Hurricanes can cause massive damage. According to the Orlando Sentinel, storm damage in Florida topped 1.5 billion dollars in 2016, and damage to homes made up only a part of that expense. Cars are just as vulnerable, if not more vulnerable, to flood waters when a hurricane strikes. If you're a driver in Florida, know what a hurricane can do to your car and whether or not your car is protected in the event of a storm event.
Flood Waters Can Easily Total Modern Cars
Modern cars contain computers, often multiple computers, that work the vehicle's interior electronics. Often these computers are located in parts of the car that are low to the ground and easy for flood waters to reach. Even a small flood can completely destroy a modern car's ability to function.
Sometimes modern cars that go through floods are repaired by replacing damaged computers. However, these cars often experience chronic electrical problems for years after the original damage occurred. Sometimes these problems are minor (for example, the interior lights on the dashboard don't work properly). Other times, these problems are more serious (for example, the air bag won't deploy when needed).
Even Older Cars Are At Risk
Many people who have older cars without computers assume that their vehicle is safe during a flood. This is not the case. Although older vehicles without computers can often run again after the flood waters recede, serious damage can still occur.
For example, a driver in an older vehicle might attempt to drive from one place to another during a hurricane. If the car begins to hydroplane and runs into another vehicle on the road, both vehicles could sustain serious damage.
No matter what the age of the vehicle, all cars can be seriously damaged by hurricanes.
Not All Car Insurance Policies Cover Damage From Hurricanes
Cars that are protected by the minimum insurance requirements for their state (liability only) are not protected from damage in the event of a flood. Liability insurance only protects the vehicle and occupants that the car happens to hit.
If you're in Florida and would like to protect your car during the next hurricane, several types of insurance could potentially be of use to you. Collision coverage will repair a car that suffers a collision during a hurricane event. Comprehensive coverage may repair the electrical components of a car that is damaged by rising flood waters.
Finally, gap coverage pays the difference between the balance of the car loan and the total value of the vehicle. If your vehicle is relatively new and you are still paying a loan for it, gap insurance will protect your investment.
Not all types of insurance make sense for all cars, so talk to your insurance agent to find out which types of insurance make the most sense for your vehicle.
Insurance Companies Won't Sell Comprehensive Coverage During a Hurricane
In places like Florida, where car owners may choose to wait until the day of a storm to get comprehensive coverage for their vehicle, insurance companies will not insure vehicles in areas under a current storm warning. In other words, if a hurricane is on the horizon, it's too late to upgrade your coverage.
If you don't have collision, comprehensive or gap insurance, talk to your insurance agent before the next big storm warning. If you're thinking about buying a new car, don't do it just before a hurricane hits.
For more information about insurance coverage during hurricanes, talk to your car insurance provider. At American Quality Assurance Group, we're happy to answer any questions that you might have about car insurance. Call us today for more information.