damage in Florida?
You can do many things to minimize damage to your vehicle in a tropical storm or hurricane. The best thing you can do is to ensure you have comprehensive insurance to financially protect yourself if your car is damaged in a hurricane. Speak to your insurer to determine the best options for you.
To protect your car during a hurricane, you can take the following precautions:
- Park your car in a safe and elevated enclosure, such as a garage
- If you don’t have the option to park your car in a safe structure, cover it with a car cover, tarp, or blanket to protect it from falling debris
- Remove valuable items and documents from your vehicle to protect them from property damage
- If you’re leaving important documents inside the vehicle, place them in airtight bags or containers to keep them safe from water damage
- Tape your car windows to help contain the glass if the windows break during the hurricane
While these safety measures may not eliminate all risks of sustaining property damage, they can minimize the impact during a storm. Reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney in Florida if you have questions or need help filing an insurance claim.
Contact the Pinellas County Car Accident Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help
For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg car accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,