After a hurricane, there are two applicable types of car insurance: collision and comprehensive. Collision insurance pays for injured claimants’ losses in accidents. Comprehensive coverage pays for damages that arise from other situations, including hurricanes.
If you have comprehensive auto insurance, this could cover hurricane damage in Louisiana. However, per the Louisiana Department of Insurance, this coverage is not mandatory. Yet, if you don’t have comprehensive car insurance coverage, you could have other options when recovering your losses.
Whether Car Insurance Covers Your Losses Depends on Your Situation
After your car suffers damage in a hurricane, your options largely depend on your situation, such as:
Many car insurance policies come with deductibles, meaning that before your coverage applies, you must pay a certain amount first. For instance, if you have a $1,000 deductible, you would have to pay that amount to the insurer before your other losses would be covered. If your damages are less than your deductible, the insurer may not pay for your losses.
Your Car’s Current Value
Your insurance policy will only provide coverage for your car’s current value. For example, if you paid $30,000 for your car two years ago, your insurance company will calculate your car’s current value. U.S. World & News Report notes that most cars lose about 50 percent of their initial value within the first five years of ownership.
Chances are, your car is worth less than what you paid for it. Yet, if you have gap insurance, this could pay for the remainder of your car’s loan. This depends on your situation.
Whether You’re Up to Date on Your Payments
If you let your auto insurance policy lapse, you will be unable to file a claim. Before contacting the insurer, make sure that you don’t have an outstanding balance. If your policy lapsed or expired, filing a claim with your auto insurer may not be an option.
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Your Homeowners Insurance May Not Cover Your Car’s Damage
Everyone’s homeowners insurance policy is different. So, if you have a comprehensive homeowners insurance policy, it might pay for your car’s hurricane-related damage.
However, many homeowners insurance policies do not cover damaged vehicles. Instead, you would have to pursue damages through your auto insurance policy.
What Should I Do After My Car Is Damaged in a Hurricane?
After your car’s damaged in a hurricane, you should:
Document Your Vehicle’s Damage
You want to recover compensation for your car’s damages or replacement. To do this, you should take pictures of any dents, broken glass, or punctured tires. You should also document your car’s interior, including whether the dashboard’s lights work. This way, you can assert the cost of your damages to the insurer and fight for what you need.
Review Your Auto Insurance Policy
It is always a good idea to occasionally review your insurance policies. This way, after you file your claim, you’ll know what you’re entitled to receive. Be sure to review your deductibles, policy’s limits, and filing deadlines.
Prevent Further Damage to Your Vehicle
The insurance company will only pay for damage your vehicle suffered during the hurricane. It will not pay for damages that arose from your own negligence. Some ways to prevent further damage from harming your vehicle include:
- Putting your car in the garage.
- Sealing any broken windows with plastic (to prevent water damage).
- Refraining from driving the car, even for short distances.
- Refraining from doing any DIY repairs.
If possible, park your car next to a building. This will reduce the likelihood of trees and other debris falling on your vehicle.
Refrain from Sharing Information About Your Claim Online
Anything you share online could hurt your claim’s progression. For instance, suppose on social media, you share: “My car was totaled – it was a clunker, anyway.” This could leave the insurer to believe that your car was damaged before the hurricane.
In a similar vein, you should also refrain from giving the claims adjuster a recorded statement. Just like posting to social media, this could hurt your case’s progression.
Consider Your Legal Options
The aftermath of a hurricane can be fraught with complications. That’s why it helps to consider legal aid – especially if you’re dealing with an uncooperative claims adjuster. A lawyer can manage everything your case requires, from calculating the cost of your damages to negotiating with the insurance company.
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Connect with the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine To Learn More
Whether car insurance covers your vehicle’s damages after a hurricane depends on many aspects of your situation, including your coverage limits and damages’ extent. If you’re having problems getting the compensation you need, you can partner with a property damage lawyer on your case.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine advocates for claimants in both Florida and Louisiana. We offer free case reviews where you can explore partnering with our team at no upfront cost. To begin, dial 1-800-747-3733.
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